Too many disheartening things in a day

Today’s inane image of the day:

A must for coffeeshop studying: iPod and noise-canceling headphones.
Yesterday I stumbled upon a couple of things that really irked me. First, was actually the comments section of a NYTimes Well Blog post that referred to the recent article discussing the newly implemented use of the MMI style [“New for aspiring doctors, the people skills test“] at a couple of schools. Not to suggest that you should try to read the 9 pages of comments [I only got through around 6 pages before the quality of the comments began to decrease exponentially], but if you read a couple pages, you begin to hear a chorus of dissatisfaction.

It wasn’t new news to me that there are a lot of people unhappy with the state of healthcare in this country, but it was surprising how many of them were complaining about physician personalities. Plus, the fact that so many people no longer respect the profession and grueling training that is necessary to tack on those two tiny letters is disheartening.


As for the MMI-style… pre-meds will just see it as another hurdle to scale through paid services — I highly doubt it will revolutionize the field by selecting more compassionate and humanistic physicians [by the way, I worked on my own to get here — no coaching, no family-ties to the profession, no MCAT classes].


The other thing that irked me was an article entitled, “I’m her mom, not the nanny” — while I was never under the impression that racial stereotypes have dissolved into oblivion, this personal account really shows the underlying assumptions that are still made about others. Asians are stereotyped pretty positively — “hard-working and smart” — and these are hardly things to complain about. But the idea that my physical appearance automatically generates this gut reaction reminds me of the advice I was given early-on in life: You have a Chinese face and you can never escape that. Although I no longer cringe at the question, “Where do you come from?” [Metro-Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A. — no, really, I’ve never left this country for longer than 2 weeks] it’s bothersome that you can never escape your physical appearance.


I hope the next generation can break free from this limited viewpoint of the people we interact with. Our country cannot be defined in black, white and the variants of primary colors.


Putting this all together, I wonder how my patients’ perception will be when I walk into the room. It’s no secret that my last name is of Asian descent, but will that only lead to a question of pronunciation? Or will it go further than that?