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Four years ago, I had two surgeries about five months apart. (Everything came out just fine, don’t worry.) While I was making my way through encounters with all kinds of medical personnel, I was observing the different people around me. Over the next several weeks, I’m going to post some of my observations, especially about race, origin, and class.


When Dr. P walked in the exam room, I thought, “OMG, he’s the tallest guy from India I’ve ever seen.”

He was visibly taller than Kyle, so he must’ve been 6’3” or 6’4”, and was skinny enough to look even taller. He was in his early 30s, had a pleasant, open face, dark hair and dark eyes, and was wearing that particular blue-green shade of scrubs favored by medical people who work in operating rooms. His accent sounded American, so I think he must be from here, but his ancestry was definitely in South Asia.

Dr. P was a fellow in neuroanatomy at the hospital, and normally he didn’t see patients out of clinic hours. But my spine doctor made some calls, and told me I should check into the emergency room so Dr. P could see me. What a way to spend a Friday evening!

I’d brought the CD with the MRI images of my cervical spine, but Dr. P couldn’t find a computer in the ER department that would play it. He apologized sheepishly, and went off to Imaging.

When he came back into the exam room, he complemented the sketch I’d made to describe to Kyle the surgery I’d need. I’d thought it was crude, so I was proud that it was impressive to a surgeon.

Dr. P said I didn’t need emergency surgery, and discharged me with a prescription for steroids.

I assumed I wouldn’t see Dr. P again. But two and a half weeks later, after my one-week postsurgical visit with my surgeon, Dr. P got on the elevator we were on. He recognized me and asked how my surgery had gone, which was really nice of him. But then, Kyle and I make a distinctive pair. Almost as distinctive as the tallest man from India I’ve ever seen.

 
Photo credit: Learn Muscles.

Some of the Nurses who Helped Me
Lamech, who Cautioned me to be Careful

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