Few things terrify me as much or make me as self-conscious as walking into my doctor’s waiting room .
No, no, it’s not because of my doctor, who is an absolute darling. Dr. V is my GP and I am half in love with him. He’s punctual. He’s thorough. He listens to what I have to say, does not medicate unless absolutely essential. And whenever I’m not well, he calls me up to check on how I’m doing. And never once, in the 15 years that I have known him, has he given me an injection So if my doctor is such a nice guy, why am I so scared of walking into his waiting room? Read on…
One of the places that Dr. V consults from is a clinic near my house. It is not a particularly well-managed clinic, but since the timings and location are convenient for me this is where I go. Dr. V’s consulting hours at this clinic overlaps with that of Dr. K, a hugely popular consulting gynaecologist and a fertility expert. To give you an estimate of her popularity, let us assume that for every patient of Dr.V, there are 30 for Dr. K ! While the former’s patients are mostly elderly men and women, the latter’s patients are women in various stages of pregnancy.
Now imagine walking into a room full of pregnant women and their accompanying family member/friend and feeling every eye on you. I don’t know about you, but I feel very self-conscious. I didn’t always feel like this, but my visits to the clinic and interactions I have had at the waiting room over the years, has made me so.
These have been interactions based on certain assumptions on the other person’s part. And assumptions made automatically, and perhaps even unconsciously, because I am a woman in the reproductive age range, and who is visiting a clinic where a gynaecologist is consulting. Assumptions made by society at large and just played out at the clinic in a tragi-comic way.
Navigating those assumptions, which starts right at the reception desk itself, has been quite a task as I have found out.