Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: doctors

Speech Therapy

Thank you to everyone on Facebook who recommended a good therapist in New York. You’re nice people  (and apparently rather troubled).   I promise to look into it this week.

Today I went to my family doctor for a check-up.   After the nurse took my blood, Doctor R enter the examining room and sat across from me.

“I hear you wanted to ask me something, Neil.”

“Yes, I wanted some recommendations on seeing two other professionals.”


“First, I’ve been feeling congested lately and I want to see an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor.”

“Fine.  Let me send you to Doctor Grossman at NYU.  He’s very good.”

“And then, I was wondering if you know… because I was thinking of going to…. well, like a therapist.”

“Is that rotator cuff still bothering you.  I can send you to that physical therapist in Flushing.”

“No, not a physical therapist.”

I noticed Doctor R checking out my shoulder.  I pointed my finger upwards towards my face to help him understand what type of therapy I was discussing.

“Oh, I know someone very good at Queens College,” said Doctor R.   “She’s the chairman of the speech therapy department.”

“Speech therapy?”

“She’s a speech therapist.”

“Why would you send me to a speech therapist?” I blurted out.

“I thought that’s what you wanted.”

“Is there something wrong with the way I speak?  Jesus, now I’m really paranoid.  No, I’m talking about…”

I pointed my finger upwards again, this time directly at my head, as if I was about to shoot myself with my index finger.   The doctor’s “speech therapy” comment made me so anxious, I couldn’t think straight or come up with the right word.

“…I’m talking about… what do you call it.  I can’t think today.  A head therapist.   A brain therapist.”

“A psychiatrist?” he asked.

“Yes!  Well, no.  A psychiatrist sounds too serious.  I just probably need a regular therapist.  Not anyone with a fancy medical degree.  To talk to about things.  Someone’s who relatively cheap.  But still good.”

“I see.  An inexpensive therapist who’s still good.”

“Yes,” I said.

“I know of one person.   But would you mind seeing a therapist who shares his office with an auto body shop on Queens Boulevard?”

Note:  The previous was mostly true, except for the last line, which was thrown in at the last moment for humorous effect.

Doctor, Doctor

After my lovefest for Dr. Mehmet Oz yesterday, I was reminded of the true state of the medical profession by the Los Angeles Times this morning:

Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center took steps this week to fire three physicians after auditors uncovered more alleged incidents of moonlighting, fraud and misbehavior by the public hospital’s senior doctors. (LA Times)

Four years ago, as evidence mounted that Merck’s blockbuster painkiller Vioxx could cause heart attacks, the company ordered its sales force not to discuss the emerging data with doctors, but instead to paint a reassuring picture of minimal risks, according to documents released Thursday at a congressional hearing. (LA Times)

Three doctors were charged Thursday with giving large amounts of Viagra and other anti-impotence drugs to mob members in return for construction and auto repair work done by Mafia-controlled businesses. (LA Times)

I found this last story the most interesting, mostly because it reminded me of a script I recently read titled, "The Godfather 2005."  Here’s the first scene:




The blinds are closed, and so the room is dark. We are watching DOCTOR SHAPIRO over the shoulder of DON CORLEONE.

              DON CORLEONE
Doctor, we know each other for years, but this is
the first time you come to me for help. I don’t
remember the last time you invited me to your
house for coffee… even though our wives are

              DOCTOR SHAPIRO
What do you want of me? I’ll give you anything
you want, but do what I ask!

              DON CORLEONE
And what is that, Doctor?

DOCTOR SHAPIRO whispers into the DON’s ear.

              DON CORLEONE
No. You ask for too much.

              DOCTOR SHAPIRO
I need to bring my Acura into your nephew’s shop
now, not Tuesday! The OnStar system is
on the fritz.

              DON CORLEONE
Did you bring it up with Joey?

              DOCTOR SHAPIRO
He says he’s totally booked up this weekend.
Please help. Talk to your nephew. He’s the
best shop in Westchester.

Slowly, DOCTOR SHAPIRO bows his head and murmurs.

              DOCTOR SHAPIRO (CONT’D)
Be my friend. Godfather.

              DON CORLEONE
I see. And if I do this for you, what service
can you do for me in return?

DOCTOR SHAPIRO takes out a large plastic bag from under the table. On it, in large letters, is written "PFIZER."

              DOCTOR SHAPIRO
                (smiling slyly)
Let me ask you something, Godfather. How is
your relationship with Mrs. Corleone?