Caduceus Hair

A physician says to me, “You might have had more friends and been more successful in your career if you had been put on medication a long time ago.”

I think, “You f—ing bitch.” Nothing shows on my face. The doctor face is pleasant on the surface and the stone face that guards my feelings is deeper. I could show you the snakes and you would turn to stone but I would go to jail.

Your words don’t go away. They fester, a deep deep wound. I ask my other doctor, “If my only symptom of pneumonia is my mood, no white count, no fever, how would I know if I had pneumonia if I were medicated?”

I think back. Age twenty five with belly pain, emergency room, CT scan and then a sigmoidoscopy. I couldn’t eat, it hurt so bad. The emergency room offers me valium. “No,” I say, “my father is an alcoholic. I won’t take that.” I am sent to counseling. The counselor, smug, blonde, polished, wants to send me to her husband, a psychiatrist, for drugs. “No,” I say, “my father is an alcoholic. I want talk therapy not drugs.” I am very very afraid.

Things get better.  I tell the counselor thank you. “You can’t stop now,” she says, “You must continue the counseling. Or you will have problems later on.” I go once more. She says I must keep coming. I speak to a family friend, a PhD psychologist, who encourages me to say no. I cancel. No regrets.

I am not an alcoholic. I don’t smoke. I don’t use pot nor CBD. I never tried cocaine or meth or opioids or crack. I can tell an addict by their charm: the sick people are not charming nor the people in for maintenance. The moment a person tries to charm me I wonder what they want.

The physician is wrong and cruel besides. Valium is addictive and is still overused. I could have taken the path of psychiatric medicine but I chose not to.

I will find another doctor who is less stupid and cruel. They do exist. I know, because I am one.


5 thoughts on “Caduceus Hair

  1. Lou Carreras says:

    Having gotten off the addictions to tobacco and alcohol I am more than just a bit resistant to any suggestions that I try drugs. Only a total fool would offer chemical enslavement to someone with a personal or family history. It would make me question their motives, and the quality of their judgement. And with a practitioner, once I question the quality of their judgement it’s all over.

    • drkottaway says:

      Well, docs and nurses are famously “bad” patients because they argue. But I would be dead in 2012 if I hadn’t listened to my own voice. Good for you. A second opinion is always ok.

  2. Paula Light says:

    I take an occasional Valium, but docs are reluctant to Rx much. I can see it being addictive, so I understand. My ex was addicted to painkillers… it was tragic and ruined our lives. Some things are hard to do in moderation when you’re hurting all the time…

    • drkottaway says:

      The problem with benzodiazepines is that they are really long acting and work partly at the alcohol receptor. The shortest “half life” is 12 hours, so lasts for around 24 hours.

    • drkottaway says:

      That’s why I dislike benzodiazepines and was always very very careful about prescribing them.

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