Friday, August 21, 2009

On being shallow

I learnt something about myself this week. I am more shallow than I would like.

On two occasions this week, I attended meetings at sexual health clinics. When I reported to the front desk, I felt the need to make it clear that I was there in a professional capacity and not as a patient.

I was disappointed in myself. Several people have responded with variations on the theme of "Eew!" when I have mentioned my current project. I have no such reaction. I consider sexual health to be a subject of critical importance. Since the material I am working on is of a clinical nature aimed at specialising clinicians, I realise that I am going to see and include in the learning materials some rather gruesome images. I have no qualms about that. Our doctors need to know as much as possible about these matters and they will see far worse things in the course of their careers. Somebody needs to put the learning materials together. It might as well be me.

I was reminded of a group of people I once encountered. All wore matching T-shirts and name badges. They were obviously on some sort of outing. Some of them gave outward signs of some form of mental disorder, others were indentifiable as having Down Syndrome. Among the group, there were also some with no discernable impairment/special need. But of course, not all mental disorders manifest by means of any outward signs, so it was likely that some of those who seemed unimpaired had special needs, too. Some, however, had to be staff.

Such is the graciousness of these people that they felt no need to distance themselves from their charges in any outward way. They felt no need to wear anything that identified them as carers rather than patients. I was deeply impressed by this at the time.

My experience this week tells me I am far more superficial than they.

Mea culpa.

3 comments:

V Yonkers said...

LOL. This reminds me of when I had shingles and had to go to the pharmacy to get medicine...the same medicine used for many venereal diseases. I felt I had to ask some question about shingles so that they knew I was taking it for that and NOT VD. We all have those "shallow" moments.

Downes said...

That you are self-aware enough to ask the question indicates to me that you are not nearly as shallow as you proclaim in this post.

Karyn Romeis said...

@Virginia Good to know it's not just me.

@Stephen Thanks for that. I guess I had expected better from myself.