This morning on the drive to work Jian Gohlmeshi was interviewing Dr. Brian Goldman about his new book about Doctor’s slang – The Secret Language of Doctors
It was fascinating, sad, and interesting to hear what terms doctors use to refer to patients, conditions and overarching medical situations in order to quickly communication a full and nuanced situation, as well as to protect their own mental distance from what must be an incredibly challenging and stressful work environment.
It left me wondering, however, if his book includes the Doctor’s Slang I heard at the Saint John Regional Hospital almost a decade ago after I finally cornered a doctor to get an update.
The doctor, the one all the nurses said I should speak to, had been actively avoiding me for the better part of a weekend. More than once I saw him see me and then scramble like a spooked rabbit. And the man could move.
When I did finally corner him, he gave me a reasoned, cogent update. Then I called him on avoiding me. His response, and I quote:
“Oh, I thought you were a Daughter-From-Toronto.”
While I am a daughter who lives in Toronto, it turns out I’m not one-of-them. It seems, at least in this hospital, there is a set of women who swoop in from Toronto when their parents are in the hospital, and brow-beat the doctors who are caring for their parents. They are called, not so affectionately, “Daughters-From-Toronto”.
I was glad to hear that I wasn’t seen as one of the people making it harder for my parent to get care. Or for the caregivers and professionals to do their job. However, I also wondered why exactly it was such a problem a doctor would avoid giving me an update for almost 2 full days.
Caring adult children should not be treated like they are in the way or causing trouble. And it left me wondering if I should, perhaps, be more of a Daughter-From-Toronto.
Quick aside – independent of where this daughter is from, I’ve been very happy with the Saint John Regional Hospital. All their staff who have treated me and my family with skill and care, respectfully and appropriately. Well, except for that one guy.
So when The Secret Language of Doctors hits the bookshelves, I may be thumbing through to see if Daughters-From-Toronto are feared and avoided across Canada or just at SJRH.
And should I be in this vsituation again, maybe I’ll just say I’m from Cabbagetown.