It’s increasingly important to take care of your health these days. The likelihood of discovering that you are suffering from a rare disease is actually quite high.
So it was with some trepidation that I recently set off to visit my GP after being summoned to an emergency consultation. In this instance, my latrophobia had taken precedence over my hypochondria. I might be terrified of doctors, but the lure of a medical crisis won the day.
I had an inkling of what was about to confront me; it wasn’t an illness I’d heard of before, but the ramifications were unthinkable. I dragged my feet along the path to the surgery, convinced that these final few blissfully ignorant moments, would be my last and the return trip would condemn me to a lifetime (probably very short) of doing little else ever again, other than pursue a cure – if indeed that was possible.
I hesitated outside his door. I could make a run for it and just ignore my symptoms, or woman-up and confront my worst fears. It had been only a few days since an astonishing petition had come to my attention; a third year medical student from Perth, who had co-opted 2000 doctors to declare that any medicos who advocated against a ‘yes’ vote in the SSM debate, were as good as racists.
That was stunning news. In the warped world of a junior medical student, the same-sex attracted were a race. Presumably, she had had that confirmed by numerous well-thumbed, international DNA studies, but if they existed in cyberspace, I couldn’t find them. I had read the petition again, apparently if you were one of the 400 more traditional minded doctors or so, who poured Gravox over their roast lamb dinners, still hopefully hung up their stocking for Santa on Christmas Eve, and did not see any good reason to change the definition of that most unexpectedly divisive phrase, traditional marriage; you were the moral equivalent of a marauding, mass murdering colonialists from the bowels of history.
Crikey! And I had always deeply respected the medical profession. Little did I realise amongst their cohorts were those conservative medicos who Greens leader Richard Di Natale (a doctor himself) did not think trustworthy or capable of treating same sex patients without giving into a rush of acute homophobia.
In fact, allowing professionals who wish to perpetuate the ancient custom of “dual gender union” anywhere near those underage Alt-Rainbow-Vulnerables would be tantamount to inflicting “depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicidal behaviour”. I wondered if Richard knew any teenagers. In my limited experience as a mere parent, those conditions were pretty much compulsory, if not a badge of honour.
But surely those self-same doctors are equally vulnerable, as evidenced by Dr Pansy Lai, whose very livelihood was threatened after appearing in a Marriage Alliance ad advocating the ‘No’ vote? And I’ll hazard a guess that she felt both anxious and depressed at the tsunami of vitriol that engulfed her. Her position was both legal and respectful, yet was still considered by some to have been a sackable offence. Just because Pansy doesn’t like SSM doesn’t mean she doesn’t like homosexuals. Hell, her Christian name is more than proof of that.
The Spanish can now rest easy; it’s the Australian Medical Inquisition that we should all be worried about.
As I raised my hand to knock at the door, I paused. Even though I didn’t have a medical degree, I was about to be outed. My GP knew that I liked gravy on my roast dinners, he’d even asked me for my Gran’s recipe. It followed that he would know exactly how I intended to vote in the plebiscite. And if I was going to vote “no”, did that mean that I too was suffering from that foul incurable condition, racism?
Being accused of being a racist, of course, is no joke. It can disqualify you from flying on the national carrier (notice that I don’t dare even name them?) and cast aspersions on your character that would be harder to wipe clean than the blood from Lady Macbeth’s hands. Mind racing, I pictured future potential dinner party guests, all of them wearing white hoods.
It was time to face the music, I pushed open the door, resolving to accept whatever over-medication my doctor suggested – preferably pills of the variety that would calm my hand from self-harming, or trying to top myself, as a way out from the friendless, jobless days I could look forward to, post diagnosis.
Minutes later I was on the side walk, incredulous. Diagnosis: iron deficiency. It was straight into the pharmacy for supplements – after all, in the battle of the plebs vs. progressives in the SSM debate, I’m going to need all my strength.
Sarah Dudley Tweets at @MsSarahDudley.
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