Ode to Doctors

by anne peasant

Doctor is so wise! Privileged priesthood, set-apart sect of sacred scholars,
Elite few approved to interpret the scriptures of sickness for us layfolks.

We crawl upon the padded altar-table of the examination room, and the Doctor reads our futures in our entrails. Bring us the news from ourselves, Doctor! We tithe you our everything: please, hand us down a decree from the great god Medicine, that oracular mystery to which you alone are privy! We may feel sick, we may feel well, but only you and your sacred interpretive apparatus know the truth. Only your chickenbones and stereoptiscopes, your calipers and crowns and gleaming divinatory gewgaws can deem us “healthy” or dilapidated, maladied or malingering.

Oh give me a NOTE, Doctor! Scribe me a pardon, sell me a scrip, give me permission to escape the suffering for even a moment or two. Give me a referral, give me something my insurance will accept. Please! Give me more of what big Pharm paid you to hook me on. Please, Doctor, hitch up the hem of your immaculate priestly gown– let me rub my coarse face on your shoe-gleam. What could a wretched commoner like myself could possibly have to please a Doctor? What could entice from you a single additional moment of your priceless time? Can you even stand to look at me? I’m sorry for wasting your time. I’m sorry, Doctor, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I deserve your brusqueness, I who am so needy, so flawed, so sickened, infected and imperfect.

I would beg you, Doctor, beg you abjectly to hear my health complaints, but then, what truth can your learning and holy machinery not divine? For I am literally naked to you– beyond naked, to you I am stripped of my skin. You see into my being, know every ventricle of my hidden heart, see the full shame of my unwell self. Tell me whether I’m lying, tell me whether I’m in pain, whether I’m doomed. Please, Doctor, tell me the state of me.