Results-Based Accountability (RBA) and Outcomes-Based Accountability (OBA)
        

6/17/09

Why guys don’t go to doctors – Explained!

by Mark Friedman

One of the reason guys don’t go to the doctor is that they need a good story line about why they need to see a doctor. It’s a matter of saving face. And the great majority of guys can’t think up a respectable reason so they don’t go. Here’s an example. “I nearly cut off my right arm yesterday…. ordinarily this would not be a problem, but I got invited to go bowling with some friends….. and I figured that it would be all gutter balls with only my left arm. So I decided to come see you.”

In essence, guys need a script so they don’t look weak in the eyes of the doctor. “What do you mean you need your right arm to go bowling. I know a lot of guys who play through your kind of injury. And bowling? Really? I could see what you mean if it were mountain climbing or something like that. But bowling? Get out of here and let me attend to people who have real medical problems.” This is the guy’s worst fear. Guys are not just afraid this will be said to their face, but almost as bad, behind their back to the office receptionist who thinks your out of hearing range. Neither of these things happen very often but this is the kind of thing guy’s worry about.

Here’s the basic structure of the script a guy needs: “(1) Doctor, I did something or something happened to me (insert specific something that might make an ordinary person wince) ….. (2) Ordinarily this would not be a problem except for the fact that (insert: reason having to do with what other people think of you) and (3) I figured that (insert way in which you would look bad if the problem wasn’t fixed sooner rather than later). So I’m here to see you.”

There are two lessons that come immediately from this. Gals, help your guys develop the script they need to go see the doctor and try really hard not to laugh while doing this. Make sure the that script is not too long so that the guy will remember it when it comes time to see the doctor. Doctors, never tell a guy he shouldn’t have come in because it wasn’t important enough, unless of course the script just doesn’t hold up. In this case snickering is permitted. An example of a script that doesn’t hold up would be: “Doctor, I was lying on the floor in my office when my boss came in. I sat up real fast and got very light headed. Now ordinarily being light headed would be OK, except that then the light headedness went away and I had to go back to work. So I decided to come see so you could help me stay light headed for longer so I don’t have to work so much."

Let’s apply these lessons to my current planned doctor visit and the script I am thinking of using. “(1) Doctor, I had this cold. And everyone knows there’s no cure for a cold so why bother seeing a doctor. (2) Ordinarily I could live with a cold, even a bad one. But then it developed into a slight cough in my chest. (3) So I figured that, given my bout with pneumonia last summer, I better come see you so my wife doesn’t completely freak out.” What do you think? Will the doctor accept it. Or will I be forced to relive a new episode of humiliation for the rest of my life?