Dear Doctor, do people hate you? I can tell you why.

by Janelle Hanchett

Tuesday I went to the urgent care to get some upgraded allergy meds and refill my asthma inhaler. Remember that. It’s critical.

So I’m sitting on the paper-covered bed, waiting for the doctor, reading crap magazines about skinny rich women when the doctor comes in – he’s about 65 years old, white guy, glasses. (um, yes, oddly stereotypical.) He sits down and we talk for a minute, I tell him why I’m there, etc., and tell him I’m breastfeeding. One thing leads to another and he says “oh, you have three kids.” And I answer affirmative. Then he says “you thinking of having more?” and I say “well not really.”

And then dude says “Have you ever considered tubal ligation?”

I thought this was a little strange, considering I was there for ALLERGIES and he’s not even my doctor and I didn’t ask for his opinion on birth control or pretty much anything regarding my uterus or fallopian tubes… so I answer with a pretty strong “Yeah. I’m not interested in that.”

And this guy says to me, with condescension that you wouldn’t’ believe “Well, since you have three already, I thought something like that might be a good idea.”

COME AGAIN? Are you making comments about the size of my family? Are you REALLY giving me unsolicited advice on what I should and should not do in terms of children…and I’ve known you for how long? Five minutes? No really, who the fuck are you?

But I let it go because I still need this asshole for meds. Or I need to grow a pair. Probably the latter.

THEN, I tell him about the asthma inhaler, explaining that though I have one, it’s expired and a nurse told me last year that asthma steroid meds actually do lose potency after a while, so I should use current ones. And this little number says to me “Yeah, for some reason nurses are really into expiration dates.”

I respond flippantly because I hate him “must be a nursing school prerequisite.”

And he responds “well, there’s a certain type that goes to nursing school. They go because, well, medical school is…” He fades off, but his tone and expression explain in no uncertain terms that the reason they back expiration dates – and the reason they are nurses – is because they are idiots. Or if not idiots, definitely inferior to him. Seconds. Not as bright. Not as good. As those doctors.

I considered asking him whether he was locked in a closet as a small child, causing him to morph into the world-class prick standing before me today, but I didn’t. (See above re: growing a pair.).

I just wanted out of there. You know, some people are just so off I find myself unable to respond at all. It’s like I’m stunned into silence by their overall wrongness and I just want to depart, quickly.

But if I had a pair, I probably would have said something like “Did it ever occur to you that perhaps an individual chose to be a nurse rather than a doctor? Has it ever crossed your mind that perhaps YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES were different than somebody else’s, causing them to do something different than what you did…and that is why he or she is a nurse rather than a doctor? Rather than some inherent superiority, perhaps you just chose differently…and…now stay with me here… because this may shock you… Dr. Jerk-off, maybe not everybody wants to BE YOU [as odd and silly as that may sound], even though they are just as smart and just as capable.”

But as it were, I mumbled something incoherent and spit on his tools on my way out.

Well, no, I didn’t.

But I wanted to.

Because people like that in power positions irritate the hell out of me. They really honestly to the depths of their souls believe they are better than other people…than the rest of us…the underlings…the non-doctors…because what? Because they went to medical school? Or lawyer or vet or PHd school? Because they have some fucking piece of paper saying did something impressive?



You know what’s impressive?

Not being an asshole.

  • Jennifer

    Holy shit! It’s amazing that he’s made it to that ripe old age of his without someone choking him. I’d say write a nice little note to the urgent care clinic but it probably wouldn’t phase him at all because after all you didn’t sign it with “M.D.” after your name.

    • renegademama

      Indeed. Some people ask for a bit of choking. He was definitely one of them.

  • Julie

    I think that to make room for the immense catalogue of knowledge they have, many doctors have to transfer brain space from the part that “feels” to the part that “knows.” Also, at 65, this guy, whose probably saved some lives in his day, is getting rapidly passed up by technology and younger colleagues. But yeah, he was being a bitch pigeon. Sorry you had to deal with that.

    • renegademama

      “Bitch pigeon.” Awesome. I love that.

      And you make an interesting point about the moving from feeling to thinking. I imagine that is necessary when you’re a doctor, though I doubt the pretentiousness is required. Although maybe it is. Sorry. I can’t concentrate. I’m too smitten by the phrase bitch pigeon.

  • Shan

    My husband’s relative-type person (70 year old uncle’s girlfriend) has her PhD in nursing. She said that in ceremonies such as graduations, where people enter by rank, she goes before the MDs. Helen went to nursing school because she actually likes helping people… watching “doctors” get pissy because she outranks them is just a bonus.

    • renegademama

      Good for her! What a bad ass. I was thinking that too as I wrote that article…that nursing is more about helping people…it’s a totally different experience than doctoring. Is that a word?

  • Jennifer

    I am a nurse. This guy is a moron. What you should do is write a letter to his nurse telling her what he said….when she stops covering his ass, things will just work themselves out naturally….

    • renegademama

      exactly. can you imagine this guy without his nurses? BAD NEWS.

  • Christina

    This story is great but the comments from the nurses here above crack me up. My aunt-in-law is a head nurse and she is always talking shit about how big of idiots the Dr.s are and how 50% of there job is to cover there asses. So I like Jennifer’s idea. Lol.. He sounds like a douche bag.

    • renegademama

      I like Jennifer’s idea as well — I may be crafting that…perhaps a blog post letter…or even a REAL LETTER…?! or not. I have no balls.

  • Wendy

    OMG I would have had to rip this guy a new one. Being a nurse, I know that behind every GOOD doctor is an even better nurse that keeps them on task, filters their crap, lies to their patients for them, overall, keeping them from looking like a dumbass (thereby making them into a hero to their patients–UGH!). Obviously this man did NOT have a great nurse to keep him from looking like a dumbass. Sorry you had that crappy experience. (we do try to keep Ross real around the hospital, preventing him from acting this way! 😉 )

    • renegademama

      This was so well said. I had no idea the nurses helped cover the doctors’ asses and such, like you said — filtering and stuff. I know exactly what that means. I’ve worked with lawyers in my past who are literally not allowed to speak to the admin staff directly because of their lack of filtering abilities.
      And THANK YOU for keeping my bro “real.” I was hoping you’d comment so we’d have a nurse’s opinion (I didn’t know we had so many nurse readers – which is RAD).
      No really. thanks for keeping Ross in line. He needs it. Every member of our family needs it – we have some sort of directness disease. and no tact.

  • Corinne

    For the record it entertains me to no end to think that YOU of all people need to grow a pair. For as long as I have known you you have had the bigest pair of anyone I know. Now you are obviously more selective with where you spend your energy and he for sure was not worthy of the rant you and I both know you are capable of. Really it’s too bad for him on several levels. Good for you for not wasting any energy on such a goon.

    • renegademama

      Yay for comments from people from high school!!! this made me smile. You’re right, when the time comes, when it has to happen, I say something. speaking of having a pair, you’ve got a nice set yourself, my friend. Cheers.

  • Jessica

    This really disgusts me! This guy shouldn’t have a license. Did he ever think for just a second that if it wasn’t for the nurses… his job would be a lot harder? I mean, they are the ones that do most of the work anyway!

    Something I would have said to him… “Aww… I’m sorry you are so grumpy because you couldn’t cut it as a good enough Dr. to have your own practice and had to lower yourself to a job at Urgent Care.”

    • renegademama

      Yep. It’s amazing how people take credit for other people’s generosity and call it their own. Uncool. Some of the people who walk into the law firm where I work don’t even see me because I’m not a lawyer, because I’m not important. It’s cool. I’m alright with it. But I feel it. Cause aren’t we all just freaking humans? Jeez. Be cool, dude.


      good idea re; the comeback!

  • Dorothy

    What a jerk. People like that piss me off. They feel like they are so entitled. I’m amazed some nurse hasn’t slipped some diarrhea meds into his coffee at some point. I’m sorry you had to waste your energy on him.

  • Rachel howells

    ROFLOL. This is a hilarious post. I laughed out loud when I read “I respond flippantly because I hate him” (actually I laughed out loud throughout most of it). So happy I found your blog through the weekend blog hop! I love a mother with a caustic sense of humor. I am a new fan.

    Rachel 🙂

    Lala Musings: The Permissive Mother

  • dani

    I find that most people that have the thought process like said Dr. wouldn’t *get it* even if you did spell it out.

    I teach kindergarten. I get that attitude a lot…from other teachers. You know. I just color all day.

  • Krysta

    Ok.. I’m following you for this exact post!
    I just did a post about this same thing! AGH.. hate stuck up Drs!!

  • Dennis

    Do you have Kaiser? If so they have a grievance form you can fill out. You should seriously report that douchebag for all of the offending comments he made. No patient should ever have to put up with such insulting behavior.

  • Lyndsey

    I know this is a hell of old post, but I needed to thank you for this. I’m a Licensed Practical Nurse, and I get people assuming I was too stupid to be an RN all the damn time. I had an RN respond with legitimate shock when she found out I was a straight A student. I’m not an RN because I don’t want to be one. I’m not a doctor because I don’t want to be one of those either. And right now, even though I’m a nurse, I’m trying to get back into clerking because nursing is murdering my body and clerking tends to have better hours. It’s good that you realize prestigious jobs don’t equal intelligence – I appreciate your solidarity with us nurses tons.

  • Kim Nguyen

    I know some doctor are suck…im sorry if you have a bad one…:(
    But dont say you hate them, some of them trying really hard to treat their patients and some people do try hard to become one…
    So, may be you hate them, but not all of them are the same, my dad treat more than “you cant count” patient, and i hear no complain (unless he kept it from me)
    But just like what i said, some doctor truly have a noble heart, some of them dont even care about money, so please respect them and respect profession
    I want to become a doctor myself, soo..

  • Medimylo

    Ah I see so this one guy is representative of the entire profession?

    All types of people do medicine. Just as all types do law, engineering, become beauticians or electricians. There are good and bad in every profession.

    I would encourage you to remember those of us who have incurred at least $170k in student debt (not including the 4 years of not being able to earn an income, not including living expenses during this time, not including the obligatory relocation costs for our placements) who then earn less than your average sparky for the first few years working 80 hours a week. Those of us who do this because we love people and want to help, despite all the sacrifices – no social life, no time for family, no time for sleep.

    Grow up.

  • Richard

    I am a physician myself, and the way you were treated by that Urgent Care doc made me cringe. No other way to express it — he was a colossal jerk. This may, incidentally, be the reason he’s working that setting — doctors who combine medical knowledge with professional behavior and common courtesy rarely relegate themselves to Urgent Cares.

  • Emily

    I’m a chronic pain and illness patient. I have a shitty genetic disorder. Finding good doctors is my life. In the pain/illness/disability world, you get extra crap for…well, basically everything. It’s your weight, your diet, all in your head; I chose not to believe the other expert doctor’s diagnosis because I don’t think you look right; my one other patients with x has symptom y and since you don’t, you’re a faker; you’re drug seeking; you’re addicted; the possibility of addiction is too high to offer you any relief, so sorry you can’t get out of bed; you’re a hormonal woman so I don’t believe you; we’ve decided only cancer patients get pain meds; you’re depressed; you have anxiety…on and on

    Meanwhile, those who want tubal ligation can’t get them, because we don’t know our minds enough to not want kids or not risk passing on the disorder, or not want a highly dangerous pregnancy. But young men can get vasectomies..

  • j carlin

    best advice from chief surgical nurse Houston hospital “jim you meet the same people on the way up as on the way down–be kind”

  • Mike O’rielly

    Piece of advice from a physician. Why don’t you all try and getalomg. I have
    found the nurses who hate doctors the most are the one’s who wanted to be
    some kind of physician but didn’t make it. All doctors arent’t like this guy in the
    story. Oh a PhD in nursing” is not above a doctor academically, if my med school
    clases were like “docterate level” nursing courses I would have been the Rhodes
    Scholar for my class. Your still a nurse at the end of the day wether you have a “doctorate”
    from off a University on the internet or real life. Cut out the butt hurt rhetoric.

    • marty sanks

      Mike O’Rielly,

      Piece of advice from a physician. Why don’t you all try and getalomg. I have
      found the nurses who hate doctors the most are the one’s who wanted to be some kind of physician but didn’t make it All doctors aren’t like this guy in the
      story. Oh a PhD in nursing” is not above a doctor academically, if my med school
      clases were like “docterate level” nursing courses I would have been the Rhodes
      Scholar for my class. Your still a nurse at the end of the day wether you have a “doctorate”
      from off a University on the internet or real life. Cut out the butt hurt rhetoric.

      You’d think a doctor who has to “know” so much, could figure out how to use spell check. That guy may have been a doctor, but I really hope not.

      Well, I’m no where near perfect and don’t need to be. Thank God. Imagine being a mean judgmental person you’re whole life? There used to be good doctors back in the day, who were just people. Where did they go?

  • Pissed off

    I was a RN for many years u til I got tackled by patient who didn’t understand what they had done. They were too sick, so I hold no blame towards that person. That being said, I cannot work now due to multiple blown discs throughout my spine, completely destroyed knees, 15 knee operations and still needing more. Horrible chronic pain, insomnia, migraines, stomach issues from a screwed up lap chole (removal of gallbladder thru a scope) by an idiot who I have since found out has had a minimum of 14 lawsuits directly relating to messing others up during their gallbladder removals as well. He WAS NOT THE DR. I WAS SCHEDULED WITH EITHER!
    Now I can’t get out of bed without screaming in severe pain because I have had several falls resulting in further damage to my knees, but especially one of them. I most likely have a torn medial collateral ligament, possible tearing to my patellar tendon, torn cartilage, &
    God knows what else, but the multiple jack ass Dr’s I’ve seen totally ignore my issues. I’m so friggin sick and tired of being treated as if my pain & suffering doesn’t matter in any way to them. They have an obligation to help you, or send you to someone who will or can help, but I’ve been left to suffer all alone, no hope whatsoever, nothing to look forward to, no life at all. Why are the Doctor’s (assholes) allowed to get away with this!!! I’m SO GLAD IM NOT IN THE MEDICAL PROFESSION NOW, because I would be wayyy too embarrassed to be a part of such a such a screwed up system! It wasn’t like this when I was a RN, but appt after appt after appt I continue to be mistreated, neglected, and then thrown away! “Not their problem I guess!”
    If this is happening to me, how many others are going thru the same thing or even worse? It’s despicable! They should be so ashamed of themselves and their God complexes. Guess what Focs? U R NOT GOD, NOR ARE U EVEN CLOSE. God cares about people, what the hell happened to you A-Hole’s? Seriously! This is a horrible problem in epidemic proportions in the U. S.
    I seriously hope some doctors read this and other posts and think about the damage they’re causing, not to mention breaching their hypocritical oath! As much as I am fully disgusted by all you that treat your patients this way, I’m gonna pray for all of you. It’s the only thing I know to do at this point.
    Very Sincerely,
    Hoping things start changing for the better!

  • Jessica

    I hate doctors too. This last year trying to get anything addressed with any doctor has been worse than trying to pull teeth. Hey little doggy, jump through the hoop! Oh, you thought you were going to get somewhere with this appointment? Suck it up buttercup here’s another set of 20 hoops you have to jump through before we can do anything at all about this. I am about out of jumps. It’s all a joke to them. I wish they had any idea how many people end up killing themselves because they made it too hard to get any kind of help. Like it’s to the point where I have thought about waiting for them to leave the office and fallowing them home. Like if I give you your own address at the next appointment would you take me seriously then? Would I be worthy of respect then?