Friday, August 31, 2007

Doctor Phobia

I have doctor phobia. Whenever I feel ill, my first thought is I hope I don't have to see a doctor. I've waited until I could barely breathe before seeking a diagnosis, and I've never bothered to X-ray various body parts when I've fallen despite the insistent pains. I think this Plume poem, "Plume Had a Sore Finger," by Henri Michaux explains my phobia perfectly. It opens like this . . .

Plume's finger felt a bit sore.
"Maybe you should see a doctor," said his wife. Often it's just a matter of lotion . . . "
Plume took her advice.
"Take off one finger," said the doctor, "and everything's perfect. With anesthesia, the whole thing takes six minutes at most. And since you're a rich man, you really don't need so many fingers. I'll be delighted to do the operation right away, and then I'll show you several sorts of artificial fingers, some of them truly exquisite . . . "

Translated by Richard Howard
From Someone Wants to Steal My Name, CSU Press, 888-278-6473


Diane Lockward said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diane Lockward said...

Sorry for the removal--the link didn't show up correctly. So here's the comment again:

Nin--I share your phobia! I've written a poem about it called "You Should Avoid Doctors." It's online at
lockward_doctors.htm I'll go to the dentist five times before I'll go to the doctor. And if I do go to the doctor, I'm likely not to reveal why I'm there.

Nin Andrews said...

Oh I like that poem. Yeah, I don't want to know what trouble they find. Or be wrapped in tissue paper while I wait forever. But I don't care for dentists either, though I never put off a dental appointment. Rotting teeth are not an option.