Saturday, September 06, 2008

When doctors lie to you

My doctor didn't lie to me. Erik's did. Erik is completely helpless. He sits in a wheelchair, and now he is tied to it by a tube that emanates from his abdomen. He has a catheter that comes from his bladder. Eleven years ago he still walked. He was helpless then, but he walked, and he ran. He has never talked, and he has never been able to take care of himself.

That's why it hurts even more to know that one of his doctors lied to him. Since I am Erik's conservator, I take this lie personally. So this doctor lied to me. He told me in 1997 that Erik did not have rickets when Erik in fact did. I know that now after Erik suffered thirty broken bones and kidney failure that should have been discovered then. We have the lab values to prove it.

When a doctor lies to you, the notion of a physician's care is lost; it becomes a questionable entity. It leaves you bare of the security that once was bestowed upon the sick, it leaves you questioning that there once was a trustworthy learned person behind that white coat. The Staff of Aesculapius was like the scepter of aid for the weak and helpless. There was a powerful iconic meaning behind the hospital facade. Should I take the snake winding around the scepter as icon of betrayal? I once was naive. I once trusted all that. I know more now, and I find myself helpless, even more so because there are so few healthy people who can understand why I might want to try to tell them about all this. I am alone in my knowledge. I wished I were naive again.

How does it feel when a doctor lies to you. It feels like Adam and Eve losing their innocence.


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