Overly-clinical doctors.

I’m wondering why it is patients don’t have more of a say in deciding their own rest/recovery period. The dentist told me she was only going to give me a one-day Medical Certificate (MC). I asked for one-more day; she offered me an excuse letter instead, saying the procedure was a “minor” one.

I understood why – it wasn’t a surgery (although I thought it was at first but I guess I confused the phases of treatment) so from a very clinical point of view, I didn’t need that much rest.

But I didn’t see the point to this flow of logic i.e. I thought it was too hard and fast a rule for it to work across the board. I’m not an office worker, so it’s different in my case. The act of excusing me from teaching still means I have to be at work, which still means I have to prepare my food, my clothes, etc. the night before, wake up early, jostle with the crowd (Pooters is at the workshop, BTW [separate story]) – which I think doesn’t really bode well for the recovery process.

Or is it a Singaporean obsession with ‘showing face’ at work? Quantity of appearances doesn’t really translate to quality of appearances, you know.

Anyway, I went to the clinic near my home to request for an MC; the doctor said no. Again, I understand. He has his own ethical code of conduct to follow. I could feel him grappling with his own inner conscience, but I decided not to push the matter. I know he felt guilty, but I think he should feel some sense of guilt – if he had bothered to listen to what I was trying to say (which, in any case, was kinda hard because the braces have rendered me slightly unintelligible), perhaps he would have understood a deeper meaning to it all – I don’t chao keng but I am aware enough of my own body to know when I need the rest.

I think the rest I need is more psychological than anything else. I didn’t have a pleasant day with the extraction; it hurt like hell. I can’t chew any more; I’m reduced to soups and porridges, and even though I like soups and porridges, I don’t have any more choice to consume what I want at will. I just want some time at home to recover mentally and emotionally, but I guess Medical Certificates don’t cover that, do they?

On hindsight, maybe I could’ve practiced what I preach about performance. I didn’t go into the clinic looking like death; I went in requesting for an MC. So in a sense, I wasn’t in the role of the patient enough for the doctor to step up to the stage and perform his role as well. Maybe it really is all about the politics of performance? *shrugs*

The only thing to be slightly cheery about: I have very good Co-Operating Teachers. Ms Toh Hui Yuan, Mr Peter Crawshaw and Mr Anthony Phoon, if you come across this – thank you very much for your care and concern.

And for the students who are stalking: 4E2 and 4E Literature rocks, and I hope 3E4 comes on board soon.

About the author

Laremy Lee

A versatile educator, writer and editor, Laremy Lee (李庭辉) has the uncanny knack of being one of the few among his generation in Singapore who crafts compelling stories in different genres.

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  • you should get to know an immoral doctor, seriously. When I go to my doctor and ask for an extra day or two, he always okays it.