Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hold the Mayo

My mother and I have an ongoing argument going about medical care.  The main topic of our argument?  Mayo Clinic.

Like other seniors, my mother swears by Mayo Clinic.  If she stubs her toe, she goes to Mayo Clinic.  To her, Mayo Clinic, and the Mayo Hospital we have here in Phoenix, are like those one-stop clinics they have in drugstores now.  There's no problem too minute to go shlep out to Mayo Clinic to have an expert see it for her.  She'll pop in any time.   

Our argument always starts with some kind of medical discussion, maybe I need an evaluation of some type or one of my kids do.  Her response? 

"Go to Mayo Clinic!"

"Mom, you know Mayo Clinic isn't covered on my insurance." It's never once been covered on any insurance I've ever had.

"I don't care.  Pay for it yourself.  You have plenty of money."

Why does this make me nuts?  Is it because now I'm in two arguments?  There's the one about Mayo Clinic and then there's the new one about whether I have any money.  To not go to Mayo, I have to prove to my mom that I'm poor.

"Mayo Clinic isn't the only place to go in the world, Ma."

"It's the best!"

There's a pause during which I fume and try to figure out where she got this prejudice.

My mother's history with doctors is unremarkable.  As a young mom in Skokie she treated almost exclusively with her obstretrician, the one who delivered six out of seven of us, and who apparently failed to adequately discuss birth control options with her. Then there was the pediatrician who used to show up at our house and examine all seven of us in a row, mixing up our names. Later, when I became a sickly asthmatic, she used to drive like a bat out of hell to a town two hours north of Chicago and a doctor who had one of the only nebulizer machines in existence in 1973, so huge it took up an entire room. She'd take over the waiting room regaling the other patients with the dramatized Story Of My Asthma while I spent the day with the nebulizer.

No Mayo Clinic. But did Mayo Clinic beckon to her from Rochester; did she think of it as the clinic of last resort if, finally, the gigantic nebulizer didn't work, if, finally, I turned blue with the lack of oxygen?

Then she says, "And anyway, the food in the cafeteria at Mayo Hospital is the best food anywhere. Bob and I try to eat out there at least once a week."

"Ma, it's a hospital cafeteria."

"They have a chef."

Okay, that's it.  The conversation has descended into inanities.  Also, I'm dangerously close to finding out exactly what she ate at each meal and I'm not going to fall into that trap. 

"Well, maybe we'll try it some time."

"The Clinic?"

"No. The cafeteria."

Her turn to fume.


  1. Thanks, Vera!

  2. Ok I am in your court here..I would never go to the Mayo here. I have before..never again as they say. Great story !!

  3. Great title! And your dialogue with your mother is hilarious.