Monday, September 1, 2008

Dr. Who?

It is both significant and silly, all the hullabaloo around what we call ourselves.  A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet, right?  Is Michelle not as capable of healing your sore back as is Dr. Fagen?  (Personally, I wouldn't trust Dr. Michelle... but that's just me)  Yet, it does matter.  

I was recently made acutely aware of the significance of a name and designation.  I attended a wedding sans Husband. I had trouble finding my place card, because as it turned out Dr. Michelle Fagen wasn't actually at the wedding, but Mrs. Husband's Full Name was.  I was confused by my emotions - I am proud to be Mrs. Composer Extraordinaire, but I wondered exactly when I had lost not only my first and last names, but my professional designation?  Who exactly was supposed to be seated at table 16?  And had she ordered the chicken or the beef entree?

And while we are talking names and designations, I must confess, I have a chiropractic pet peeve.

I mean no offense to my colleagues, but I cringe a little when I hear one of my cohorts refer to himself as 'Dr. First Name'. You know who they are, the Dr. Lisas, the Dr. Steves, the awkward Dr. James-eses. It is so reminiscent of the Simpson's Dr. Nick ("Hi Everybody!", "Hi Dr. Nick!"). I suppose I can afford some leeway to those chiros with long and difficult to pronounce last names, or the docs who treat children who might be less intimidated by Dr. Dave than Dr. Backbraeker.  But... I dunno.  

It just rings creepy to me.  In a nice way, of course.  But also in a creepy way.  Think Dr. Phil.  'Nuff said.  

When I first graduated as a green, wet behind the ears, fresh faced eager young chiropractor, I felt like a bit of a fraud just calling myself Doctor.  Little me?  A doctor?  Certainly it gave my family cause to giggle "pass the potatoes, DOCTOR Fagen, hee hee!", but I also learned that it had its benefits - speaking to customer service reps for example. "This is Dr. Fagen calling. I recieved my magic bullet after waiting 5 weeks, only to have it break after just one smoothie. This is unacceptable, and I demand recompense. No, I won't hold, I've got patients to treat!"

I've realized since that some people want to address me as Doctor. The formality of the title gives them confidence and the professional distance provides a forum where they can feel comfortable receiving care as a patient. Other patients see me as a health care partner, as someone they can relate to, and we address each other as Michelle and Patient.
Ultimately, I've decided that I don't care what you call me... as long as you call me!

Just don't call me Dr. Michelle.  

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