Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Child Of A Sri Lankan Doctor?

I read this post by Sach and discovered that she is the daughter of a Doctor. I did the clever mental processing required and figured that the medical parent is probably Sri Lankan. Like I am prone to do about wholly irrelevant things I pondered for a while. Not for that long, just long enough to think that I could write a post about the subject.

I realised that I know quite a few people who are the offspring of Sri Lankan Doctors, myself included. Both my brothers are too, these sort of coincidences always intrigue me. But are you a Sri Lankan Dr's child (SLDC)?

If the answer is a resounding "yes" I wonder whether you grew up in an environment of "overcare" or "undercare". I know of some SLDCs who get little attention from their medical parent, on the medical side that is. They may be suffering from a seemingly chronic illness and Dr Dad will, after months of ignoring the symptons, take a cursory look and then announce that there's nothing wrong with them or it's all their own fault anyway for wearing the wrong colour trousers, or trouser, as any Sri Lankan would say. If the SLDC went to their GP they would immediately be put on a dose of antibiotics and given all kinds of treatment, but the illness would clear up pretty damn quickly. Perhaps these Doctors get so used to dealing with and seeing sick people every day that they need some at home too, just to feel comfortable.

On the other side there are those Doctors who go for the overcare approach. This is what I grew up with and still face. I live in a state of constant fear. Fear of coughing in front of my Mother, or of expressing any sort of physical discomfort. Or mental discomfort for that matter, but that's another issue.

A faint sneeze in front of my Mum can easily result in several specialists being telephoned, favours called in and local hospitals put on one of those alerts that only actually happen in plane crash films. Of course this stuff has advantages, massive ones. I have learnt to control my sneezes over the years and can now squeeze one out with all the volume of a Englishman complaining about poor service in a restaurant. And I don't need to go to the Doctor's very often, unless Liverpool are playing of course. My Mum would be hard pushed if one of us were taking ill during a Liverpool game. After some thought she would do the right thing and put her loyalty and sense of duty ahead of life's less important things. Then, at half time, she'd take a look at the ill son in the corner of the room.

These Sri Lankan Doctors are an abundant resource aren't they? I was travelling to the motherland last year with my brother and there was an announcement over the plane's PA asking if there was a Doctor on board. There were scrums and fights as most of the passengers went forward and volunteered for the task of saving the poor suffering passenger's life.

My brother, a fit bloke, won many of the fights and stepped up to save the fellow. At this point he faltered. He is indeed a Doctor, but of something other than medicine. Something like Geography or an ology. He stared at the patient for a while, then started to write a paper on the impact on the aircraft's aerodynamics of his choice of brown trousers with a green flowery batik shirt. This didn't help the poor bloke, who couldn't breathe, so one of the other 378 Sri Lankan Doctors stepped up and did that resucitation thing. All was okay. Except the fact that the green flowery batik shirt survived.

Sri Lanka has the highest ratio of Doctors in the general population out of any country in the world. The latest reported statistics claim that for every 100 Sri Lankans there are at least 95 Doctors. Only India can come close to this remarkable statistic with a figure of 92.7 per 100 people in its population.

But how about you? Any medical parents? Or are you the child of a Doctor and have also chosen medicine as your career? Are you a lucky lady who has two medical parents?


sach said...

Only my father is a doctor and I'm eternally thankful for that. In my case there is both overcare and undercare. Most of the time we (my brother and I) are left to our own devices because obviously my father has seen worse things than a cold or fever. And me being the hypochondriac I am, both my parents have perfected the art of ignoring me most of the time.

But overcare springs up at the most unexpected times. I could be down with some random fever and my father would announce at least a dozen diagnoses as to what it could be. To be fair by him, my brother and I have caught a considerable amount of diseases for him to have his guard up but sometimes he just goes overboard and then follow numerous tests and saline hanging from the net hook!

His line of work is so demanding that I decided long ago that I'd never want to become a doctor but my brother will most probably become a doctor. Which is a good thing because once you have been spoiled with a doctor in the family with all the perks and privileges you need that to continue.

What is it about your posts that make me reply with comments the size of blog posts?

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Hey Sach - It's probably the massive amount of research and development that goes into so many of my posts that prompts you to respond in such detail.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

S - A pleasure, Theena's got it.

Mikals said...

got 2 of those as parents.. and well gotta tell u it's one heck of an experience. From inquisitive strangers wanting to know why the heck their children are not doing medicine (hell, if u see the hectic life of a affordable doctor, u will know WHY) to wierdest choice of reading material to the overcare/undercare phenomenam u mentioned.

I have been a child of undercare. My mother being in nutrition shows the odd fuss here and there, but my father never gives any medicine for a normal cold. I'd have to make a large racket for him to even check what's wrong with me. and it's better to write my own prescription and goto the near by pharmacy that getting medicine out of the home medical supply of his. His wise words are that, let 'em heal naturally. No vitamins too. EAT FRUITS after every meal.
sigh, my friends most times take the easy way out with pills while i have to 'let it heal naturally'..

think i typed a long one, but then again it's one of those topics where you just have to rant your thought out.

Mohamed said...


erm ive proly never commented on ur blog but anyways im a sri lankan med student and would like to know ur source regarding those statistics, if you dont mind.

il check back on the comments section of ur blog later.

thank you and keep up the good work.

ddm said...

both parents, brother, grandfather, couple of uncles, grand uncles, grand aunts. worst part is catching all the diseases they bring from hospitals, best part is free access to loads of drugs at home and learning to treat myself and my friends without having to take that oath!

Theena said...

"S - A pleasure, Theena's got it."

Hehe..I am probably being dense here, but what do that mean?

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Mohamed - Thanks for your comment but I wouldn't take the statistics too seriously, they're not entirely true!

ddm - That is a seriously medical family, perhaps those stats might be true after all.

Theena - Ask S!

Dili said...

Always meant to comment on your superbly excellent posts RD, never got around to it. This time I did.

Brilliant post as usual.

Both worlds. Dads a Doc, Moms a teacher,and its my mom that goes overboard when I even sniffle. God, she'll be behind me all day asking everything and anything related to my non-existent respiratory problems :) Its motherly love, so i have to put up with it. :)

Funnily enough, if Im seriously sick Mom cools down and Dad starts worrying...

Pradeep Jeganathan said...

I'm a SLDC (like that) -- who was over cared for. now over cared for by self. :). funny post -- thank you.

S said...

This post cracked me up - I am used to minimising symptoms of illness in order to go out/party as hard as I can.

You know where I come from ;)