Week 3: All the clinicians I've ever loved
I know it’s only week 3, but I did get a little stuck on what to write this week. That's the beauty of this challenge, though - come hell or high water I will write something every week for a whole year! Even if it’s about how I couldn’t think of anything to write.
Fortunately, this is not that!
On Thursday, I went to get my eyebrows freshly tattooed back onto my forehead. And, as I was driving back from my appointment pondering what to write with Pachelbel’s Canon in D blasting out at full volume, all I could think about was how much I love love love my brow lady. Which then got me thinking about all the various doctors and healthcare clinicians who have had such an impact on my life (or even just a tiny moment of it), and how much I also love love love them for that.
The following is dedicated to them.
My brow lady
(“Brow lady” definitely does not do her or her work justice, I just love the turn of phrase.)
Since the 90s/early 00s, I’ve been missing a key set of facial features. And no amount of balms, creams or praying to the Gods was ever going to bring my eyebrows back. As someone who rarely wears make-up, my natural brows made it look like someone had taken a leaf blower to the top half of my face. And drawing them on was a risky business of “what facial expression will I be adopting today?”.
It was a small insecurity but, and I’m not being hyperbolic when I say, making the decision to remedy it by getting my brows microbladed (semi-permanently tattooed on), changed my life. And I have my brow lady extraordinaire, Emily, to thank for it!
I met Emily in November 2021, when I brought what was left of my brows to her medi-spa come beauty clinic in South West London, and I have been in love ever since. Microblading takes a good few hours over a good few sessions so, thankfully, I get plenty of QT with ma gurl. Needless to say, I was v excited to head back this week for my annual top up. In fact, I think we both were. (The following is one of my favourite female greetings.) Upon seeing each other, we both proceeded to say some variation of “OMG hey, so great to see you”, except that neither of us managed an entire word and it was so high-pitched and garbled and energetic that probably only dogs in the local area understood what was happening.
Emily is one of the easiest people to talk to in the whole wide world, and being around her is like main-lining positivity. Everytime I leave our sessions it’s like I’ve caught up with an old friend. Secretly, I like to think we’d both love to hang out with each other outside our brow-based situationship (dunno maybe it’s just me). Not to mention the fact that she’s bloody brilliant at what she does and makes you feel so taken care of and listened to, and has given me brows so fabulous that my dentist even moved her light thingy to examine them up close cos she was so jelly.
My bowel specialist
I’ve always had issues with my bowels. A bajillion years (400 blood tests, 17 stool samples and 1 failed FODMAP diet) later, it turns out I have IBS (maybe) and am gluten intolerant (probably). Sorry bread!
The reason for the maybes and probablys is that definitive tests for a lot of bowel issues either don’t exist, don’t actually work or aren’t that accessible on the NHS (not their fault!). Enter Dr Fiddler, my bowel specialist.
Yes, her name is actually Dr Fiddler - reason one for why I love her.
Anyone who knows anything about me, knows how much I love anything to do with bowels. After years and years and years of issues - of pooping way too much, then, not at all - I have become a literal expert in gut health. So much so, that my buds will often come to me first for a diagnosis and/or to browse my impressive selection of poop pills and sundries. So I already felt like me and The Fidds would be kindred spirits in the field. Sure, she’s been through years and years of medical school. But I’ve lived it, baby!
After years of holding my breath, waiting for answers or for someone to tell me the worst, Dr Fiddler’s office was like a huge exhale. Yeh, she was helpful and compassionate blah blah blah. But what struck me was her genuine passion for her field, she gave me the space to ask all my weird and random dietary, gut health, poop-related questions, and we had a legit two-way conversation like two normal adults (and, dare I say, medical peers). I’d go as far to say we vibed. At the end of my session, she turned to me and said, “honestly Louise, I could talk to you about gut health and intolerances all day” - second reason for why I love her.
I’ve often thought about what a life spent with Dr Fiddler would be like, sitting out on the porch in our rocking chairs for hours, nattering away about how some people can’t digest gluten. I sometimes wonder whether she was the one! But it’s probably not the best idea to date your bowel specialist... the phrase "you shouldn't shit where you eat" comes to mind.
My wisdom teeth anaesthetist
I’m usually, like, hella chill and never get worked up or anxious or overthink anything. Like. Ever. But for some reason, I lost my cool a bit before I had to have my wisdom teeth out. To be fair, they made me wait all day. And also, by that point, I hadn’t eaten for over 16 hour - because of, like, safe surgical practice or whatever - so I was clearly just whatever the anxious equivalent of “hangry” is.
Typically, I’d never tell someone I have zero faith in their occupational capabilities the first time I meet them. But my anaesthetist took it quite well when I said I didn’t believe he could put me to sleep.
Without missing a beat, he stared into my soul with the most beautiful blue eyes I have ever seen. And, with all sincerity, said, “Louise, I’ve put rugby players to sleep before, so I’m not going to have any difficulty with you.”
PREGNANT. I became pregnant instantly!
Not only did he not demean me or belittle my fears, he assuaged all anxiety in the hottest way possible: by making me think of rugby players while simultaneously calling me the tiniest women he’d ever met. Such. A. Zaddy. Move.
My first therapist
OK, so I didn’t actually “love” my first therapist. Although, she did help me through a very dark and difficult time.
What I did love was that we both shared the same name. So everytime I told people I had another great session chatting to Louise, people used to look at me like I had gone slightly insane.
My nursing buds
My best friends are nurses, so it’d be remiss not to mention them here when I love them the mostest of all! The problem is I just don’t quite have the words to express all the ways I love them. And also, they’d definitely hate it if I get too mushy!
When I go to work, the literal worst thing that can happen is that the coffee machine that has oat milk is out of order. For them, the stakes are a tad higher. They do so much for so many people and yet they still find the capacity to be the most generous, caring, hilarious, brilliant human beings I’ve ever met.
Like my first oat milk flat white in the morning, I couldn’t live without them.
Plus they let me come to their uni lectures, which was way cooler than learning about poetry. One of them taught me how to smoke (lol). And they are the reason I own a candle, a vase and a keyring with boobs on them.