When I had my medical crisis, I had some arguments with my mother about–well, many things. In this post, however, I want to focus on one thing. She has a brother who is a doctor. Maybe. even a heart doctor. He is the oldest of eight children in an Asian family. A very traditional family in which the boys are treated like rock stars and the girls are treated like shit–even by the mother (my grandmother). She had some strong internalized misogyny, which I have talked about at length before.
Anyway, my oldest uncle is self-centered, self-aggrandizing, and thinks he should get more than anyone else because he is the oldest son. When his father died, he insisted that his oldest son get a bigger portion of the pie because he was the first grandson. The daughters and granddaughters got nothing.
Same uncle, at his second son’s engagement party (which was a whole nothing thing), we all gave them money. I jokingly said I expected the same when I got engaged and this uncle said very seriously that I would no longer be part of the family, so I would not be getting anything from them. I looked at him and said that he would not be invited to the wedding, then, if we were no longer family. He had nothing to say to that.
Anyway. When I was out of the hospital, my mother told me that she had shared what happened to me with her brother. And he told her what he would have done if he were my doctor. Without seeing x-rays, or me, even. I told her I didn’t really care what ho had to say because of these reasons. She tried to say in Taiwanese culture, this was normal. Fine. Dandy, even. But I was not in Taiwanese culture and in my very American culture, someone who has not even seen me does not get to tell me what meds to take.
Then again, my mother lets her pharmacist prescribe things for her and my father without actually doing a check-up, so there’s that.
She got mad and defensive, but I didn’t care. I am not letting someone who hasn’t even examine me prescribe me anything. Oh, and he’s retired. He’s been so for a few years. So he’s not even up to date on the newest medical discoveries, but, sure. I’m going to listen to what he has to say about my heart–and not the doctors who kept me alive.
My parents have a friend who is also a doctor (and a major asshole). Apparently, he got my brother to allow him (let’s call him Bob) to see me. Bob told my brother that I was not going to recover. WHO LOOKS SILLY NOW, BOB?? I am not happy that he was allowed in, but there’s not much I can do about that. Obviously. Anyway, afterwards, when I was home, he made a ‘joke’ about people in my situation useally leaving the hospital by the back door (meaning dead), which I did not appreciate at all.
I can joke about me dying because it happened to me, but he cannot. It really is a ‘know your audience’ thing. And a ‘you are not a friend of mine’ thing. I really dislike this person. A great deal. He is insufferable. He is like the Platonic Ideal of smug cishet white man, and I have intensely disliked him since I was a kid. Funnily, I used to like his wife (Taiwanese), but during this last visit (after my medical crisis), she said several offensive things. I don’t know if she moved more towards the right or if she had always been this way, but I hadn’t realized it when I was a kid.
My brother’s new girlfriend was making comments about how the stroke I had didn’t affect the areas of the brain that control memory and spatial differentiation. Again. You are not my doctor. Granted, she was right about it in general. I had my stroke in the area of my brain that deals with motor skills. Gross I think? Maybe fine? Anyway. Not memory. But, she is not my doctor. She did not see my x-rays. She did not see my brain itself. So, while she knows in general how this works (she’s not a doctor at all, but does work with the brain), she is not my doctor.
I know this is a thing for people who deal with any kind of injury, disability, medical thing. Tons of people who want to offer advice or comments without actually knowing anything about the individual case. It’s worse when it’s people who are doctors or in those fields because they have general knowledge, which makes them think they know more than they do about your specific case.
You don’t know me. More to the point, you are not my doctor. If I have issues with what my actual doctors are doing, I will get a second opinion. Igf I had a good friend who was a heart doctor, I would be more apt to listen to them if they couched it in terms of what is to be expected in general. In fact, Ian’s dad is a doctor, and that’s what he did. His father, I mean. He told Ian that the signs weren’t good, but he wasn’t trying to tell Ian what my doctors should do about it.
To me, that’s the difference. It’s one thing to offer general advice or counsel based on what you generally know. But to state with confidence that this, that, or the other thing should be done to a specific patient whom you have never examined in a clinical setting? Nope. So not here for that. It’s such a recurring thing that there’s a meme about being told to try kale and/or yoga no matter what your problem is.
It’s actually similar to when I was in a minor car accident and my mother kept telling me about all the people she knew who got whiplash from being in a car accident. I would tell her I didn’t want to hear it, but she could not help herself, apparently. By the way, I did not get whiplash.
Hm. Come to think of it, it might just be a ‘my mother’ thing. She does not trust herself on anything and will listen to anyone who states something with authority. Throw on ‘MD’ at the end of their name, and, surely, they must be the authority on all things medical! There’.s a complicated reason for that, but I don’t want to talk about it in this post.
The bottom line is that my medical crisis was handled brilliantly by my medical test. I got my heart and brain loked at three months after my medical crisis. I walked out of the hospital a week after I woke up and needed no rehab or physical therapy. None. Zero. I. Walked. Out. On my own two feet. Well, I was wheeled to the entrance, but I got into my brother’s car on my own and into my house in the same way.
In other words, my medical team knew what they were doing. They did not need any input from anyone else, thank you very much. Nor do I. Honestly. People can keep their opinions to themselves and just let me happily live my life.