In “I, Claudius” there is a scene where Claudius’ mother announces she is tired of living, and she plans to commit suicide. She explains  “I was born in a world of people, and it has become a kennel of mad dogs”  I know what she means.  The “United We Stand” crap of 2001 is certainly not so; the nation is irritably divided into factions of ‘us vs. them’. I dismay at the intensity one group demonizes the other. And the rudeness and ugliness!  There is no discourse; there are no manners. People don’t process or discuss, they shout. Ugly.

Recently, I had a ‘mad dog’ for a new patient. He was a member of a religious sect I find particularly loathsome.  He spewed ugly opinions and downright falsities about gay people.

I had to make a decision. I could have announced who I was/am, thus making him bolt (and good riddance). I could have said “I don’t want to treat you.”

I remembered it is easy for people to stay in ignorance when the ‘other’ is a faceless abstract group. I decided to treat him. He will be in a dilemma – he has a fag for a doctor, and he will get better. This will upset his convictions. He will come to know a complex person and vice versa.

“Nothing in life is to be feared, only understood.” – Marie Curie.

Perhaps my influence will alter his mentality.

Perhaps this ‘mad dog’ will become a better person.

There is a chance, if I reach out and give it a try.

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