I'm still in dream-time. No work, not yet, but those ACLS and ATLS textbooks are downstairs on my coffee table, staring up through the ceiling into my bedroom with blank accusing looks. I can hear the damned things mutter at me every time I walk by.
"Hey smart-ass," they say snidely, "what - you think you're gonna cram all this shit the night before the course starts?"
The answer, actually, is no. I'll have a look at one of 'em tomorrow. Really. I hope...
Hey, I know how to handle nagging sanctimonious books - my Emergency Medicine text has been bleating at me for weeks, but have I succumbed? Nay, not me; for I am Righteous and True of Heart. "Take that," I tell it as I crank the Miles Davis quintet a notch higher and reach for a beer. I'm gonna be awash in the stuff (medicine, not beer, dammit) very soon indeed, so I figure I'll squeeze every ounce that I can out of my rapidly shrinking vacation.
I'm in the process on trying to find out if Planned Parenthood really doesn't want me to work for them on account of my Y-chromosome, or if I had the misfortune of speaking on the phone with someone who doesn't have much of a clue.
"Do you mean that you'd actually want to see patients?"
Thinking, "Golly, no. what would a doctor wanna do that for? What I'd really like to do is filing," I said, "Ah - yeah; that's sorta what I had in mind."
"Oh... Well, all of our doctors are women. You'd probably have to work under their supervision." -Delivered in a tentative tone, as if expecting that I'd find the notion repugnant.
"I most certainly hope so. As I've already explained, I'm only an intern. I need supervision.
"Yes, but you see, I don't think any of our patients would be willing to let a male observe."
"Um - observation isn't what I was thinking. I've gone to lengths to get a fair bit of experience in ambulatory gyn. I can handle a lot of the basic stuff without any trouble at all."
"Well maybe you'd like to come visit and see what we're all about. You might have a better idea if you're still interested after that."
"I know what you're about. I spent many hours observing and helping out at one of your clinics in another state about a year ago. I could even get the folks there to send you a letter, if you want."
"But I just don't think any of our patients would be willing to let a male physician see them. I guess we could maybe try to schedule you some clinic hours, but I think you'd end up sitting here doing nothing. No one will see you."
It was about here that incredulity set in.
In the month that I worked at the Ambulatory Gyn clinic in medical school, I picked up charts for two patients who asked specifically not to be examined by a male: one on religious grounds, and one simply because she thought she'd be less uncomfortable with a woman. Fair enough - the charts went back in the slot, and I moved on to the next room. That's two out of the roughly seventy-five that I picked up. Not that I begrudge preferences like that, I don't. But even if half of the patients prefer a woman examiner, there should still be some work for me.
"It sounds an awful lot like you're trying to tell me that you don't want me to work for you."
"Oh no, I'm not saying that at all..."
The whole thing ended with a promise that they'd get back to me after doing some insurance research on their end. That was about two weeks ago. I'm still looking into it though, on the suggestion of a friend who assures me that there must have been some miscommunication.
I dunno, maybe there's a free clinic here that treats homeless folks, or people who can't afford to see a doc or something like that which won't try to turn away a volunteer physician 'cause he's male.
You're thinking to yourself, he sounds a bit cynical about the whole thing. You're right: sorta cynical and utterly dumbfounded.
Work starts (nominally) a week from tomorrow. I say nominally 'cause my first week consists mostly of those ACLS and ATLS (Advanced Cardiac/Trauma Life Support) courses I mentioned. They're two days each, and then I get a day of orientation, so I don't really start work until the first of July. Heh - more to the point, I don't go on payroll until then.
Alright, enough of this. I'll see y'all in about a week or so.
Take care -
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