Another week, another opportunity for Sally Sampson to bitch. This time, she can't fathom the way men avoid medicine, a worrying thought as her father gets older.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau was an incredible man. If you don’t know who he was, he was an eighteenth century philosopher, composer, writer and great thinker. In fact, many of his philosophies helped influence the French Revolution… but I recently read a quote of his that made me want to piss on his grave:
“A feeble body makes a feeble mind. I do not know what doctors cure us of, but I know this: they infect us with very deadly diseases, cowardice, timidity, credulity, the fear of death. What matter if they make the dead walk, we have no need of corpses; they fail to give us men, and it is men we need.”
Now as lovely and poetic as that sounds…to me, he just sounds like a typical man that fucking hates going to the doctor. And that shit pisses me off because on any given day, this following conversation is what you might hear going on between myself and my father.
ME: “Dad, what’s wrong? You look upset?”
DAD: “No, I’m not upset. “
ME: “No, Dad! Something is clearly wrong! What’s going on?”
DAD: “I’ve been coughing up blood, but I’m sure it’s nothing…!”
ME: “Well maybe you should go to a doctor. It’s been ages since you’ve had even a check-up and you’re not getting younger! You need to start taking care of yourself!”
DAD: “There are no good doctors in Egypt! Besides I know what my problem is…”
ME: “Dad, you can’t self-diagnose yourself! You need to go get checked out and see what the hell is going on!”
DAD: “If I go to a hospital, I will die!”
ME: “Dad, no you won’t! Stop stepping on my turf and being such a fucking drama queen! Will you please go to the doctor?”
ME: “I’ll stop talking to you, you know! I’m going to get mad at you!”
DAD: “A7san! Now, get out of my room!”
ME: “I fucking hate men!”
I love my dad, but he knows how to drive me MENTAL sometimes! I always talk about how my mother drives me crazy, but truth is, at times, my father can really give her a run for her money. My dad, bless his heart, like many, many, MANY men, loathes doctors, hospitals and pretty much everything about the medical profession. It’s nothing personal. In fact, I don’t think anyone particularly likes hospitals anyway with their fluorescent lighting and that nauseatingly bacteria-free Dettol scent which seems to emanate from absolutely fucking everything, even the pens that they make you sign in with.
And as much as we all wish that our medical experiences could be like another episode of Grey’s Anatomy with hot doctor McDreamy, making all the pain go away by smiling at you and making you spontaneously orgasm, if you’ve ever been to a clinic/hospital, you know this is not the case. So I get it…I understand why someone may strongly dislike or even hate doctors.
But the way my father flat out refuses to go to a doctor, even though he’s over 60, quite bluntly scares the shit out of me. And it doesn’t matter if he has a headache or a metal rod impaled right through his kidney, he always has the same response “It’ll get better by itself”…to which I can only say one thing…A7A!
It doesn’t help that my mother actually thinks she’s the long-lost child of Magdi Yacoub and Meredith Grey. My mother is what I consider to be an expert bullshit diagnostician. She always knows what the problem is just by looking at you and she’s always ready to write you a prescription! Now, my mom is not completely oblivious…she is a dentist, so she has had some form of medical training, but that sure as hell doesn’t stop her from taking the time to tell you whether or not your ovaries are functioning properly or if indeed you may be suffering from an undiagnosed form of hepatitis. My mother is an encyclopaedia of good intentioned horseshit, in that respect.
So combine that with my father not wanting to go to a doctor anyway and what you have is the ideal couple for Dr. House to bitch-slap. And I know this may be hard to believe, but I really don’t mean that disrespectfully. I genuinely believe that House may be the only one left in the world who might be able to get through to them.
In all honesty, I’d do anything for my father (and my mother, of course, if she could take a break from prescribing antibiotics for paper-cuts) to start taking care of themselves, because it’s terrifying how, for a while now, I’ve been able to see how age has started to take its toll on my parents.
As a child, I, like most kids, thought my parents were infallible, unbreakable, indestructible…they had all the answers, they could do no wrong and they were fucking immortal! I didn’t believe that there was any illness or any hardship that could truly break them. And the curse of growing up myself is that that veil over my eyes has fallen and I now see that they are no more than just good ol’ fashioned fallible, breakable, destructible, mortal humans…who just happen to be as stubborn as Joan Rivers being talked out of another facelift.
So, I’m not going to be politically correct about it just because my father is afraid that by going in to have a consult on his blood pressure, the doctor may inadvertently and quite casually castrate him.
My father pertains to Edward E. Rosenbaum’s saying “Doctors are great-as long as you don’t need them,” but my question is what happens when you do need them and you insist that you don’t?
I don’t have any answers. Just a fuck-load of frustration…and I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I can’t actually force my parents to do anything that they don’t want to do and that includes going to the doctor.
But great men of history, like Rousseau, making it sound like the medical profession is completely hindering the progress of humanity can go fuck themselves! Because FYI, Rousseau himself died at the age of 66 after haemorrhaging whilst casually strolling about, and to top it off, he himself struggled with his mental health over the years. So maybe, just maybe, he shouldn’t be seen as an authority on this particular issue…
Avoiding doctors like they are a secret society that is out to infect you is not glamorous, it’s not noble…it’s just plain fucking stupid. I’m not saying we should trust every diagnosis and every doctor to cross our path, but we do need to be smart about our well-being.
So Rousseau, thanks for the French Revolution and all the great operas and all, but screw you (and rest in peace!).