Monday, November 5, 2012

Being the progeny of a gynecologist

I don’t know how many of you can relate to this. Most of those who have doctors as parents will sympathize. But all those who have gynaecologists as parents will definitely shed a tear of empathy.
                  My mother is a gynecologist and obstetrician. They are the two meanest branches of medicine, dealing with the complaints of the female reproductive system and yes, childbirth. Hell is real.
       I have often asked her time and again why she picked this particular branch. Her reply never changes- “because I liked it at the time”. How can anyone “like” looking at vaginas, per vaginal examinations, episiotomies and cries of women in labor is beyond me. Nevertheless she started her private practice and I discovered many aspects about this branch that I never knew.

1)   Insomnia is a prerequisite.

If you even remotely need your daily dose of sleep, this is a no-go, my friend. For an OBGY practitioner, sleep is an unheard of treat which he/she only gets on Sundays, and that too, if they are lucky. Untimely deliveries, checking up on the mother post-op, the sheer long duration of deliveries will keep you up. Either you develop insomnia or call Edward to turn you into a vampire. No other choice.

2)   Holiday? What’s that?
There is nothing like “time-off”. In the world of sudden labor pains and premature deliveries and missed periods that has put the patient in a perpetual state of hysteria, there can be and won’t be spontaneous family trips or attending weddings and such frivolous business. These ladies have been visiting you since 9 months. Are you going to bail on them on their “special” day? Hell no.

3)   Vulgarity.
Now if you intend to familiarize yourself with menstrual cycles, vaginal spotting and cervical scrapings, you need to know there’s nothing vulgar about asking a woman to strip (obviously in the clinic, what are you, a pervert??!) Being resilient to putrid odors and panicky hysterical patients is a necessity. The husband is already agitated. Don’t make it worse.

4)   Family dinners are all about cases.

I have lost count of the number of times when I have been eating biryani while mom gave detailed information about her “patient of the day”. Either these are really stupid or irritating patients who have driven my mother up the wall or some medically interesting cases my mother loved. Ectopic pregnancies, bipartite uterus, superfoetation, criminal abortions, I have heard them all. This is all dinner-table talk. There does simply no “don’t talk about meconium while having your food!” It’s not dirty, it’s medical.

5) You will get “the talk” every week.
Whenever my mother gets a case of teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease or “ingenious ways of you-know-what that landed the perpetrator with severe injuries you-know-where”, I know she is going to fix me with a beady stare and say the words I dread -“We need to have a talk”. What follows is always a well rehearsed speech on how much she loves me, how she will be there to “handle any problem”, how the opposite sex is composed of “highly irresponsible individuals who will run away and take no responsibility in case “it happens” and  how “you are too small to have to handle all that, if that happens”.
           I've even managed not to shrivel up with embarrassment at this one.

        But having said this, girls are lucky, for they won’t have to explain that “PMS” is a recognized medical condition, and so is post partum depression. There will be nothing you can’t talk about, and little you can embarrass them about. They perform a Herculean task, sacrificing their sleep and family lives for getting life into this world, and quite literally.
             And after having seen how hard they work, they deserve the highest respect. Mothers hire nannies and don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night for their own babies. My mother does that for someone else’s baby.