Had to go to the doctor today for my annual he-is-holding-my-prescriptions-hostage visit. I have no complaints. I spent some time late last year taking care of a few issues, but I am doing well. Sure enough, the doctor confirmed all of that (pending blood tests). But what bothered me was a sign hanging in the exam room. Patients were asked to keep their discussion with the doctor to 1-2 complaints so he could stay on schedule.
First, when you triple book appointments, it is not the fault of a patient when you run behind. I was the second appointment (so, maybe 4th or 5th or 6th) of the day. Already, he was running behind. I know that. I take books with me. Yes, plural. So, I wait for 30 minutes and then see the doctor for 10.
But the thing that really angered me was asking a patient to "focus." What if there are multiple things wrong with me? Should I schedule multiple appointments so I can talk about them all? And does the doctor and his nurse not also bear some responsibility here as well? I have to remind my doctor about what has transpired in the past year (and sometimes longer) because he has skimmed my chart.
What does this have to do with books and reading? I think it is the idea that we need to narrow down, to focus what we offer kids to read. The idea that one-size-fits-all redux. Here is one book we will all read. Okay, maybe you can choose from 2 or maybe even 3. Where does the individual enter here? And why narrow when we should be expanding interests and tastes and preferences?
I have a final point that comes to mind here. There has been talk online about bibliotherapy. I have refrained from posting, but I do believe therapy is best left to counselors and other professionals. I do not select books to offer some sort of therapy. That can be dangerous, can backfire. When the former residents of the back bedroom lost their mother just shy of her 36th birthday, they dod not want books about death and dying. Far from it. They wanted books to lift their spirits, maybe ease their pain a bit. I let them lead me. Sometimes reading about someone in your situation is a good thing; sometimes it is the wrong thing.
So, I am free for another 6 months (I hope) from having to narrow down talking points when I visit the doctor. Since I had no complaints today, maybe someone else could add 1-2 to her or his list? And maybe, just maybe, we can avoid this wort of malpractice when it comes to books and reading.