Saturday 15 September 2018

The Old Quack Reminisces.

   Many of the people I know (or knew) couldn't wait to retire.  I never felt like that and it was with mixed feelings that I managed to convince myself at the age of seventy-eight that it was time to hang up my red cardiology stethoscope that I had grown so fond of.  It was not that I heard any better than I did with the bottom-of -the-line old grey stethoscope, but it looked so much more robust and the strong red colour inspired a level of confidence that an insipid grey or black could never do.   It could have been a traumatic experience, quitting after fifty-five years of practice, being a creature of habit that the strict routine of medical practice demanded.  It wasn't.
   I didn't miss the cloud that many physicians live under a lot of the time, concerned about the welfare of their patient, the adequacy of their management and indeed, the influence of the health care system itself.  I didn't miss the pre-occupation with medicine that frequently results in physicians doing less than justice to their own families.  And though I was never even threatened with a law suit, I didn't miss the growing tendency for the medico-legal lottery to attract frivolous legal suits and to adversely affect the practice of medicine.
   I didn't miss the Political Correctness that thwarts free speech where anyone in medicine, or any other position of responsibility is  threatened by job loss when are true to themselves (for example refusal to accept the risible new pronouns that some pseudo-scientific simpleton puts forward.)   I didn't miss the self satisfied pronouncements of the administridiots, who thought they knew everything and actually knew little about health care and how it should be administered.
   Frequently, friends or acquaintances who knew my previous life-style would ask me if I was bored.  The answer is always no.
   "Well, what do you do all day?  Have you a hobby or something?"
   "I go swimming several times a week and have developed a circle of friends and we lunch together fairly frequently  I meet some very interesting folks from diverse backgrounds and become friends with a few."
   "Do you have a hobby?"  they often ask.
   "Yes," I say, then " I collect fountain pens.  I belong to a Pen club that meets weekly."  I wait for the blank look on the face.
   "What?  What do  you do when you meet every week?"
   "We talk about pens. You know, pens that you write with."
   If the person is old enough, "Oh yeah, I had one of those in school.  I didn't think they make them anymore."
   Then I throw out, "Oh yes, many are collectors items, these days.   Some of them are worth quite a lot of money."
   That usually wakes them up.  "Like what?"
   " Anywhere from a few dollars to thousands."
   I wait for the next inevitable question.  It comes.
   "You know I think we have a couple at home, belonged to my dad, think they could be worth anything ?"
   "What make are they?" I ask.
   "Er, I think one may be a Parker," he pauses for a moment, "or maybe a Sheaffer?"
   "You should look on Ebay."
     Another common topic of conversation may go something like this:
   " I have a son/daughter thinking of going into medicine.  You used to be a  professor, didn't you?"
   "What's your specialty?"
   "Family medicine."
   They try not to show their disappointment and say," Maybe you would have a chat with him/her."   Occasionally, they would add, "you may have a few tips on how to get accepted into medical school: you must know the ropes."  The more subtle ones left that unsaid, trusting me to get the message.
   My answer often  caught  them by surprise.  It would go  like this:
   "Be delighted to talk to him/her.  I enjoyed my lifetime of medical practice, though I must tell you my briefing will be painfully honest and I will spend as much time on the downside as on the upside."
   A surprised look.  "You would do it again,wouldn't you?"
  "Extremely doubtful considering the decline in  the health care system, notwithstanding the miraculous technical advances, some of which I owe my life to."  I say.
   Astonished "What decline are you talking about?"
    Me, getting a bit bored with this whole conversation, "Listen, I have written three hundred and eighty one blogs many of them dealing with this very topic.  Read 'em and I'll be delighted to discuss the topics with you.  In the meanwhile, I'll be delighted to discuss choice of a medical career with your kid!"  I try to say all that with as charming a smile as I can muster!
   Needless to say, I never hear from father or offspring again!

PS. I did recently run into one such father.  When I asked him what his son had decided he told me he was studying Law!


Tuesday 4 September 2018

Peer contagion and Gender Bending.

Gender Bending and Peer contagion

 Peer contagion (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) refers to the "mutual influence that occurs between an individual and a peer", and "includes behaviors and emotions that potentially undermine one's own development or cause harm to others".[1] Peer contagion refers to the transmission or transfer of deviant behavior from one adolescent to another. It can take many forms, including aggression, bullying, weapon carrying, disordered eating, drug use and depression.[1] It can happen in natural settings where peer dealings occur as well as in intervention and education programs.  Awareness of influence is uncommon and it is often not intentional. Rather,"they engage in relationship behaviors that satisfy immediate needs for an audience or companionship" unintentionally.[1] Many processes of peer contagion have been suggested, including deviancy training.  Recent research has suggested that youth who are treated together for anti-social behavior may experience negative effects through deviancy training which occurs when peers reinforce each other for delinquent or aggressive behavior with the result that the 'group therapy' has the opposite affect to that intended.
  When I was physician to a Corrections Canada maximum security institution, I was sometimes surprised by the rapidity with which something I prescribed for an inmate (not allowed to use that nasty non-PC word any more!) was requested by a group of inmates who attended a subsequent clinic.  I am not particularly referring to drugs of addiction or indeed any drug at all, sometimes it could be for a knee brace or a tennis elbow splint or most frequently a particular type of footwear.  The aggressiveness of the requests was sometimes threatening.  So, when I read Dr. Lisa Littman's  (Brown University) paper entitled "Rapid-onset gender dysphoria in adolescents and young adults: a study of parental reports", and saw peer contagion addressed as a serious perpetuator of the problem, I knew she was on the right track.
   The entire paper is available on line free.  It is well worth reading and makes it clear that sensible well-balanced parents who resist this sort of medical abuse exercised on children are under attack by the aggressive Lunies of the Left as is Dr. Littman.
   In this study 256 parents completed a survey, the details of which are available.  The disorder predominantly affects females (82.8%) and the mean age was 16.4 years. Many of the young adult group (62.5%) had been diagnosed with at least one mental health disorder or neurodevelopmental disability prior to the onset of their gender dysphoria.  The internet and social networks provide a rich forum for transgender identification and encouragement to "come out". Their range of behaviors included expressing distrust of non-transgender people, stopping spending time with non-transgender friends (i.e. normal people), trying to isolate themselves from their families and only trusting information about gender dysphoria from transgender sources.
   The American Psychology Association (APA) Task  Force on the treatment of gender identity disorder notes that adolescents with gender dysphoria  'should be screened carefully for any disorder such as schizophrenia, mania, psychotic depression that may produce gender confusion. 
   Unfortunately, many health care providers including physicians have abandoned their professional vows in favour of political correctness and are encouraging 'social engineers' to undermine the commonsense precepts of normalcy.
   The decline accelerates.

Addendum.  Britain's Royal Academy, one of the ultimate arbiters of artistic merit is to ensure that its next exhibition of nudes has an equal gender split of naked men and women.  How politically incorrect !  What about gays, trans, lesbians etc. etc?
It would make me laugh if I wasn't crying!!

So what do you think,if anything?