There was one question in my mom’s e-mail yesterday: “Have you been to the doctor yet?”
And I didn’t answer, but the truth is… no.
The honest excuse, until this week, is that I’ve been out of the country.
When I saw the pregnancy test flash positive, I knew who I wanted as my health care provider- the ob/gyn-midwife I’ve been seeing since I moved to New York. She’s the best medical provider I’ve ever had: patient, caring, never hurried, intelligent, and engaging without being condescending.
When I called her office, I learned that she’d moved her practice from the Bronx to Midtown. I Googled her name, in search of her new office number, and happened across some disturbing reviews. “DO NOT go to this woman!!!” wrote one mom, exaggerating her remarks with too many capital letters and exclamation marks. “Cold, impatient, high C-section rate,” another wrote.
I’d stumbled across the Trip Advisor equivalent of pregnancy docs.
Trip Advisor, if you don’t know, is a website where travelers leave detailed reviews and ratings of places they’ve stayed. These reviews can be glowing…and they can be brutal, but in either case, they exert a profound degree of influence over many people’s vacation decisions.
I’ve never quite understood the attraction of trusting in a total stranger to exert such influence over my travel plans. Maybe we’re different types of travelers. Maybe we have different interests, different needs, different tolerance threshholds. I’ve survived earthquakes in Costa Rica and Mexico, cockroaches surging out of the shower drain every morning in China, and plastic wrapped mattresses, so I’m a bit forgiving. I also know–because I have some friends who own a travel lodge and are ranked #1 in their region on Trip Advisor–that there are all sorts of ways that competitors beat the system, posing as disgruntled customers. In short, I put no stock in TripAdvisor when it comes to making plans.
So why was I paralyzed every time I picked up the phone to reschedule the first appointment I’d missed?
Because pregnancy’s a lot more serious than a vacation. Because I don’t have a plan B provider in place. Because, God, what if these women are right? What if the midwife I knew and really respected and admired has somehow turned into this she-witch?
I doubt it, seriously. In fact, she’s called me back and even left her home number. She sounds as warm and as patient as ever.
And my appointment is on the 27th.