Are You a Modern Dad?

By Howard J. Bennett, MD

If you’re like most men, taking your child to the doctor is a mixed blessing. While it’s certainly nice to get some time off from work, surviving a pediatric visit, even a routine checkup, is an ordeal that makes a fraternity hazing seem like a walk in the park. Nevertheless, more and more fathers are spending time nurturing their children these days. Therefore, to see if you have what it takes to meet these new medical responsibilities, I have prepared the following quiz.

1. In your opinion, the best time to leave for a doctor’s appointment is:

A) An hour early so there’s plenty of time to find a parking space.
B) As soon as you can find your car keys.
C) When the football season is over.

2. The thought of sitting in a waiting room with exhausted mothers, crying babies, and hyperactive toddlers gives you:

A) A warm feeling about the bond you share with other parents in the community.
B) A migraine headache.
C) A strong desire to be at work, even if it means getting yelled at by your boss for being a lazy, shiftless, good-for-nothing slob.

3. How would you describe your child’s doctor?

A) An intelligent, highly trained professional who works long hours to provide quality care for your family.
B) A physician who is probably competent, but charges too much.
C) A money-sucking parasite.

4. You’re in an examination room with your 4-year-old who complained about a sore throat during breakfast. When the doctor asks her to open her mouth, she just sits there like the man is speaking Chinese. What do you do?

A) Reassure your child that the doctor won’t hurt her, and ask her to open her mouth like she did this morning when she practiced with her VERY OWN doctor’s kit.
B) Offer to take her to McDonald’s if she’ll cooperate.
C) Plead with your daughter to open her mouth. Say, “Please open up for the doctor, sweetie. Pretty please.” Repeat this 25 times, showing her how easy it is. Continue with this behavior until you are sweating profusely, red with embarrassment, and wish with all your soul that you never got married in the first place or, alternatively, that you had listened to your brother-in-law (the one with five children) and had gotten that vasectomy like he suggested.

5. If it were up to you, under what conditions would you take your children to the doctor?

A) For all routine checkups and illnesses, and to discuss each stage in their psychosocial development.
B) For whatever is covered by your medical insurance.
C) If the Health Department kicked them out of school.

6. If your wife asked you to take a morning off to bring your 6-month-old to the doctor, what would you tell your co-workers at the office?

A) That it’s important for fathers to take an active role with all aspects of child rearing.
B) That your wife got called out of town at the last minute and she begged you to take your son in for his checkup.
C) That your old lady banged up the car again, and you spent the whole morning rebuilding her transmission.

7. In conversations with friends and relatives, how do you refer to your child’s doctor?

A) Dr. Williams.
B) Ralph.
C) Old poop-head.

8. Your 3-year-old is diagnosed with an eye infection that will require drops for seven days. The last time this happened, your wife lost her hearing for a month due to the blood curdling screams that emanated from your daughter’s diminutive mouth. Your wife is visiting her parents and won’t be back for a week. You would:

A) Explain to your daughter why she needs the drops and instill them calmly despite her cries that you are killing her.
B) Bribe your child to sit still by offering to buy her ice cream dinners for the rest of her life.
C) Put the drops in the dog’s eyes and pray for a miracle.

9. If you moved to a new town, how would you go about finding a new doctor for your children?

A) Call the local medical society and academic medical centers to find someone with impeccable credentials.
B) Ask your neighbors.
C) Open the phone book and go, eeny-meeny-miney-mo.

10. After waiting with your child for an hour and a half to see the doctor, she diagnoses an ear infection, hands you a bill for $75, and is out the door before you can ask whether the medicine should go in your child’s ear or his mouth. On leaving the office, you would:

A) Pay the bill with a credit card, being glad that you got an appointment in the first place.
B) Write a check knowing full well that it will bounce higher than the doctor’s malpractice premium.
C) Bill the doctor at your regular rate ($200/hr) for the time she kept you in the waiting room.

Scoring the Quiz

To determine your score, give yourself the following points for each answer: “a” (3 points), “b” (2 points), “c” (1 point). No points are awarded for unanswered questions.

Score Interpretation

Over 25

Congratulations! You definitely have what it takes to be a modern dad. Be sure to let your wife “find” this quiz because it will get you some extra perks around the house (women love hip men who are also sensitive). Not bad, but you’re still living in the 20th century. There is hope, however, especially if you buy some self-help books and watch ten hours per week of women’s daytime talk shows.

Less than 15 

Sorry big guy, but your prospects are glum. I suggest you throw away this quiz and try to convince your wife that sensitive men are wimps.

© 2012 Howard J. Bennett. All Rights Reserved.

(First published in Stitches, The Journal of Medical Humor, March 2003.)

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