Archive for July 17, 2020

Are cops nocturnal? [Observations of a non-African American black girl]

DISCLAIMER:  Despite its title, this post is not about racist cops and other predators.

First, a background: I work in the medical field. With patients, and patient’s families. Care-takers. People of all ages. Mostly men. Mostly white. Most of them straight.

And this is how a typical visit of a typical day goes. I go to the lobby, call patients’ first name. Introduce myself: get asked to spell it or told I have a pretty name. I take the patient into a small room with a scale where I ask them to step on it while they answered [demography] questions such as last name/date of birth/height/what they would like to be referred to as [“You can call me anything, just not late for dinner”, HaHa]. Then I walk them to an exam room. There I would take the Doctor’s chair, while the patient sits across from me, and ask a few more questions. What, in the profession, are called “vital signs”: reason for visit/accompanying pain/any hospital stay in the last month, allergy/medication change, name of Primary Care Physician/pharmacy, any other concern they want their provider [my doctor] to address – what is called a “secondary” complaint, i.e. reason, for the visit.

That, at least, is how the “rooming” process ought to go. But it doesn’t. In my attempt to make them feel comfortable and at home, I usually start by asking how their drive here was, I comment on the horribleness of parking in Seattle, mention how I heard there was a big line at the check-in counter downstairs.

They, in their turn, ask where I am [originally] from, how long I have lived in America, if English is the working-language in my country [so how come I speak it so well after such a short stay here?]. There would be compliments galore: on my “beautiful” accent, on my warm smile, on my cute face [my freckles, my “botton nose”, my hair do].

If we have more time, and when we sometimes don’t, they ask how I found America. How I found the medical profession. How I feel about the current political environment.

They do not do this only for educational purposes. Most, if not all, do it because America has become tribal and people feel the need to choose sides wherever they go. Show where they were and where they ain’t. Where you belong in the political divide doesn’t affect the type of health care you get. At least it should not. But maybe, deep down, people think it does. So they reveal who they are. Which side they belong to. What they stand for. Or aren’t/don’t. Most come from a place of benign fear. Others come from a place of [toxic] anger. “Your care be damned,” they seem to say, “This is my country. I do not like the fact that you are in it. Can’t very well help that. So you are going to take what I have to give you”.

The liberals, mostly from Seattle or from snazzy places where they can afford to be tolerant despite the drastic changes happening around them [Redmond/Woodinville/Bellingham], would start with how much they hate Donald Trump/Republicans/the latest supreme court nominee. Or answer “every time the jackass in the White House opens his mouth”, when I ask if they were experiencing any pain. In an attempt to win my approval and goodwill, they try to show me they were what my boyfriend calls “one of the good ones”. How Obama was the best president America ever had, by far. That they do believe Christine Blasey Ford: “the woman has nothing to gain by telling the truth”. It is sunny because global warming is fucking the planet in the ass. Have I read this and that book by this or that author? If not, I should. It shows how segregated my beloved Seattle used to be until very recently. [So I should not be in a hurry to fawn over it].

But more often than not, and because most of our patients are on the older and whiter side [Urology is not a young man’s game – except when it comes to Erectile Dysfunction. Young East Indian men take the lion’s share when it comes to not being able to get it up], the patient would try to prove he does not care to be one of the “good ones”. By saying, for example, how he almost cancelled his appointment due to “the stupidity” at downtown [the protest]. How “Instead of investigating a millionaire who became a politician, they should investigate a politician who became a millionaire”. Or complain how the city has become barely recognizable, thanks to Amazon and these “techies”; how I should consider myself lucky that I wasn’t in Europe – there they have all these parts where black people aren’t even allowed into and/or ghettos where no one is safe at. Etc. etc.

There are, of course, the in-betweeners. (more…)

July 17, 2020 at 5:21 pm Leave a comment


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The blogger tries to think outside the box, or wonder why she sometimes can't.

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"I will speak for you, Father. I speak for all mediocrities in the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint." - Antonio Salieri, from the movie "Amadeus"

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