Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Sawbones R Us

Doctors come in all shapes and sizes.

Come to think about it, a few aren't even close to human! :P

No matter what their guise, doctors all find our way to the field of medicine in various inimitable ways. Shockingly quite a number are born wailing and kicking into the world with stethoscope clenched stubbornly in their gaumless jaws, practically weaned on the milk of medical journals, syringes and needles. Then there are the hereditary few who are led unthinkingly like sheep by their shepherds to the field - though a few do kick up quite a rumpus before settling down to the work.

And then there are the (un)lucky few like me who find themselves stumbling clumsily onto the field of medicine, staying to graze awhile and finding it quite a good patch of grass after all.

Different? Me?

Maybe that's the reason why I've always been a tad different from the rest. Since I find myself getting quite a few innocent remarks such as the one I had today in the outpatient clinic.

Patient : Wah, doctor. You're so nice. So different from other doctors.
Paul : Really? How so?
Patient : Never expect doctor so funny lah. Usually serious mah.
Paul : Dullards the lot of them.
Patient : Huh?

Not that I'm gonna go around advocating laughter is the best medicine like Patch Addams - but I don't see how it could hurt! :)

Despite doctors coming in all shapes and sizes ( and temperament ) it's obvious that society generally expects doctors to act in a certain manner. Even with the passionate interns of Grey's Anatomy running hog-wild all over Seattle Grace, the age-old stereotype still remains of the aged, knowing physician of yore running his learned arthritic fingers through his white beard while mumbling medical jargon before coming to a formulated diagnosis, all done with utter seriousness and without a hint of a smile.


But the stereotype persists. And many of my colleagues start copying that much revered image so it's not surprising to find patients wondering why we all usually look hot, harried and humourless.

Is it so hard to understand? Apart from the horrific ( though generally improving ) work conditions which turns us into mindless zombies, it's not difficult to see how doctors have come to embody such chilly, unfeeling reserve. Not only are the things we do practically unimaginable in any other field apart from butchery ( we hack, we chop, we saw, we slice - and these are fellow human beings, mind you! ), half the time we're also expected to deliver devastating, grievous news that would potentially change a patient or the family's life forever - and I doubt cracking a joke would make it any easier to take. Certainly wouldn't do to tell a dying man an inappropriate knock knock joke that I doubt he'd be able to appreciate.

Of course there are times when it's alright to relax and converse normally but continually changing temperament in front of the patients isn't easy to do ( not all of us are King of Masks ) so most of us prefer to wear an austere, solemn mien as a mask at work. Makes it so much easier to deal with the more horrific aspects of work sometimes. Hence the image of the unsmiling staid doctor.

But that's only temporary. Just catch us later in the pantry and you'll find some of us can be quite as crazy as everyone else.

Except the engineers. Engineers are a serious lot. :P


coolgardy said...

Tell which clinic you are at, I will also be your patient... :)

angel said...

General perception abt docs, I guess.

Yeah, I also wanna go to your clinic, can? I'm unwell, ok... *sniff*

strapping.shane said...

Wait till I tell everyone how you jab the hell out of me with that syringe and we'll see if anyone comes for further treatment. :P

adrien said...

i'm rather glad that most of my friends whom are pursuing medicine (which means, 90% of the lot) haven't fallen into such states.

not yet maybe.

but hey, no one excapes the general and stereotypical views of people. much clarification has to be made on my end as well, as interior design aint JUST bout arranging bloody furniture! bleh.

m5lvin said...



Docs can be funny for sure...

Interior designers aren't arranging bloody furniture only....

and Psychologists aren't necessary cuckoo!!!!

Lance said...

Doc Paul the new Patch Adams? Perish the thought!

kon kon said...

stereotypes will always be around but there will also be the special few like you who stands out from the lot..

good on ya.. try not to change to those dullards!

jay said...

I'm an engineer HMPH! And the last thing I am is serious. LOL.

Stereotypes are just our way of easily separating people into groups so we think we can easily identify them. It's simplistic and dumb but people do it anyways.

Queer Ranter said...

Dullard. Heheh. Me like that word.

And EXCUSE ME! Serious lot?! Engineers?! Like hell no. Well I'm not that is. :P

thompsonboy said...

....and lawyers are usually a bore. Esp when more than one of them get together.

At least talk about interesting thing the incident during a photoshoot or recording this and that....

-C said...

Is it wrong for me to say that the creative industry people are usually quite boring? :P

I wonder why that is. Maybe it's a reversal thing. Perhaps they're keeping it all locked away deep inside, afraid to let it out in the fear that any non-bottled humor or creativity will leak away into the night like a squirrel on crack.

I think I need to cut down on the crack.

-C said...

...and the squirrels.

savante said...

Seriously? Come over then, coolgardy :)

I can give lotsa tough love too, angel.

That's where the tough love bit comes in, shane.

After a while they would, adrien. Note easy convincing patients when you have a nose stud and purple dreadlocks.

I know more than a few psychologists who aren't crazy as well, m5lvin. And one who's a registered nutcase.

Patch Addams! Yay, lance.

Thanks for the vote of confidence, kon kon.

You're fascinating and far from boring, jay :) And so is queer rant.

Muahahah.... but recently quite a lot of court cases are on the news, TB.

Really? But c, I thought they would all be way interesting...


nemesis-on-fire said...

;) Dr Paul, i'll be your patient. HAHA. but i know, docs are actually very funny :) just gotta understand their humour :)

on a different note,

if there are any single heterosexual doctors at your place that looks like THAT (or McDreamy and McSexy), do drop me a line and let me know :P

i demand an introduction ;)