Bollocks to the Hippocratic Oath

Don't Touch Me

By Dr. Mona Moore

Disclaimer: Some of you might remember this column from a few years back when we still lived at Viceland. When we moved to VICE.com, though, it disappeared, so now we've dug it up. Enjoy.

Hey, you rapidly decaying protoplasmic sacks of calcium and shit, my name is Dr Mona Moore. Obviously, that is not my real name, but I am a real doctor. Don't feel bad for me, though, because it means I will always have a job, an apartment ten times bigger than yours and the right to tell you what to do simply because I will always know better. Enjoy my column!

BOLLOCKS TO THE HIPPOCRATIC OATH - DON'T TOUCH ME

I have become an intimacy retard. I don’t like being touched. This is an unwanted side effect of becoming a doctor. Touching sick people every day has tainted all touching. Would you want to touch this leg? No, neither do I. But I do. I finger diseases. I massage innards. I cut up flesh. I burrow inside old women’s fannies. I see a more intimate snapshot of other people’s bodies than any lover. So when I finish work, the last thing in the world I want is a hug.

As a doctor, I don’t get a choice of who I treat. It's not like A&E is a pick’n’mix of problems that take my fancy. I'd like to say no to some people, like the bleeding-from-the-arse alcoholic or the homeless guy who has a cock stuffed with maggots. A convicted paedophile came in complaining he could not get an erection. He had served time for touching up his eight-year-old nephew, but I still had to give him a full erectile dysfunction examination. I wanted to castrate him and stitch his arsehole shut. I did not want to touch his penis.

People are fundamentally disgusting – leaking creatures with no bodily decorum. They fart in my consultation room and burp in my face without apology. One woman came into A&E having lost her tampon inside her foo. She had a good rummage with no luck, leaving her hands bloody. I gloved up, had a probe in her bloody gash and came out empty-handed. I reassured her that she was tampon-free and could go home. I took off my gloves and just as I was walking out, she grabbed my hands between her bloodstained paws and held on tight to emphasise her thanks. Does she think I want her monthly discharge on my bare fingers? I’m a doctor, I’m a woman, but that made me retch.

I never used to be this way, but slowly the horror of the human body and its capacity for malfunction has made me increasingly disinclined to touch it, whether sickly or not. The body is capable of transforming into a vomitous bulge of suppurating sores and gut-churning grossness – gangrene, rotting flesh, pus. Blood is positively appetising in comparison to what else the body produces. The more repulsive, the more it infects my personal life. I flinch from a friendly kiss on my cheek and the smells of strangers are invasions. Mouths are the worst. Toothy face pussies. Sick people’s mouths stink. They shimmer with a sticky film or become furry, dry and white. I insist on perfect teeth and dental hygiene in boyfriends – the antithesis of old lady skank mouth. I used to kiss with tongues, but now I can only tolerate the most Victorian of snogs.

My nose has become hypersensitive. If the boy in my bed smells of alcohol the morning after, I can’t help but say, “You can leave whenever you’re ready.” It reminds me of my alcoholic patients and makes me want to retch. Moles on lovers have become potential cancerous lumps. Dimples in penises are genital warts. My ex-boyfriend complained I held his penis with the same two-fingered grip I use to catheterise patients.

I don’t want to feel the bristles of your beard on my face after searching through a patient's pubes for crabs. I don’t want to hug you and feel the dampness of your warm sweat under your shirt after turning over obese patients all day. I don’t have a choice at work, but as soon as I walk out of hospital, I don’t have to touch anyone if I don’t want to. I wash and sterilise my hands after every patient. Why should it be any different when I touch anyone else?

Previously - Fat Chance

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