Our minds are amazing globs of gray stuff. Specifically, I refer to little piece of glob that can recall a voice. As you sit there, think of someone, anyone, regular guy you know or have known or someone famous, doesn’t matter. Now as you picture them, can you hear their voice too? I can. It’s spooky that those voices live in our heads. I can still hear the Wicked Witch of the West cackling, “I’ll get you my pretty.” I can hear Ronald Reagan say, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” I can hear my high school sewing teacher telling us new wanna be seamstresses she would be able to tell if we sewed over the top of a straight pen. How can our minds do that? But my mind is not the question of the day, it is however, sometimes questionable…
No, today let’s take the minds ability of hearing verses and its listening capacity head on. That is to say, the difference between two minds hearing the same thing. As in what a doctor says during a visit. Mothers I think have a leg up on this. Mothers are in charge of carrying out the instructions given by doctors when children are sick enough to get a trip to the office. Carrying that notion forward, why shouldn’t the wife be the know all, do all and end all for recalling instructions given when she takes the husband to the doctor. An informal on the street survey showed me that most wives take their husbands to the doctor and go into the exam room with them. Of course when certain, very personal exams are taken — wives step out. Let’s not get too comfortable in that visitor’s chair ladies.
But when it comes to recalling just what was said in that little cubicle, here are the two things I have learned and would now like to pass along. (As a quick disclaimer, I have been on the receiving end of his interpretation of what my doctor has told me and I reluctantly admit my recollections were askew, but geeze, I was sick!)
First, know that coming out of the office, no matter what was said, even if you repeat it word for word, you will be questioned and debunked. I surmise that comes from him being the self-proclaimed head of the household. I’ve gone so far as to suggest we take a recording device into the exam room. This idea was poo pooed because apparently then the truth would set me free!
Second, and this is very hard to do, even if you know exactly what is being said, do not shake your head up and down as the medical person spouts big words about medicines and instructions. This gives way to bigger words and faster talking. I find it has a wonderfully disarming and therefore a powerful advantage if you wear the blankest look you can muster as you sit there in your visitor’s chair. You’re actually soaking up every word like a sponge. But you’ll find the words become smaller and the talk slower with that blank stare. This is of course not for your benefit, but for the sick persons benefit. With luck and love the retelling of the smaller, slower words and instructions may, just may, pass the retelling test. If not, make hot tea, get the vapor rub, and stock up on popsicles, it’s going to be another week of paradise.
Trina Machacek lives in Eureka. Her book ITY BITS can be found on Kindle. Share your thoughts and comments with her at firstname.lastname@example.org