Pippa, the P.A.

Dear Miss Ms. Pippa,

I bet you were as unhappy to see me as I was to see you today when, after a sharp knock, you walked in the exam room. I didn’t expect to see you pipping in the door today, so I was a little surprised, and I admit, dismayed. To be honest, I thought to myself, “What the fuck is she doing here?” I hadn’t realized that when I come to see your mentor I must often endure a few moments with you first. You rushed from the door to the computer station, as you always do, even though the distance spans about two feet. And then, you proceeded to annoy me. In that special way that only you can do.

In a matter of moments you easily drift into minimizing my situation. And then you always launch into the same dialogue. I wonder if you realize you say the same thing each time you see me? I thought I would write a little transcript of it so that you might feel confident in knowing that I have received your important message.

“So, you feel that the physical therapy has stalled? Let’s just take a look at how it has stalled”. Then you walked over and told me to stand up and move my arms up above my head and to the side. All the while commenting that everything is right where it should be…. implying the uselessness of my visit. Just like you did at my first visit, when you said I didn’t need surgery, right before the surgeon confirmed that I did. Your manner is very authoritarian, and I think that gets us off to a bad start. I suspect you’re attempting to copy your mentor, who pulls off authoritarianism with great compassion and artistry. In the three short visits I’ve had with you, I have not once felt a speck of compassion from you.

And this is where groundhog day begins. Right after I mention that I am still using Vicodin to manage the pain.

“Oh, still?” Your eyes are wide apart and high as you say this, while maintaining that slight frown at the edges of your very thin mouth. “Are you using anti-inflammatories?” You look at the computer screen.

“Yes, sometimes,” I report, just like I always do.

“Is there any reason you are taking the Vicodin regularly, instead of the anti-inflammatories?” You ask, pointedly. The question, I know by now is rhetorical. You have already decided why I do, I can see it on your pinched little face. At this point I hope your yoga pants are riding up into your crotch giving you a camel toe.

“Ummmm…..because the Vicodin works?”

I start my canned story of needing to be in a vertical position in order to do my job, raise my child, and other things, which I know sounds like “blah, blah, blah,” to you.

“How much cardio are you doing?” You frown as you ask.

“None,” I answer honestly.

“Why is that, because you can’t, or because Dr. has asked you not too?” You’re shoulders back, almost haughty. You and I both know that Dr. recommends cardio to all of his patients.

“I’m just not,” I say.

“What do you have access to, do you go to a gym regularly?”

Pippa, I know this is going to sound shocking, but not everyone goes to a gym. Do you really not remember this dialogue from last time? I’m not going to give you my “I don’t do gyms” speech. “I have feet and a sidewalk,” I answer plainly.

I don’t remember what you said next. I think I stopped listening.

So here’s the deal, Pippa. I don’t think you like me. I’m OK with that. You’re lack of compassion and/or empathy suggest to me that you don’t know what its like to suffer. I’ve met people like you and truly, you’re lack of depth is incredibly boring. I don’t know if you don’t like it that I tell the truth, that I ask for what I want, or that I have opinions about my own body mechanics. Maybe you feel threatened by the fact that I am also a professional in the medical field. When I was wandering through degree options, I completed the pre-req’s to be a PA. I used to be a nurse. I know exactly what it is to be a doctors handmaiden. I have a lot more education than you do. And probably a good twenty-five years. So when I offer you an opinion about something and you reject it when you don’t even know what it is, it’s offensive. If you don’t know what something is, Google it for God’s sake.

I don’t know if you have some frustrated desire to be a physician instead of an assistant, or if you chose this profession because you wanted to show people how smart you are. But Pippa, I think you need a little more life under your lululemon hipsters before you can help anyone. But take heart, I’m sure you would make a great scientist. Or perhaps a princess’ sister.

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