Kelly Briggs writes:
This was not the best day for me to wake up in a less than gleeful mood, because my first port of call today was to see my doctor.
But first, nurse pulled me aside, weighed me, checked my height (can one grow any more at the age of 33 one wonders, because I seem to remember her doing the exact same thing last time I was at the doctors, maybe she’s checking to see if I’m shrinking, possible I guess), took my blood pressure, asked about my depression, pain level, job status.
Typed it all into the computer, in walks my doctor and off the nurse scuttles.
I have to say this. My current doctor is the best doctor I have ever had.
BUT, I was already in a bad mood, so after initial pleasantries, south was where this consult was headed, courtesy of me being in a foul mood and hating the world in general before I even set foot out of bed this morning.
We talked about my upcoming operation, I hectored him about something the surgeon had written on my referral, asked him why the surgeon didn’t tell me what it meant, because I Googled it and am pretty sure I am now going to die.
The doctor (I feel like I am slipping into Dr Who territory here, instead of calling him the doctor, let’s just refer to him as Dude from here on) told me what it meant, turns out it wasn’t what Google told me it meant, why lie, Google? What’s your agenda, anyway Google? I think your stock in trade is to convince everyone they are dying before they turn 40.
Thus my feathers a little unruffled, I asked him about the $7 GP Co-Payment. Would he be charging it? His reply was about what I expected.
He said he would follow the dictates of the surgery he currently practises at. What about poor people? He expertly dodged the question, saying he didn’t think it would get through the Senate anyway.
I asked him would he still charge me the $7 Co-Payment and Dude was like a media ninja, he didn’t know, couldn’t speculate. I asked him what he thought of Close The Gap, Dude was kinda pissed that Aboriginal people that work somehow qualify for CTG.
Dude’s credibility dropped about a hundred points in my head (start point is 1000). He doesn’t understand why Aboriginal people that work get the CTG. No amount of me sitting there explaining to him the barriers of ALL Aboriginal peoples’ mistrust of medical institutions was going to get any traction.
So I called it a day and told him about my trip to the nutritionist he referred me to. LOL. OMG. I have to write a piece about that, that was something else (note to self – do piece about nutritionist visit).
I’m 33, I’m trying to get my health right. Dude knows this. We have spoken at length about the means and ways for me to achieve my goals.
Like I said before, Dude is a good doctor, he just does what most people in well paid jobs do, classes everyone according to income. Dude has no idea about how hard it is for me to even attend the doctors, let alone nutritionists, dentists and surgeons.
And even when I was in well paying jobs, just above poverty level, I hated going to the doctors. Would leave it until I was almost dead, and then still complain about going.
I do not trust that any Dudes or doctors have my best interests at heart. I’m a name on a computer screen and that’s it, and when the Aboriginal box is ticked, I turn into a statistic.
As a child growing up I was told many stories about hospitals, how nurses treated Aboriginal patients, wouldn’t touch them, refused to bathe them. This history is real and these stories still exist to this very day.
The latest I heard was less than a year ago about nurses and their treatment of Aboriginal patients, that culminated in family of the person in hospitals going in and bathing the patient and sitting with him 24/7.
Think I’m exaggerating? Ask around.
You won’t have to ask many people before you’ll hear an account of the terrible way someone’s Aunt, Cousin, Grandfather etc was treated in hospital.
Dude also doesn’t stop to think about the fact that the vast majority of us Aboriginals will be dead at least 10 years before our low/poverty line income Non-Aboriginal counterparts. This is if not the defining factor behind CTG, then it’s one of them.
SO when Dude sits there and criticises CTG for working Aboriginals, Dude needs to learn his fucking history, both recent and well, less recent and rework his approach to class and income as he defines it. Because this country’s history when it comes to ill Aboriginals ain’t nothing to write home about.
I got my script and got the fuck out because, like I said before, I like Dude, he’s a good doctor, and the sharp end of my tongue I sheathe when I know the battle is lost even before it began.
© Kelly Briggs, 2014. This article is not available for republication without permission