Saturday, January 19, 2008

Dr. Dolittle

The next person who says to me – “How can YOU be sick? You’re a doctor!!” – is going to see me pulling my hair out.
…..or maybe I should pull their hair out instead. And have my answer ready.The thing is that I forgot to take my daily quota of the magic potion in medical college that was supposed to make us immune to disease and disability.

Doctors falling ill is one of the saddest things that can happen - and not just because non medical personnel ( I’m thinking of calling them ‘duggles’) give you incredulous looks and keep asking with infuriating facetiousness – “But how can doctors be sick?”. Richard Gordon says in ‘Doctor In Love’ that the first diagnosis that a doctor makes for himself has to be the most exotic, the second the most fatal and the third so inaccurate that his med school people would come climbing over each other to take his degree away.
It is terrible having oneself as a case study. I had this awful headache some days back. With my skull threatening to split into a minimum of eight pieces, I just could not stop trying to figure out what it could be. Cluster Headache? Giant cell arteritis? Migraine? Brain tumor? The chapter on ‘Headache’ in Harrison runs into some 60 pages. And logic does seem to abandon you if you get your head to figure out why it is hurting so much.Its worse than Hannibal frying up Ray Liotta’s brain and making him eat it. It’s like Hannibal slicing a piece of his own tongue and then trying to eat it.
Amitabh Bachhan in ‘Majboor’ has a place in my head that is more significant than the place that those countless Clinical Medicine classes could make. I read up the signs and symptoms of Brain Tumor and was a tad disappointed that I didn’t have even one of them.
And if you decide to consult a fellow physician, things don’t become easier. It can so easily turn into replays of those dreaded vivas from final year med school.You can be sitting clutching your head in agony, unable to open your eyes and this wise old man will look at you with a huge smile and say – “ so, Manjot…What do you think? What is YOUR probable diagnosis?”


  1. That scene from hannibal is the most disgusting scene ever. Why did you remind me of it. Yuck. Yuck Yuck.

    Till about an year ago my theory of head aches was simple - They dont exist. They are just excuses. So are stomach pains. It is impossible to prove either of them, hence they don't exist. (Don't swear at me now please.)

    Doctors being sick is similar to an IT guy with a broken computer. So i understand.

    Hope you get well soon and the head ache goes away.

  2. You should seriously consider taking up writing. I also write ( mostly rubbish rants about stuff) at
    Have tried hard ( maybe not really) to be funny but it doesn't cut the ice ,ever :)

    How's your cold/headache now? I heard you are on vacation from Feb? Planning to stop by in Delhi?

  3. Btw, my friends are such diehard fans of FRIENDS but somehow I find it utter nonsense. Never ever was able to laugh.

    My favorites are the BBC sitcoms - Coupling ( about sex and relationships) and Hustle ( a gang of 6 conmen). Hustle is not an out and out comedy but its comic situations are awesome. And coupling, well , I guess you know how funny it can get when a bunch of drunk losers dicsuss relationships, sex and girls in a british pub!

  4. this is funny .... and so true....keep it up n hope your trouble with your head ends soon!!

  5. I really should've added a post script....wrote this post after a good head massage and a good night's sleep had ensured that that headache went away for good,thank God:)

  6. I have suffered some stories by doctors on them being sick and suffering like other folks and found all of them so fake, preachy, and tearful that I believed a doctor must never write on this topic at all. Dr dolittle is the first convincing and more importantly, intersting piece that I have read on this "issue". Great rant!

    I agree with Bipin Preet. You should seriously consider taking up writing.

  7. Haha.. I almost made the dreaded mistake of showing surprise (on a Doctor falling sick) when u were sick once in ISB, but smartly enough I changed the language to ask u if u had already shown a Doctor for it. ;-)

    And guess what I can connect so well with this story - When I get a hair cut (or even talk about needing a hair cut, using a shampoo, using a comb) people laugh like crazy!! (Its ok I know you're laughing as well) :) :D


Google Analytics