7 July 2012

The tyranny of good medical care

You know what it is like.  You move to a new city.  You end up with some kind of illness and trot yourself off to one of the medical centres that promise the world and deliver nothing but lessons in boredom when you have to wait the best part of your adult life waiting to get into see a doctor who writes a medical certificate, prescribes drugs, asks for your medicare card and sends you on your way - all without actually asking you why you'd come to see them.

You accept it.  Days, weeks, months, maybe years pass.  You need to see a doctor again.  You remember feeling vaguely dissatisfied last time but can't remember why so you go back.  You remember why and a little more convinced this time that you might have some kind of incurable cold that is going to result in death, you hunt down another doctor.  This pattern repeats itself until one day, you have to have some skin cancers removed and the doctor that you've booked in to see is running late for another appointment and actually, literally, misses the spot that needs to be removed but before you can tell her that she has left the building.  Faster than Elvis.

So that is it.  This time, you are going to get a proper doctor.  Especially because you are now uppus duffus and are trying to make sense of the language of breeding.  You discover a gem in the doctor world.  A man so brilliant, so kind, so "proper doctory" that you are inclined to believe he may be too good to be true.  But he's not. He is awesome, reassuring, sensible and never once randomly burns you with a laser and leaves to meet friends for drinks.  He is brilliant with children, talks about the reproductive system with the right amount of empathy and scientific detachment and explains things to you in language you understand. He never even laughs when you end up with an ailment more commonly associated with trees and when your child develops a 'cry loudly' reaction to him after watching him vaccinate her baby sister - he thinks it better that she finds him scary than you.

Basically, despite this man's inexplicablly large and ancient grey jumper worn all four seasons.  This doctor is the kind of doctor that makes people want to be doctors.

And it turns out he's too good to be true.  He disappoints. He's gone to donate his time to 'Doctors without borders'.  And his family have gone too because they hope to be able to stay for a year or two. And you know that part of why you have liked this doctor is because he is a truly kind man but it doesn't stop you feeling the discontent of a middle class first worlder because now, short of spending seven years obtaining your own medical degree so you can follow him to some third world country, you're going to have to find another doctor.  


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