I was growling.
Stacks of papers desecrated my desk.
The EMR was giving me trouble.
I began to curse
There was a flash of lightening…
In my cute little office with its fake Victorian lamp
And adorable trinkets
Sitting at my charming, country style desk with imitation wormholes….
A strange man stood before me, dressed in flowing robes.
He gazed at me with great kindness before he spoke.
“Do not be frightened, my follower.”
Follower? I thought. Ye Gads. Who the heck is this guy?
“I have been hearing your distress and that of your brothers and sisters,” he continued.
I began to worry. What was in the odd-tasting chocolate a patient brought from Costa Rica?
I rubbed my eyes, smearing my mascara.
“Who are you?”
“I am the Father of Medicine,” he said as he proudly arranged his robes. “I am Hippocrates, born in cos, near the temple of Asclepius.”
I clutched my head and slammed it down on my desk. It had to be the chocolate.
“I don’t know what is wrong with the physicians of today, my progeny. I have traveled all over Greece and never met such a grouping of disorganized healers as are those of you.”
How, on earth, could I explain what had happened. I just wanted to be a doctor.
He seemed to grow taller, his robes more abundant and whiter, as I tried to answer him.
I gathered what thoughts I had, sobbed a little, tried to rise from my chair, when there was another bolt!
I blinked and a somewhat younger figure appeared.
His elegant hand waved me to sit down, as he said, “Sit, my child. I am a modern physician.”
He glanced at Hippocrates as he said, ““I, Maimonides, was born in 1135. I am by far the younger and more contemporary. I have heard your crying and moaning and that of your brothers and sisters.”
I knew this had to be a hallucination.
I stuttered, “Things are really bad. We have rules and regulations and the government…”
Maimonides scowled, “What is wrong with you? I had to struggle and was persecuted for my own views, which were contrary to current Medical teaching? Why are you unable to do the same with your persecutors?”
“Things are different today,” I continued to stammer
“Really?” Questioned Hippocrates. “My brother, Maimonides, faced death for his differing views and for being a Jew.
“And it was not much better for Hippocrates, for he had to tear medicine away from priestly practices and to observe…not an easy task then,” said Maimonides.
They glared at me, as I simpered.
Then they walked off, arm in arm, muttering such things as, “Throw off your yokes. Declare yourselves independent…”
Can enough of us really do that?
They certainly had their own fights… to be allowed to practice the best medicine they could…
Are we wimps?
I think I just heard some snorts off in the distance… from on high.
Doctor Curmudgeon® (Diane Batshaw Eisman, M.D. FAAFP) is a physician-satirist. This column originally appeared on SERMO, the leading global social network for doctors – the virtual doctors’ lounge and the home of medical crowdsourcing.
Bitter Medicine: A Doctor’s Year in Viet Nam
by Eugene H. Eisman
These are true stories gleaned from the author’s experience as a physician in Vietnam. It is a mixture of humor and pathos.