I’m dealing with an issue involving my right foot, so my physician referred me to a podiatrist, who I saw for the first time a couple of weeks ago.
She thought I might have a very thin stress fracture and told me to wear an orthopedic boot for two weeks, then come back to get new x-rays and we’d figure out what to do next. When I returned on Friday, the imaging showed no fracture, but she felt a severe inflammation on the bottom of my foot. She recommended a steroid shot to reduce the internal swelling.
When I say “recommended,” it sounds like the choice was up to me, as if I’m an expert on anything anatomical. That’s why I was in her office in the first place.
I didn’t say any of that, of course, just nodded my head, told her where the pain was the worst, and watched as she stuck a needle in there. She next told me to reduce my use of the boot by one hour each day, try to walk without it during that time, see if the pain has decreased at all, and go back a week later to compare notes. I’m happy to say that after four days, so far, so good — the discomfort is markedly reduced.
But that’s not why I’m telling you this story.
The first time I went to her office, she called me “Mister Harris” and I called her “Doctor.” But at my second visit Friday, she walked into the exam room and greeted me with, “Good morning, Paul.” For a moment, I was going to use her first name, but part of my brain told me that would be awkward or inappropriate — even though she’s probably thirty years younger than I am. Instead, all I said was, “Good morning.”
Later, I wondered why I didn’t use her name. I call my general physician by his first name. Then again, I’ve known him over twenty years. But if my new podiatrist was going to be that familiar, why shouldn’t I? After all, I’m also on a first name basis with my lawyers, my dentist, and the woman I deal with at the bank.
Maybe I’ll respond differently once I’m out of the boot — which I hope will be in just a couple of days.
And before you ask, no, I don’t call it “Mister Boot.”