Friday, March 25, 2016


Yesterday was my 1st visit to my new doctor (general practitioner).  I didn't care for my previous doctor so when I heard this new doctor was coming, I got on the wait list and yesterday was my appointment.

As is typical, I filled out the new patient forms in the comfort of my home and just handed them to the receptionist along with my insurance card and co-pay.

Prior to the doctor coming in to see me, a nurse came in to weigh me, take my blood pressure, and go over some info.  She was very impressed that age 52 I have no illness or condition which requires medication.  I believe Spouse & I are the only 2 among our friends who can say that.

Then came the part where she asked about my family medical history.  I knew this was going to happen, and I prepared a brief, non-judgmental, non-emotional comment to explain my lack of information.  I basically said I've had no substantive communication with my parents or siblings in 23 years so I really don't have any information as to their health.  I suspect that since both of my parents are in their early 80s now, they probably have typical age-related conditions, but that I was not aware of anything like cancer or asthma that might be hereditary.

The nurse tried to hide her surprise at first, and then said "Well, you must not like them."

I kindly replied that it was not my choice, and explained that they belonged to a very conservative religion that teaches if someone leaves the religion, members must treat them as if they didn't exist. 

There were a few seconds of silence as she brought her hand up to cover her mouth, then blinked away a small tear.

"Wow... that is really a shame" she offered.  Not knowing quite how to respond, I said "Yes... it is."

She asked if they were Amish, which kind of makes sense since Amish practise ex-communication too.  I said "No, they're Jehovah's Witnesses."  She said that they must be pretty strict, because she knew of a JW family whose daughter stopped being a JW, got involved with drugs, had a child out of wedlock, and her parents continued to talk to her and even helped support her.  I agreed with her that my family was strict about it, feeling they were modeling the behavior that "good JWs" should have toward those who leave the religion.  Then we moved on.

I was a little surprised and actually touched that the nurse was so gracious.  This was the 1st time we'd met, yet she had a genuine emotional reaction to my estrangement from my family.  Somehow it seemed very kind of her to care.

After 23 years I've gotten pretty used to "my situation".  I grieved the loss of my parents and siblings all at once, the way one would do if their family had all been killed in a plane crash.  But that was years ago, I've gotten used to the scar since there is very little pain left from that wound.

I've also been very fortunate that Spouse's family has always been not just accepting, but welcoming to us both.  I also have some extended family (cousins, aunts, uncles, etc) with whom I still have contract, since they were never JWs, so its not like I'm an orphan.

But that nurse's kindness was really appreciated today.  She probably doesn't know just how much.


anne marie in philly said...

awwwwwwww. family dynamics are strange things (ask me how I know this).

have a nice weekend!

BosGuy said...

What a beautiful post, and I'm sorry for your family's loss. From what I can tell you are pretty fabulous and have impeccable taste in furry men. :)

Steven said...

From my blogging days as "Heterosexually Challenged" and "A Friend of Dorothy's", I don't recall ever learning of this separation. I second BosGuy's sentiments on your family's loss. (((((Mark)))))

Fearsome Beard said...

We, Fearsome & myself, think you are fabulous!

Anonymous said...

It's nice to hear about the nurse's kindness. I believe a lot of people in her situation would have made no comment and moved on. A little kindness does go a long way. I agree with BosGuy & Steven, I'm sorry for your family's loss. (I think you're a great guy too.)

Take care,

Ur-spo said...

I am glad it was a kindness; I feared it was going toward her being judgmental. phew.