I took Jesse to the doctor today and left feeling very frustrated. It was not a unique experience. This is how it often is when I leave the doctor here. I think it's because what I expect as an American is not working with how things are done here. There's something very different about how doctors talk to patients. They do not like to be questioned, or maybe it's that they are so unfamiliar with it that they don't know how to handle it.
In America, I now realize, we question our doctors. If they say to use this cream and drink this medicine, we ask what it's for. We expect them to in some sense educate us, to sell us on their diagnosis. We realize that there is more than one way to skin a cat, and we'd like to know which method they're proposing. And we want to make sure the skin really needs to come off, so to speak. Dominicans don't, they just do what the doctor says.
If we are prescribed a medicine and it doesn't fully work, we expect some kind of explanation for why it didn't work or why he wanted to try it first. We don't expect to be told that "no medicine is magic" when we say that it's not working (which is what he said to me).
I explained that coconut oil seemed to work better and was prescribed another medicine. I asked what the medicine would do, and the doctor said it would soften his skin. I asked what it would do different than coconut oil, which was softening his skin, and he said it was designed for this skin condition. This answer didn't really give any new information. I tried again to see what it would do different than coconut oil, I asked leading questions about how coconut oil would maybe just mask symptoms instead of curing something, and he said it wouldn't cure anything, it would soften his skin. He said he wasn't familiar with the medicinal properties of coconut oil, but that I was welcome to get a second opinion in the states.
I'm fairly sure there would be a least some medical argument for using his creams and soaps he prescribed, I just wish he would engage in a discussion about it. If I have castille soap and coconut oil and they'll do the same thing, I'd rather go with those. But the "less is more" attitude toward medicine has not hit the D.R. The doctor looks at you with a quizzical look which says, "If you don't want my medicine and my diagnosis, then why did you come here?" which I must say is very effective for making me mumble my thank you's and take my leave. Frustrated.