I’ve had my first (and last) consultation with a general surgeon today, and returned home with a slightly diminished level of respect for the medical profession (and zilch respect for surgeons in general) and a mind that is still boggling at the ridiculousness of the whole situation.
If you’ve been following my Twitter updates during the past few hours, you’ll understand why I am so miffed.
My impression of him was mediocre at best during the first few minutes of my consultation. He wasn’t very personable, and basically treated the patient (me) like “just another object he has to deal with in his line of work.”
That impression went on a further downward spiral when he snapped at me later during the consultation.
“Don’t you question me! Just do what I tell you to do” was his abrupt, arrogant response, when I asked him about my physio treatment and what it was for, and how he came up with his eventual prognosis.
“Excuse me? I am the patient. I have every right to question you on what you are going to do and the rationale behind any treatment I need,” I retorted in response.
I am paying YOU for your time. Additionally, it is MY treatment and MY body that it affects. I have every right to know what is going on. It is a basic right, a given entitlement to any patient.
Is it so difficult for you to open your mouth to explain, given your experience and standing in your profession? Also considering that I am paying you a hundred buckeroos for a 20-minute long consultation?
It doesn’t just end at his lack of emotional quotient.
Unfortunately for me, Mister Surgeon happened to be a preachy religion advocate too.
For the record, I have absolutely nothing against religious people. I respect them for their beliefs and in return, they respect me for mine. However, I have zero tolerance towards those who don’t.
Towards the end of the consultation – just as I was about to leave – Mister Surgeon told me that “I should start praying more.”
“I don’t pray,” I informed him. (For the record, I am agnostic.)
That was when he turned to my mother and asked what religion we were. Mum informed him that my family members are free-thinkers while I am an agnostic. In response, Mister Surgeon began to tut.
“Ah, no wonder! You’re not praying at all! That’s why you are sick all the time and not recovering!” says he, visibly showing his displeasure.
My patience snapped.
“Excuse me? YOU have YOUR beliefs and I have MINE. I have the prerogative to choose what I want or do not want to believe in, and you do not impose your beliefs on others.”
The consultation ended on that note.
However, my encounter with Mister Surgeon didn’t end there.
A few minutes later, mum and I returned to the clinic as she wanted to ask the nurse some questions. Mister Surgeon happened to be at the waiting room at the time and approached me when he saw me.
“Let’s leave your mum and my nurse to talk. You don’t need to listen to them. Let’s go outside,” says he.
I was immediately on guard.
“Why?” I asked. “They are talking about my medical situation. I can stay around and listen in if I want to.”
“Let’s go to the lift area. I want to talk to you spiritually,” says he. I didn’t respond. I simply glared at him.
“Well you see, God is asking me to talk to you,” he continues.
I continued glaring, still not responding. If he is so dense to the point of being unable to grasp the fact that I am not fucking interested and that people are able to live fulfilling lives without having to believe in some supernatural power, I am not going to dignify him with a response.
Mister Surgeon eventually threw his hands into the air and momentarily exeunted. However, he returned to the scene a coupla’ minutes later with the following conclusion – “I shouldn’t try to push God to you. You will end up becoming very angry with God. But I just know that in the future, one day – you WILL go to God!”
Very nice try at self-convincing, Mister Surgeon. But sorry, you are still in denial of the fact that people do not need to have a religion to be happy.
And what’s with all that hogwash about “being angry with God”? If there is a God, I doubt there will be anything wrong with him. There are those who fervently subscribe to their religions, knowing exactly what it entails. But deluded followers like you, Mister Surgeon, is WHAT’S WRONG.
Attributing my (lack of) religion as a reason to why my health is deteriorating when YOU are a medical specialist?! Oh, come on. You have more than 50 years in the medical field. What is your excuse for coming up with something as baseless and insensitive as that?
That is honestly, stepping over the line, not to mention the height of unprofessionalism. In fact, this goes against the Code of Medical Ethics.
A physician shall treat patients as equals and not allow race, religion, political views or social status to have any effect on his actions towards them.
As a surgeon, specialist or any kind of medical doctor, thou shall respect thy patients’ right to choice, as well as their personal space and privacy. The relationship is to be maintained strictly at a professional level so as to avoid any conflicts of interest.
Introducing elements such as religion into the picture – especially Mister Surgeon’s pushy attempts at imposing his religion upon yours’ truly (despite my attempts at refusal) – is quite obviously, out of self-interest and basically shatters what’s remaining of the trust and mutual respect in the relationship.
In fact – based on feedback from my followers on Twitter and comments on my Facebook Profile – I have a substantial enough case to lodge a report with the hospital administration, which I won’t because I just can’t be arsed to.
I don’t care if you gained your medical degree in 1966 (with more than 40 years of experience under your belt). I don’t give a fuck if you have been accepted as a fellowship for some Surgeon’s society in 1970 (which is still, way before I was born). With EQ like that, you shouldn’t even become a doctor to begin with, let alone a surgeon.
I’m never stepping into your clinic again, that is for sure. You do not have my respect and my trust, and you never will. You may be educationally qualified but you’re scum in my eyes, as far as today goes.
How I wish I’ve gotten over the initial shock at the situation so I could have better articulated to Mister Surgeon exactly what I thought of him on the spot, and my distaste towards his actions.
There’s a really sweet lady who lives next door. Quite young too. She’s a property lawyer, if I recall correctly and rarely do I see her at home. (In fact, I rarely see her at all, because she travels pretty often.)
Needless to say, I was startled when mum opened the front door while we were on our way out a day ago … only to find the neighbour seated outside her unit, reading the newspapers.
I was startled for two reasons.
Reason number one being, the queerness of the situation. The last few times I’ve met her, she was usually in power suits, looking all poised as she makes her way to (or from) her car. Whereas here she is, slumped in front of her door, newspapers in hand with no power suit.
Apparently, one of her family members had taken her usual set of keys, leaving her with another incomplete set. As such, she was only able to unlock her main door but not her gate. The main door was slightly ajar, with Lady Gaga’s music emanating from within – possibly her only other source of entertainment apart from the newspapers she was reading.
Ah well, I am not in any position to laugh because likewise, I’ve been locked out of my home before … albeit five years ago. A much worse situation than her’s too, I imagine – because it was a cold day, I was running a high fever and still had to wait slightly more than an hour for someone to arrive home and let me into the damn house.
Reason number two as to why I was startled?
I was in midst of a very bad rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (The Indian Version) as I was making my way to the front door earlier and even while mum was opening the door. (For the record – if you hadn’t known already – I break into strange songs when I deem the coast clear … or so I thought.)
As such, my eyes grew wide and my voice trailed off when I spotted the neighbour. My rendition of the ridiculously bad song (yes, complete with my faux Indian accent) was most definitely audible from where she was.
Thankfully, she said nothing about the singing and simply greeted us in her usual cheerful manner. (Although she was looking at me a little strangely. Then again, it could also be just my imagination.)
Thankfully, I regained my composure fast enough to attempt inviting her into our home to wait – although methinks mum did most of the talking. (I was still … pretty speechless.)
It is going to be hard to ever behave normally again the next time I meet her.
When my aunt, uncle and younger cousin returned to Singapore (from Vancouver, where the younger cousin was furthering his studies) for a visit a couple of weeks back, they brought with them a horde of goodies.
Sweets, biscuits, jellybeans and whatnot.
I am not really a sweets person, though I rummaged through the bags and bags of goodies out of curiosity. The aunt said I could take anything I wanted since the goodies were for all of is, but I still felt a little bad taking too much.
I ended up nomming on a few jellybeans, and chanced upon this really delicious milk candy (in a red wrapper) which I really liked. I ended up pocketing five of them, much to the delight of the aunt who kept beckoning me to take more.
I refused, informing her that I would be content with just five. After all, she had a huge packet available and I can always help myself to more in the future if I still wanted ’em.
The five pieces of milk candy I’ve pocketed were gone in a matter of two days, and I’ve been having a mad craving for them ever since.
A couple of days ago, I popped by my grandmother’s place (where they were staying at during their visit here) and dug around for more milk candy. Grandma and mum tried to assist but because they weren’t very good with recognizing brands, they could only work with the miserable description of “the small candy with the red wrapper”.
We dug about in the refrigerator, in plastic bags and in the various jars stored all over the living room. The search proved futile.
My cousin walked out at that juncture and we pounced on him, asking where the candy was.
“The milk candy?” he grinned at me. “The one with the red wrapper?”
“YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS!” I screeched.
“Oh, no more!” says he.
I shot him a questioning look, and he rubbed his belly in response.
Damn. The younger cousin had wolfed down the entire supply of milk candy. The only milk candy I can now find in the house are traces of it in his pee or poop. Oh em gee.
Hmph. If I had known earlier, I should have just accepted my aunt’s invitation to ‘grab more’ and pocket at least half the original supply.
To Malaysia for three days with the extended family tomorrow. And yes, the glutton is going. But he’s a really lovable glutton, even though he polished off the entire milk candy supply.
So there. (;