Both of We were to the doctor recently. We made a discovery there. Independently, and without even chatting with each other until we were both on familiar barstools, we mean familiar ground, we decided on our perfect doctor. As kindly as he may have been in prime time, we don’t want Marcus Welby. As hard as he worked to save his patients, we don’t want Hawkeye Pierce. As smart as he was, we definitely don’t want Doogie Howser. No, we want Dr. Bombay.
Everybody remembers Dr. Bombay from the Bewitched television series from the 60’s. Even those not born until the 80’s remember Bernard Fox’s character, Dr. Bombay, the literal witch doctor who tended after Samantha and her bewitching relatives. There’s our perfect primary care physician. One who can shrug off what happens to patient number 4 in the scenario that 3 out of 4 make a complete recovery. One who understands that medicine is not an exact science and knowing how to care for his patient isn’t brain surgery. One who heeds the adage, laughter is the best medicine. Even if it isn’t covered by most health plans.
A few years ago He of We’s doctor gave him a year to drop 20 unnecessary pounds. No reason, no plan, no sympathy. Just do it. A year later, without referencing the previous year’s instruction, his doctor gave him a year to lose 30 pounds. Dr. Bombay would have remembered. Dr. Bombay would have popped in every few weeks to see what progress was being made and would have brought along his favorite weight loss device, exercise routine, or diet modification.
We can see Dr. Bombay having that discussion. He would pantomime his upper body rocking back and forth as he works out on his elliptical machine and swinging his arms about as he swims across the room. And then he would end it all with “And keep up with the fiber. If you can’t hold back on the breads, at least eat healthy. Wot, wot, don’t you know?”
The supporting cast needs to be of good humor also. She of We’s doctor’s nurse was busy with her preliminaries at her appointment. She began quietly professional. That’s euphemistic for cold and unfriendly. Take the blood pressure, take the pulse, take the temperature. Normal, normal, normal. “How old are you? What drugs are you taking? None! Really! How old are you? No wonder you’re normal.” We made up that last line, but she did smile.
That’s when Dr. Bombay would have stepped into the examination room and began to try to pick up the nurse. And there is where some things are going to have to remain the realm of television fiction. But other than that there are lots of things that our students of Hippocrates can learn from Dr. Bombay, like a cheerful heart is good medicine, and that we all put on our paper gowns one leg at a time.
Now, that’s what we think. Really. How ‘bout you?