I met with a doctor late last week about my shoulder, which he said, casually, was in danger of becoming frozen due to too many adhesions within the joint. Then he said some other garbage that didn’t make sense, and made clear that he didn’t really want to be bothered treating me anymore. In my mind, I thought, “I should advocate for myself here,” and then I got a little clarity, and concluded that some doctors are shitty doctors, and you shouldn’t waste time trying to get them to be good at it.
I nodded my head as he described the treatment he wasn’t going to pursue and explained why he wasn’t going to pursue it. I was over him already, and every word he spoke just reinforced that I was in the wrong place. Part of the way you know a doctor sucks at doctoring is they make more statements than they ask questions. They’ve put you and your health in a box before doing the basic research, before hearing you, before getting to know you deeply enough.
There is a whole indictment of modern American medicine here, one that starts with forcing doctors to see too many patients in a day and ends who knows where. I’m not qualified to diagnose that malady, so I’ll leave it aside.
Instead, I’ll state what I think of as The Cardiel Doctrine, named for pro-skater John Cardiel, who lost the better part of the use of one of his feet after a spinal injury. He explains below:
And so The Cardiel Doctrine holds to the basic principle of “Fuck you, you don’t know me,” which is what I wanted to say to the doctor as he stood there telling me that he would do something for the inflammation in my shoulder, if only my shoulder wasn’t so inflamed. What?
So I move on. My problem isn’t as serious as Cardiel’s, but the core truth that I am going to move, that I have to move, is the same. Don’t expect me to accept your uninformed notion of what I can do and when I can do it (especially without benefit of an MRI, which was also apparently not a good idea).
The problem, doc, is that you don’t know me.
The Cardiel Doctrine extends beyond the realm of healthcare (and to be clear, if you have a good doctor, listen to them) to anyone who tells you what you’re capable of without knowing you first, anyone who thinks their shitty lack of imagination somehow stands as a barrier to your own pursuit of every last demon in your soul.
Maybe Patrick Swayze was right when he said, “No one puts baby in a corner.” In retrospect, I wish I’d just said that to Dr. Useless and walked out.
Image: Arto Saari (buy a print here)