07 July 2008

Five Stories of Sex

I have here a collection of 5 anecdotes relating to gender issues and medicine. Some are funny, some are poignant, some are controversial, and some don't even have a point. My only goal is to make you see things from a different perspective: Being a male physician has its own set of pitfalls.

1. When I was in my last year of college, many of the girls of my batch were worried because of the impending release of the list of people who had been accepted in the University of the Philippines College of Medicine. There's so many factors for this, but the primary reason is that the GWA curve is skewed to the right, and Biology students are not particularly known for high GWAs. They were afraid of being cut off simply because they had a more difficult course to begin with. I was listening to a classmate, a renowned worry-wart, when she asked me, "Well, aren't you afraid of not getting in?" She stops herself and says, "Oh, wait-- of course not." I thought she was going to say that I didn't have any academic issues, but she finished her statement with a look of such disdain-- "You're a GUY." Hah, people who put themselves on pedestals, that teaches me. Disgusted by the whole show, it was my turn to tell one of my friends, "Pustahan tayo, kahit may p*ke ako, makakapasok pa rin ako." (Translated: Let's wager, even if I had a vulva, I'd still get in.) It wasn't like me to get so angry or to be so vulgar (notice the self-censorship?), but what can I say, I had never been so insulted before (that has since changed, of course). Well, it was just a joke to make light of my disbelief. To this day, my friends love that soundbite of mine and forever associate me with the phrase "kahit may p*ke ako..." Emphasis on the second to the last word.

2. During our rotation in Obstetrics, I prided myself on never losing my temper with a patient, except once (what I shouted was (translated), "Stop staring at me, your baby's coming out!" Take a guess what was happening). Anyway, there was a particular gynecological patient whom none of my blockmates wanted to touch. Each time they looked at her, they would get annoyed, might I say they even looked like they were seething. Apparently she gave them hell each time they touched her, to do blood works and even take her blood pressure. Since I was the only one she hadn't yet annoyed, I sucked it up and it was my turn to be responsible for her. Strangely, she was all sweetness and light, purring in a weak, kindly voice, and always thanking me. I turned to my blockmates and asked, "What the hell are you talking about? She's so nice!" It'll forever remain a mystery if it was because I was me or because I am male, but she never wondered why no other intern ever touched her again.

3. When I first wanted to be a physician (I was very young), I wanted to be a pediatrician. There was vehement protesting from-- you guessed it-- my dad. He wasn't angry, but he always maintained that pediatrics is not a man's specialty. His justification was that women have a maternal instinct to which children respond well. But I could always read between his lines (though I am not going to mention what I thought, because he never said it and I don't want to put words in his mouth). There was even a time when I sought middle ground by aspiring to be a pediatric surgeon. I teased my dad that he's so old-fashioned, especially as I knew several gifted male pediatricians, and it's not even an issue to many people. I thought I related to children extremely well. Today my goal lies in internal (adult) medicine. Seeing young children struggle with their emotions-- whether they be frightened, brave, hopeful, angry, hurt, confused, or resigned-- it was all too emotionally taxing. Especially if they're crying but still trying to be brave, Lordy. I still don't know if a man or a woman makes a better pediatrician (can we just settle on equality? Ha ha), but I do know it takes a hell of a lot of guts.

4. One night shortly after the new year has begun and the new crop of surgery residents have settled, the department (at least the residents plus very few consultants) have this huge blowout where they drink beer (plus...?). I was on duty the night it happened, and one of the residents, a huge guy, came crashing in the dressing room of the operating room complex, absolutely smashed, and passed out on the floor that was littered with smelly shoes and cigarette butts. Shit. After making sure he was alive and seeing that at least a few of his friends knew where he was, I just let him sleep on the dressing room floor. Now, who says that surgery is a boys' club?!

5. I was one of only two male interns in our group of ten. I was in a small discussion group with four of my gorgeous blockmates with a preceptor-consultant. After every two sentences on his lecture, he'd ask a personal (harmless) question to each of my lovely ladies, like what high school they were from. My eyes rolled so far back so many times I must have looked like I was seizing (thank goodness he was so dense or I was so invisible to him that he never noticed). Needless to say, he barely knew I was there. At one point, since we were huddled so close together in his office looking at fine details of tiny pictures, he put his hand on the knee of one of my groupmates. "Oh my GOD!" I whispered to my other groupmate. "He just put his hand on her knee!" She was wearing trousers, but still. Not one other person noticed, including the touch-ee herself. "Well, this guy is clearly a maniac. I don't even exist to him!" Noticing that he might have been looking like too much of a lech, he nonchalantly threw me the question of where I went to high school. Bingo, it was his son's high school and he was fervently following the high school basketball championships. After that, the girls became invisible to him. My friends were all, "You were saying?" On a positive note, they were more conscientious of proper interaction after that. And on a bite-me-in-the-ass note, they always noticed when a female resident was getting chummier with me than with them.

This is my entry to The Blog Rounds 15th Edition: Sex and the Clinics

8 comments:

gkbloodsugar said...

HAH! That was awesome! Why haven't you done this before? I could read these all night.

LyB said...

I agree with Graeme, these were so very interesting.

Passionate baker...& beyond said...

Am just about beginning to read the post Mangyy...but had to first comment & say I didnt know you were here too. Off to read your anecdotes before I crash out...have had a LONG day!! Cheers Doc

Passionate baker...& beyond said...

Ye gads Manggy. Here's my side of the coin when I was due to deliver. I got plenty looks for really long from the Doc to say...'hang on in there, it aint coming yet...another 3 hours at least'! Hello...I was so p....d off, I gave a mighty push, out popped the son & they ran like no one's ever run before!! The hub almost passed out!! I LOVED reading the anecdotes...they are insanely funny...knees & all! Ciao Doc

Got meloinks? said...

hahaha. i must agree. very very interesting stories.

J.A. said...

I think the maniac consultant story has several versions.... Sometimes I'm so thankful that I am not drop-dead-gorgeous so I never have to receive that sort of unwanted attention. Kakainis talaga!
And the drunk resident story seems like a replay of what happened in my first day of duty when I found my senior resident sleeping on his vomit with a hang-over when I arrived. Na-sobrahan ng tama on New Year's Eve. And to think he's sort of obsessive-cumpulsive... Hiyang-hiya siya sa akin. :)
Same old stories, I guess...

Allen said...

Huh, another blog? Are there any other blogs I should know about? :-)

Sonia said...

horrible consultant. You're funny. :-)