Monday, February 15, 2010

White Coat

It's the strangest thing. The white coat has power. It gives entrance to the most private parts of peoples' lives. Someone you've never met lets you look inside their ears, listen to their heartbeat, take off their clothes and touch them. It's a weird amount of power. I think I notice it so much because I feel so wholly unworthy of it.

When I'm in the exam room I am not a person, a woman, a wife, a daughter...I am a doctor. When I greeted a teenage boy patient...I have never been looked at so utilitarianly in my life. It was as though I was the most uninteresting thing in the world. I wasn't a girl, I was a doctor.

I think it says something about how we rationalize the gross invasion of privacy. I go to the doctor, he is a man, I am a woman...about the same age. In any other circumstances him instructing me to remove my clothes, then touch, look, ask probing questions...this would be totally inappropriate. But, when it's a doctor, it's ok. Even when you're little and they teach you about stranger danger and everything...they say no one should touch your bathing suit areas, except your doctor. It's really intimate. So it's like everyone involved compensates by detaching. I, the doctor, see you as this machine that needs fixing. You, the patient, see me as the mechanic who can help you figure out this problem. So, I think it's a little weird.

1 comment:

Laurie McFarlane said...

Trina, I love hearing your process. Your insight as you examine the cadaver and his internal organs is beautiful. I believe you will make a wonderful doctor, the kind a patient will feel very safe with.