Thursday, October 30, 2008

I despise old ladies

I despise old ladies. They're like the smell of shit and piss, the poor hygiene of zoo animals, the discrimination and hate of the most hardened fascists and the whininess of a spoilt brat. All crammed into one slightly less-than-human-sized entity.

Yes, I am doing a geriatrics posting in a suburban hospital. I have nothing against the posting itself - or the staff in the unit. But it's the patients that incense me.

I could handle shit and piss, I could handle zoo animals, but these shrunken beings just incite a very negative countertransference towards old ladies.

In other words, it incites a visceral hatred me, and an undying flame in me to rid the world of all of their kind.

In my first 2 hours in the geriatrics ward, I've noticed:

1) one old lady hitting her maid repeatedly with her fists when she demanded to go to the toilet
2) another old lady screaming at a nurse and insulting her for causing her (probably) minimal pain while turning her over
3) yet another old lady making snide remarks about the doctor not speaking her language "Why can't you speak Cantonese? Don't all Hakka people like you know Cantonese?"

I know I have to be tolerant - many of them are acting like little brats simply because dementia had wiped out much of their personality and cognition. Not to mention, they come from a culture where we hardly understand.

However, their values and beliefs are totally incompatible with the modern world. Take their racism for example - the old men and ladies are almost invariably racist.

"You know, the (race X) doctor who drew my blood caused me a lot of pain. I don't want her around!" And I know that that doctor is probably one of the best around when drawing blood samples.

Or sexist. "I don't care what you say, but male doctors are always better."

Or still stuck in the mentality that service staff should accede to their every whim and fancy. "Can you put that pillow here? NO. HERE. NOT THERE. YOU AREN'T LISTENING."

Or oblivious to any logical explanation that their medical procedure later requires them to be fasted. "How can you starve me like this? I will DIE! Fine. Just let me die. Give me a pill to kill me. I don't care any more."

Or having truly strange beliefs. "I'm very heaty already. Why are you still giving me sugar in my IV drip? Are you trying to make me get a fever, so that I will die faster? You young folks are evil!"

Most of the time, I don't even know what they're saying. I was brought up speaking English, and never mastered the Chinese language well.

(in Chinese)
"Erm, you know that thing at your... uh... bottom."
"Oh you mean piles?"
"Yes! Piles! So, about your piles..."

And a large proportion don't even speak either English or Chinese, but some weird dialect. They keep rattling on and on, assuming I understand, oblivious to the quizzical look on my face. Then they get angry when I don't answer their questions because I didn't understand a single word that she had said. She could be speaking in Klingon and I would be none the wiser.

Then they become well, and unleash their century-old beliefs and values on the general public. Such as cutting queues at the bus interchange because they believe their seniority accords them that privilege.

Or enthusiastically running to the bus door, shoving a couple of people in the process so that she could be the first on the bus, then slowly sauntering up the bus to her seat when she finally remembers to be arthritic.

I know I shouldn't hate them just for our differences in culture and language; and perhaps, even more so, different abilities in cognition. But I just do. Nothing personal. It's the same way I hate licorice, rock-ballads-turned-into-Muzak or puppies, just the same way these old ladies have nothing personal against me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i wonder what will smc think when they read this