Jun 29, 2012

Doctor, Doctor!

Jane Austen has crept under my skin. I seem to be living, breathing and dreaming her characters and her language. Thoughts are now forming in my head, inspired by the manner and style of her writing (although quite poorly, I admit, in comparison). Try as I may, I am unable to shake it off. Although, perhaps, I may not be trying too hard. For it is hardly anything but a pleasure to have the works of an author such as herself to dwell upon. For now, Miss Bennet and Mr. Darcy have become the sole objects of my imagination. I have been held captive by the beauty of their delicate romance. So much so, that I find myself in need of a break from it. 

Moving on, to the subject at hand. Doctors.

Much has been said about the greed and wrong-doings of doctors these days, especially on the widely watched Satyamev Jayate. My article today, however, is not going to be on these subjects. I only desire to recount my own experiences with a few extremely absurd gentlemen and lady doctors, whom I have had the misfortune of consulting. Do not misunderstand me, I hold certain doctors in the highest regard. Particularly, the  fathers of a few of my dear friends, who are excellent doctors and men of great humour. 

I, however, seem to have the worst luck with doctors. It seems almost impossible for me to find a single talented doctor who performs his/her duty with the dignity, maturity and grace that could be expected from a person whose business it is to heal people. I regret to inform you that most of the doctors I have met recently could be best described as ludicrous clowns, ill suited to bring ease and comfort to a patient in suffering. I prefer not to delve too deep into the past, and will provide you with accounts of my misfortunes of the past year. 

Last year, when I was at the very beginning of my residence at Bangalore, I found myself in need of the services of a gynecologist. The hospital nearest to my residence was Manipal, and hence I arrived there with my husband. I am sorry to inform you that the particular lady doctor I saw was indeed not a lady at all. In fact, I wonder that she was a doctor in the first place. 

Upon entering her consultation room, we discovered her to be in an extreme state of distress over her malfunctioning computer! She kept us waiting for several minutes while she continued to berate her assistant over these technical matters. When my case was finally heard, her irritations did not seem to cease and I became the object of them. I ended up receiving a severe telling-off (for what, do not ask me, for I am not aware of my mistakes), and then was sent off to withstand a battery of blood and other physical examinations. Not wanting to create an argument with this particularly foul-faced character, we decided to call it a day.

A little over half-a-year ago, I once again found myself in need of a doctor for the treatment of a vicious discomfort (pain) in the back. The issue was simple, the treatment, undoubtedly, had to be straightforward. As you can guess, however, this was not to be, given my ill fortune in the case of doctors. I once again chanced upon one of the worst of the female species, masquerading in the attire of the medical profession. The 'doctor' in question, questioned me about my age, height, and other not-so-vital statistics. She then requested me to stand upon a weighing machine. 

The moment I ascended, she uttered a loud cry, recoiling several inches with an expression of utmost horror. At first I was confused over the object of her distress, but I soon discovered her to be staring at the numerals on the scale. Now in all honesty, let me inform you that I might be a few kilos overweight, but I assure you that it is nothing so bad as to warrant such a reaction. The rest of the consultation was spent in her issuing me with dire warnings about the state of my health, and the very likely hood that I was to contract a high levels of blood sugar and blood pressure the very moment I touched the age of thirty. Once again, a battery of blood and physical examinations were prescribed. I must report to you that I have never visited the woman since, and the back-pain has relieved of its own accord.

I now arrive at my third and final account. It is perhaps the most important of them all, since the meeting has left me with a distaste for doctors so great that it will be quite some time before I am comfortable in seeing one again. In this case, the gentleman was a doctor of an alternate medical therapy, Homeopathy, to be precise. We had received considerable recommendation of his practice from various sources on the internet and hence, decided to pay him a visit for a particular chronic malady of mine.

The very moment we entered the reception area of the premises was one of confusion. There were too many people around and it took us some time to ascertain where the receptionist was seated. Once we located her, she very promptly informed us that we would need to procure a 100-page notebook, before any other matter could be discussed. This completely threw us off, having had no prior expectation of this. As we glanced at each other in confusion, a middle aged man approached us (whom I presumed to be an attender),  provided us with a sheet of instructions to follow and very curtly informed us that if we did not find them to our liking, we were free to leave. Utterly bewildered at such behaviour, M and I quickly took seats to read the instructions. 

The page-long list was read and complied with, the 100-page notebook procured and we were ushered in to the consultation room. Inside were seated the very attender from earlier, next to an extremely over-dressed young woman, who seemed to have lost her way from a movie set. Presuming her to be the doctor, I began relating my troubles. However, she frequently kept glancing towards the attender with some discomfort. As he began interjecting with questions regarding my illness, it finally dawned upon me that this gentleman was in fact, the doctor, the young lady being his assistant. Recovering from my folly rather quickly, I proceeded to inform him of my issues. The conversation that followed was as such:

Doc: Kindly come back to me with a scan of the said body parts and only then will I be able to provide you with medication.

Me (highly skeptical about doctors and scans): Is it not possible to provide treatment without the scan, doctor?

Doc (now highly offended and angry): How much do you spend on private hospitals in a year, madam? After all I provide a free service here and you hesitate to do as told?

I looked to M for support. He began to reason with the doctor and it was finally decided that the scan would be conducted.

Doc (still visibly upset at the doubt of his credibility and hence speaking in a very severe voice): Madam, I wish to tell you that had you come to me 15 years ago (when the problem first started), I would have cured you in a day. Just one day. You have done all kinds of nonsense and now you expect me to fix you just like that?! You must go ahead with the scan, there is no other way. There is an excellent scanning facility a kilometer from here, which is where I would like to see a report from.

Me: But doctor, there's one right beside my home, which I am quite comfortable with.

Doc (angered once again): Madam, if you cannot follow my instructions, please leave right away. Here is your file. 

M and I were completely unsure of what to do next. Meanwhile, the young lady began asking me questions about any other illness I may have. I mentioned an allergy in passing.

Doc: What?? You have an allergy problem and you're telling me now?? Haven't you read the instructions at all madam? You are to inform me of each an every problem you have in your body. Now you tell me of this allergy. What are you allergic to, come on, tell me.

Me: Dust mites, I guess...

Doc: Are you sure? Only dust mites? Because if you tell me the specific thing you are allergic to, I can provide you with a medicine so potent that you will be cured in a day. But yes, you must be sure you are allergic only to that substance. If not, the medicine won't work. Are you sure?

Me: Well...

Doc: Any other problem you are having?

Me: I dunno, well, dandruff, I guess...

Doc: No problem, we will give you a wig if you lose all your hair. Next. Anything else?

Before I could answer, the young lady interjected...

Young Lady: Madam, we will deliver you with the first dose of medicine today, and the next dose after you return with the scan report. You must in the mean time, stop all other forms of medication. Even if you have a cold, fever, or any other problem, you must only come to us for medication. You cannot go to any other doctor or take any other pills.

Me (now highly disconcerted): Umm...

The medicine was being prepared while the doctor continued to ramble on in a loud voice about the various accomplishments of homeopathic sciences, and the decided failure of all other streams of medicine. 

Me (suddenly remembering): Umm, doctor, I do take multi-vitamin supplements. Would you like me to stop those too?

Doc (in a state of complete rage, slapping my file on the table): WHAT is the meaning of this madam? Can't you follow simple instructions? I said NO OTHER medicine, and I meant NO OTHER medicine. Why do you ask me stupid questions? You are completely unfit to be my patient. We will not be giving you any medicine. Please leave right away. LEAVE. NOW. GO!

Needless to say, M and I made a very hasty exit from the place. Once outside, we could not understand whether we were to laugh or cry. The very experience we had had was completely unnerving, not to mention unreal. We were of the feeling that we had just emerged from a madhouse of sorts. The rest of the evening was spent in discussing the turn of events, and we were at a complete loss of understanding regarding everything that had occurred. 

Through these instances, I have merely stated my case. I leave you to be the judge of whether these so-called doctors must be bestowed with the additional title of Incompetent Baffoon, or not. I must now take your leave, for more pressing matters (lunch) await my attention. I earnestly hope that my difference in language today has not offended you, and if it has, I must insist that you do not waste any time in telling me so. You may also have a few laughs at my expense, for I will not mind it in the least. Good day!


  1. First thing before I forget - You make English beautiful Sumi :)

    Second things now :P

    Thankfully, I have never encountered such doctors. The ones I got treated with were wonderful, always making me comfortable :) Maybe it is Bangalore dear...try somewhere else?

  2. Ah, Jane Austin! I'm dying to read her. I'm hooked to Bronte sisters for now. Been more than a week since I read Wuthering Heights. Still not able to come out of its spell! Not able to pick up any other book. When people these days are going gaga over some crap IIT author, it's great to know you read classics. :)

    Coming to doctors: it's a sorry state of affairs. My mother has to go through something like that. A simple leg injury was declared fracture. Before we know it plaster cast was already around her leg.
    Hope you don't have to go through such things again.

  3. Ooooh,

    Your language is impeccable to say the least and I must add so hurriedly. For, if it was not so, it was highly improbable that I would arrive at your statement. Jane Austen does that to you :) I am yet to read Mansfield park. I want to read Emma again too :) it has been long now. Really glad you reading her again :)

    You have had a really horrifying impression :( sorry for that really. While the first two look impassionate ( doubt if it was that day's distress and general mood swing ), the third account though hilarious at the outset, throws light on the prevalent quackery. If I were you, I doubt if I'd be so patient. Seriously. I hope you feeling better now :)

    Your more pressing matter draws my best attention :p like always.
    And, like always, loved reading it :)

  4. I`ve not read Jane Austen till date but you sure sounded like someone from the 1800's in urban England :D.

    As you've mentioned you're probably not in sync with the medical fraternity; plus they are one of the most harried and stressed souls on the planet. That being said; interacting with people one of the most important duties of a doctor - when one fails to tick this basic prerequisite of the list - I don't think one should call oneself a Dr or a healer.

    It is always advisable to go to a trusted physician for the sake of familiarity and ease, so try finding out from your friends or colleagues if their family doctor is worth giving a shot.

    Cheers :)

  5. Oops!!! That hit close to the bone....pardon me if i am a bit facetious but theres a saying in medical circles that doctors have nagging wives and ungrateful kids too...just that you might have run into a particularly nasty mood swing of your gynec...but the other two are inexcusable...especially the qucl who masquerades as a alternative medicine type you mentioned last....and finally the doom and gloom middle one?? Either she reads too many fitness mags or she has just discoveted that someone close to her has DM/HT which could have been prevented had it been diagnosed earlier and now she is a woman on a mission...to give her the benefit of the doubt...(as a doc myself) seriously wish you better luck next time with doctors...not all of us are this bad

  6. Your journey from the genteel Victorian sensibilty to the abrasive twenty first century Indian dourness brought much merriment to my heart. Little is the need to add to the atrocious conditions abounding in these lands and times. The call of the hour is to exercise extreme caution in subjecting oneslf to the supposed practicers of the medical science.

    PS. Would you mind informing a reader of yours that the author who is the subject of your opening paragraphs is in fact carries the family name 'Austen' rather than 'Austin'?

  7. The quintessential bachelor... who can forget Mr. Darcy.

    And now the problem at hand -doctors. I completely relate with the Homeopathic medicine incident as i myself went through one. I took my son for the homeopathic medication and ended up coming out so disgruntled and disillusioned.

  8. You are nearly there - in terms of Jane Austin .... there is a certain old world charm in the way you use words, and a calm to the flow of the words.

    Doctors... I've been the official driver-to-go-to-the-doctors.... for the kids, the hubby, the in laws, the parents.... sigh!!! So I have seen all kinds. And thankfully, while some of them made me wonder if their parents had to buy off the college they studied in, there were others who reinforced my belief in this noble profession. But a wonderfully put together post.

  9. I am really sorry that your doctor experiences turned out to be like this. I have had really good experience with a homeopathy doctor and he is my family doctor for years.

    I never knew that doctors, the people who are in the divine profession act like this.


  10. Okay, Sumitra, firstly, if you do not publish a book within the next one year, I shall personally catch a bus to Bangalore, somehow find my way to your place and give a loud piece of my mind. Seriously! I am not exaggerating but I really felt I was reading pages from a PG Wodehouse book. What are you doing here? go write for the world, woman! :)

    And secondly, whoa... is this real? I mean, the last doc guy - insane! Are you sure he was not humoring himself after all the boredom of work? Lol... some experience you have had! I don't know how I would have reacted if I were you.

  11. Award time ! :) Pls come collect yours :)

  12. On a break from blogging? Missing your posts! Btw, have tagged you. Please take it up if interested :)


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