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After reading Montgomery, I think there are some great ideas/thoughts in here.  She states around page 200 that, “Patients see the person who is the physician but respond to the archetype; they evoke physicianly performance by the power of their need.”  I can’t help but think of Judith Butler and other performance theorists’ stance on the role of performance in connection with role expectations.  I also couldn’t help but smile thinking that my last trip to the gyno was a performance similar to a twisted version of The Vagina Monologues (hah).  But, when I look at other types of doctors’ conduction what I consider a “performance,”  it has lead me to consider the possibility that even my own visits to the doctor have been part of some To Be Continued episode of House or Grey’s Anatomy.

This especially makes me think of cultures that rely upon shamans or witch doctors for their doctoral needs.  While to them they feel this is a legitimate answer to their medical problems (and I’m sure there are many deeper conversations we can have about this), but to an outsider such as myself, I watch the interaction as a performance in response to the patient’s need in disbelief, as this can’t possibly be a way to medically cure a person. To me, these appointments are flashy – with a lot of smoke and motion and chanting and other things that I don’t understand – and the Discovery channel turns this intimate connection between a practitioner and a sufferer into the Emmy winning performance of the year.  Similarly, after reading this section of Montgomery, I ponder how physicians in general could possibly all participate in this smokescreen of a performance – since doctors know the expectations of their patients is to leave that office feeling better physically, maybe mentally as well, or at LEAST with some kind of medication to sedate themselves into a state of acceptance:), why not perform to their expectations even if it may be a little “flashy?” (By flashy I mean using language that isn’t layman-like, wearing the proper costumes, keeping the setting minimal and sterile with instruments in eyesight that ensure the legitimacy of the practice, etc etc.)  And by the way, isn’t customer service all about catering to the paying patrons and doing what one can to keep them returning to the store for more – why not put on a good show that has patrons returning to spend their money on the same show like Cats or Rent???

But to what real level, do they meet the patients’ needs – NOT (and possibly regardless of the patients’) – expectations?  As they perform their physicianly duties – are the patients so enveloped in the act that they receive a placebo effect and believe that their expectations are met and overlook that their needs aren’t met?  Walking out with a prescription – does that instill some sort of false satisfaction that, possibly even only temporarily, their ache – ail – nag – is cured?  Having just had a conversation where it even seems the doctor just listened and “did his job” – could that pose a cure?  So maybe in evaluating the doctor’s role in the performance that is a doctor’s appointment – should we also evaluate our role as well, and how we perform the part of sufferer, patient, actor/actress as well?

**I posted this yesterday, but I don’t think I posted it properly – lo siento.

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Posted September 1, 2010 by terieleawatkins in Uncategorized

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