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Ostomy Memories of Doctors & Lawyers

This is the best website for people with an Ostomy. So much understanding.

ONE OF THE SAD realities of the aging process is that one gets to make the acquaintance of an ever-increasing number of physicians. The more one’s deteriorating body succumbs to the insistence of time, the more these lords of the medical profession offer you a serious posture along with their lists of prescriptions, proscriptions, and pooh bah health regimens designed to fend off the unfendable.
Then there’s another type of prima donna: lawyers. The very nature of these two professions produces people with an inflated sense of their own importance, if not infallibility. Significantly, it need be noted, as with all professions, the law and medicine are not without their gonzo practitioners who, like the humble ostrich, can trot but not fly. In law school, as in med school, there are always going to be those graduates who finished in the lower half of the class.
My former nephrologist invariably got this bemused expression on his face whenever I insisted upon participating in deciding what I would submit to and what I wouldn’t. I may not have gone to med school but I am at least as smart as he is, and it is my body upon which he was so often proposing I have various tests performed.
Doctors and lawyers share some common traits. Both are used to telling their patients/clients what to do. Both own monopolies upon their unique bailiwicks. A person can’t practice medicine without the requisite education & licensing. Likewise the lawyer, who carries the key to the courthouse.
As a patient, I recognize my limitations when it comes to knowing how to deal with what’s wrong with me. Too bad more pro se litigants don’t share that self-awareness, as they invariably blow it in court.
Of course, the main difference between lawyers & doctors is, as Anton Chekhov once said, “lawyers merely rob you, whereas doctors rob you and kill you too.”


Hello Henry. 

Thanks again for another thought-provoking post. 

Needless to say I have, on many occasions, contemplated such behaviour in many professions. My conclusions are that people who wish to bully others are attracted to professions which allow them to do so with the least chance of being exposed as bullies. Thus many of my poems mention politicians, teachers, preachers etc. However, almost all the professions (and organisations) which have recognisable qualifications and hierarchies are likely to attract these types of individuals. I have found that most of the medical professionals that I have encountered, have not tried to 'tell' me what to do, but simply shared their knowledge and experience and enabled me to make my own decisions. Nonetheless,I have encountere the odd few who wwould be inclined to be 'tellers'  as you say: "Doctors and lawyers share some common traits. Both are used to 'telling' their patients/clients what to do". On these occasions, I usually explain quite calmly, that I would prefer it if they would not to try to 'tell' me what I should or should not think or do, because I tend to have an 'adverse reaction' to that sort of 'medicine'.

As with many of the subjects raised, I have already put pen to paper to try to capture my thoughts in rhyme on this issue, so below is just one of these rhyming renditions:

Best wishes



Teachers, preachers and MP’s
appear to always ‘tell’ with ease.
To them it comes impulsively
to me it comes repulsively.

I must be one of very few
who don’t ‘tell’ people what to do.
I’d no more ‘tell’ them what to think
as I would ‘tell’ them what to drink.

For ‘telling’ is the bully’s role
and its main aim is to control.
The ‘teller’ wants to dominate
manipulate and subjugate.

‘Tellers’ often come on strong
for them, all other’s thoughts are wrong.
They think that they are always right
even though they may talk shite.

‘Tellers’ have a preference
for people showing deference.
If you don’t bow-down to their way
it may be you that has to pay.

‘Tellers’ may criticise and scoff
or may simply tell you off.
‘Tellers’ feel they have importance
thus justifying remonstrance.

The ‘teller’ is an orator
but also is a predator.
They look for people they can ‘tell’
and these become their clientele.

You could say that I’m fella
who does not want to be a ‘teller’.
But equally, you will behold
there is no-way I will be ‘told’.

                                   B. Withers 2012

(in: ‘A Rhyming Cookbook’ p62)

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One of the lessons I learned during my cancer treatment was the importance of being one's own advocate. Having now been through that process, as well as five years of cancer surveillance, I am even more convinced of the necessity of self advocacy and insistence on being an equal partner in one's own healthcare. I truly do not understand passive acceptance of what a doctor says. Henry, you are quite right: half of all doctors graduated in the bottom half of the class. While I generally found that my doctors were respectful of my position, there have been a narcissistic few who acted as if they owned my body. They are now sorry they met me, as I have learned to complain effectively to whatever organization I decide needs to hear my complaint. I am the owner and sole proprietor of my body, and as such, I am the decision maker. 

I have also learned the power of the pen. Sometimes, it isn't enough to simply address the conduct of only one doctor; sometimes the system needs to address policy. Now, I regularly participate in calls for public input when the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario reviews its policies. Sometimes, I even write to the College President if I feel strongly that a policy needs review. I have been pleasantly surprised at how effective this has been: I have been able to convince the College to review policy, and - even more surprising - they have asked for my comments on draft policy before it is finalized. The lesson here is that being vociferous can get results. I would encourage everyone to think about doing this, as it not only helps the individual, but everyone else as well. 



Hi Henry good topic and responses, my issue is with PA,S more than doc. but after my resection surgery awhile back i was dx with crohns and not UC so i saw a gastro. that recommended remicade which the ins. co. rejected was put on another med that didntwork so then itwas on to humira that really messed me up so my next visit with the gastro. i said i had enough and wasnt going to try anything else, i felt my body needed a rest to recover from the surgery and all the stuff they pump into you while in the hosp. of course the gastro didnt feel that way and wanted to try another drug but i said no but agreed to go back and be scoped the following year and we agreed to go from there, well the scoping was done from both ends and all looked good so we agreed no more drugs. 

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