I wish I was a doctor.


My friend K won’t watch sport with me anymore. I’m a bit sad about this but apparently I only have myself to blame. Our sons are great mates and for years they’ve played together in various sporting teams so as mothers, K and I have spent many hours sitting on the sidelines.

It’s handy to have a friend to talk to while watching sport. Especially if your child plays cricket. Damn long game, cricket.

Anyway, it seems that my behaviour on the sidelines is unacceptable although not in the way you might think. I’m not a shouter. Not at the ref, the opposing team or my own child. Some parents do all those things but I am most certainly not one of them.

What I do is this: whenever a player is injured, I elbow K in the ribs and practically frogmarch her onto the field. You see, K is a doctor and I am always very keen for her to lend a medical hand. She does not share my enthusiasm for getting involved, preferring to fly under the radar unless it’s a life-or-death situation (which is thankfully rare in under 12s sport).

I am frankly baffled by this. If I were a doctor, I would wear a cape. Like a superhero. I would drive around in a clearly marked vehicle like the Red Cross use in war zones with an actual giant red cross painted on the side. At any given opportunity, I would leap to my feet and offer to save someone’s life. Or inspect their twisted ankle.

But since I have no university degree, let alone a medical one, I am forced to live this life vicariously through K. Much to her horror.

I love doctors. Particularly when giving birth. If I could give birth surrounded by 100 white-coat wearing medical professionals? I would be one happy lady.

Possibly one of the best parts about being an adult is having friends who are doctors. This is sensational, especially if you have * cough * mild tendencies towards hypochondria. I feel safer when they are around and I am forever texting them for medical advice after hours.

Still, I find many doctors’ reticence to flex their superpowers outside work quite puzzling.

I recall having a conversation with a doctor I saw once about my daughter’s ear infection. He mentioned how his own daughter had had a similar infection a few weeks earlier. He’d given her pain medication and when the child seemed to settle down, he thought it was starting to clear up. Only a day later did he discover that her eardrum had actually burst. He said he felt very guilty about it but used the anecdote to make the point that when an eardrum bursts, it relieves the pressure and pain so it can be easy to think the infection has gone.


This confused me. “But didn’t you look in her ears? Couldn’t you see it had burst?” No, he replied. Because it was the weekend and he didn’t have his instruments at home.

Huh? I checked with K and she agreed it was pretty rare for doctors to take their medical equipment home.

But why? If I were a doctor, my bathroom cabinet would require its own garage. I’d have every piece of medical paraphenalia imaginable, stopping just short of a working operating theatre and an MRI machine.

I would look in my children’s ears and throats each night before dinner. And also possibly breakfast. But that’s just me.

My cricket supplies….if only

The final straw for K came at a recent soccer match when one of the players nicked his boot on the heel of another player and hit the ground. When he didn’t get up, the coach ran onto the field and his team mates crowded around protectively.

Highly sensitive to the whiff of drama, I immediately started with the nudging. “Look! He’s hurt! You should go!” I exclaimed amid K’s grumbled protestations that the kid seemed fine. “No! He’s not fine! He’s still lying there! Go!” When the coach looked towards the sidelines, I sprang to my feet like a lunatic. “She’s a doctor! She can help!”

As my reluctant friend walked onto the field, I was still not satisfied. “Run!” I shouted after her. “You should run!”

Hello drama, have you met me?

As the boy was carried from the field with K in tow, I learned that my interest in all things medical is a genetically inherited trait as my daughter scampered over to watch the action from a respectful distance of less than 20cms. The boy was carefully examined by K and found to have non life-threatening soccer injuries. Bruising probably.

When he still didn’t seem to want to get up, K sought a second opinion from a paediatric surgeon colleague she spotted over the other side of the field. Also under cover. Then there was the anaesthetist mother of a younger boy I found lurking behind a tree.

Who knew there were so many doctors among us? All reluctant to whip off their civilian clothes and whip on their capes – I mean white coats. I can’t imagine why……

What job do you secretly (or not secretly) wish you had? Do you have friends who try to take advantage of your job?

PS: check out The Week In Pictures

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