my doctor story for Doug

My mother was slipping, heading downhill fast mentally. She had some sort of scan done (I really can't remember if it was brain or vessels or what) and we went to talk to the specialist who'd done it. He was in his seventies and my mother loved the fact he wasn't young enough to be her son. She was sick of baby-faced doctors.

He pulled out the report to read us the results. I could read the paper upside-down and saw that the name at the top of the paper was not Rothwell but something long and Germanic, I'll say Medizinischesverzögert.

"That's not my mother's name." I pointed at the paper.

"Here are the results I have for her," the guy said.

"Medizinischesverzögert is not my name," my mother said.

"Is it the scan doctor's name maybe?" I asked.

The doctor wasn't paying attention to us; he was flipping through the notes.

"The name of the doctor who did the scan?" I said again.

He leafed back to the first page. "I did the scan myself. I always do the scan. Let me tell you about the tests--"

"No, wait, look, that says patient's name. Medizinischesverzögert is not my mother."

He began to tell us the results--everything looked good for Mrs. Medizinischesverzögert.

"My name is ROTHWELL," my mother said.

He smiled and nodded.

I looked at the pile of blue folders on his desk and saw one labeled Rothwell. I picked it up and shoved it at him. "That. Is. My. Mother's. File."

His smile didn't even flicker when he took it. He pulled out the report and began again as if nothing had happened--everything looked good for Mrs. Rothwell.

Anyway, a couple of months later, the doctor retired and one of the ladies at the nursing home where my parents lived told me that he'd been diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

(I wanted my mother to go to another doctor--"Jeebus, Ma, maybe he couldn't even read and just said the same thing for every patient," but she insisted he was good enough for her.)


  1. Oh, what an awful tale! Your poor mother!

    My grandfather and my uncle both used the saem dentist. Grandpa used to joke everytime, "Sure you've got the right chart?" "Oh, yes. Nothing to worry about."

    Except for the day when they pulled his son's chart and almost prepped him for an extraction rather than a cleaning. Ha, ha ha.

  2. My in-laws stuck with their family doctor to the bitter demented end.

    Last time we went to the vet, some old guy was there -- sort of a stand-in vet, cuz I guess the vet nurses can't give shots without a real vet in the room. Man, was he ever GONE.

  3. why on earth was he allowed to practise if he had Alzheimers desease?Surely they should have realised what dreadful mistakes he could've made.
    I do feel for anyone that has that auntie had it for 2 years before she died.


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