THE BLOG

Why Do Men Fear the Doctor

06/25/2015 04:48 pm ET | Updated Jun 25, 2016

My father is 72 years old and he hasn't been to the doctor in almost 40 years. And now that he's older I worry about his health even more. When I approach the subject with him he tells me that he feels fine. There's nothing wrong with him. I try to explain to him that feeling fine and being healthy are two different things. What is it about men and avoiding the doctor

Any woman can tell you that a visit to the gynecologist is not very pleasant. You lay on a table with your knees up and legs spread while an instrument, usually cold, is placed in your vagina. Said instrument is then cranked open so the view is unobstructed. Then you are told to relax. Yeah, because having a stranger inspect your nether parts is very relaxing. This is what you will be doing every year or every other year for most of your teen and adult life. Correction, this is what you SHOULD be doing every year or every other year for most of your teen and adult life. This is part of what being a woman and taking care of your body entails. And if it wasn't for this annual appointment I never would have found the tumor. Apparently what you don't know can hurt you. The point is if we can endure such an intrusive procedure for the majority of our lives surely you men can cough and pee in a cup for the majority of yours.

I've tried to pinpoint the fear my father has about the doctor and I completely understand. The medical field, during the time of his childhood, wasn't very sophisticated, impressive nor encouraging. Broken limbs were amputated. Teeth were pulled if you had a slight toothache. It was very barbaric and this substandard care was given in the predominantly Black neighborhood he grew up in. But times have changed. There have been substantial leaps made in medicine and the health field. It's time to shake the fear and go to the doctor. Of course, if I directly ask my Dad, he tells me he's not scared. The doctor makes you sicker. "You go in for one thing and come out taking medicine for something else. Then you're taking medicine for the side effects of the first medicine."

OK, maybe he has a point. Do some physicians tend to overmedicate their patients?! Sure. Do some physicians tend to be lazy and instead of finding out the root cause of pain just prescribe pain medication?! Of course. Are the side effects of medicine more dangerous and disruptive to your body than the actual problem?! Yes it is. But, going to the doctor is a necessary evil. Yes it's expensive but so are burial costs.

Going to the doctor regularly is preventative. Diagnose the problem early and treat it early. Why can't some men grasp that concept?! Why are some of them so stubborn and full of excuses?! You can climb into a steel cage and beat the living day lights out of another man but going to the doctor frightens you?! Really?! Come on guys. It's time you take care of your health

This is my Dad. I love him and want him to live long enough to keep cooking for me. And keep asking me if I'm getting enough sleep. And keep nagging me about calling my mother more often. I want him around for a long time. And whether he likes it or not he's going to the doctor. And I know he's going to fight me on this tooth and nail but I always win.