Sunday, November 07, 2010

He's a Doctor!

"Doctors are men who prescribe medicines of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less, in human beings of whom they know nothing." VOLTAIRE

Something as simple and common as the common cold could turn into   bronchitis if you picked the wrong medicine at the pharmacy. Despite the above quote, saving time and money by treating yourself is not always better than helping the GP pay for his rent.

Now that’s out of the way, let me grouch about some of the fine doctors I’ve come across.

First, the good docs. My family went to Dr. A for several years. In fact, we stopped only because he had moved across the South China Sea. He was good, kind, patient and even saw the sick kids at his house.

Dr. B was on a slightly lower rung. He, too, saw us at his house but the warmth was missing. Patients just meant business. Ten patients to pay for the monthly house installments; twenty patients for the cars; fifteen for the maid… You get the picture.

Dr. C was nice if you followed his instructions to the letter. I made the unforgivable mistake of discarding the steroid tablets--when my skin rashes dried up--instead of finishing the course. He was having a foul day when I went for my review for he almost blew his top. “Why did you stop taking the pills? Do you know that you need to taper off the medication instead of stopping suddenly? Blahblahblah!”

“How was I to know? You hadn’t told me! Had I known, do you think I’d risk having a heart attack?” But of course I didn’t say this to the good man for fear the smoke escaping from his nostrils would burst into flames. Then I’d be accused of arson and would forever be remembered for the wrong reasons.

Someone I knew, however, interrupted Dr. C in the middle of his rant! “Doctor!” she growled back. “I came here to get medical treatment, not to be scolded!” The doctor was too stunned to continue. Maybe that was the first time a patient had dared to tell him off!

My son was in kindergarten when I took him to Dr. D. He had had his fair share of childhood illnesses but never before looked like a newly re-potted plant left under the  afternoon sun – all droopy and dried up. So for the very first time, I took him to the hospital. Someone had told me that this Dr. D was the best pediatrician in the whole of Borneo.

There were two docs in the room (instead of one) with their own set of little patients plus their parents.  I had to keep my elbows close to my body so I wouldn’t stick them into someone’s open mouth.  Needless to say, both docs were in hurry to see as many kids as possible within the shortest time possible.

Dr. D shot questions at me while writing furiously on flimsy sheets of paper… until I provoked him with a question about virus and bacteria and febrile seizures. Then, and only then, he lifted his face to frown at me. Ooops, he wasn't too pleased with the interruption. I couldn’t help feeling that maybe this doctor saw his patients as faceless specimens; not even half as interesting as the endangered orangutans of Borneo. Or perhaps he was just over-worked and under-paid.

It was after dark when we went to Dr. E’s clinic. The nurse said he had gone for a walk but would be back soon. He returned with a pair of ferocious-looking bodyguards, a necessity perhaps, since there had been a spate of night-time robberies at many clinics in town. He led the all-in-black bodyguards into a room and shut the door firmly behind them. Lucky, I remembered to pick my jaw off the floor before going into his consultation room. You’d have been awed, too, if you had seen those drooling Dobermans straining at their leashes.

I first met Dr. F when he was attached to the hospital and I continued to see him when he opened his own practice. I assumed that he could treat allergies so I paid him a visit when I had a horrible allergic reaction caused, no doubt, by my eating a certain type of  kerapu. Ulcers sprouted on my limbs but most of the allergens probably found their way to my ears because they ballooned and couldn’t sit nicely against my skull. Instead, they stuck out of my head almost at right angles! I looked like Mickey Mouse except I wasn’t cute. In fact, I was the hideous ‘before photo’ of a cosmetic surgery commercial for an ear reduction procedure.

I told Dr. F my problem, and my suspicion regarding the kerapu. “What shampoo do you use?” was the only question he asked. And he had made his diagnosis: the shampoo was the cause of my unbearably painful, swollen outer ears; my ears had scores of ulcers—each one oozing yellowish goo—all because of the shampoo.

Never mind if I hadn’t changed my shampoo in several months.

We were out of town when my son felt feverish which meant a visit to Dr. G. He examined my sick boy, prescribed some medication and started asking lots of unnecessary, personal questions. Perhaps life was slow and quiet in this sleepy, little place and any out-of-towner was fair game for chatting up. Sorry Doc… wrong number!

Dear reader, I hope you’ve smiled at least once! Let me end with a quote by the lovable Walter Matthau: "My doctor gave me six months to live, but when I couldn’t pay the bill he gave me six months more."

Pictures from Google Images


  1. Hi Tina, very interesting posting.
    I have a phobia with doctors and nurses, not to mention dentists too.
    When a bachelor and dating women, the moment I learn she is a nurse or doctor, it would be the last date, ha ha.

    I enjoyed reading your this posting. Thank you for the smiles.
    You have a pleasant week and keep a song in your heart, best regards, Lee.

  2. Hi Uncle Lee!
    Thanks for dropping by. Glad you enjoyed my doctor 'story'.
    You have a wonderful week, too!

  3. Hi Tina...great entry!

    Doctors! I've had a number of experience with Type D and F. No PR whatsoever. A visit to the doctor is like an interview session now. *sigh*

  4. Hi, more on doctors:

    Circa January 2002. Old SMC, Likas.

    This time I came alone. And I came in a very belligerent mood. I wanted to challenge the doctor alone. I wanted to shamed him into doing his most aggressive medicine-fu without her being present.

    ME: Doc, could the white spots [on the x-ray pics] on her liver be anything else?

    DOCTOR (Resident Oncologist @ SMC] : It not impossible but with her history, I don't think so. The cancer has spread to her liver.

    ME: Can you give her more chemo?

    DOCTOR: I could but her body is so weak she can't stand chemo anymore.

    His eyes misted over. My tears were rolling hot down both my cheeks.

    ME: Is there anything else? Can you do surgery?

    DOCTOR: There's nothing I can do for her anymore. If there is anything you want to do, she wants to do, any treatment, go ahead.

    10 months later, I came to see the same doctor bringing a flower bouquet.

    ME: I come to say thank you. Thank you for all your help...

    DOCTOR: I am sorry for your loss.

    He look at me with his forever-forlorn eyes (which I think always jarred with his always severe haircut).

    ME: How do you handle this job doctor? I mean,you lose most of your patients...most of them die.

    DOCTOR: You know, you two have become friends to me...It's bad, sometimes very bad...but I am still here.

    No wonder, he is a smoker-doctor. His name is Jaswant Singh. And, I hope he is still in SMC.

  5. part of the reason why I don't like going to doctors...huhuhuhuuhuh... =(

  6. Hi all:
    Thanks for visiting.
    Lizee, some docs need to take PR courses!
    Rayner, thanks for sharing. Dr. Singh sounds nice.
    Angel, I feel the same way. Lucky I don't have to see them often!