“I’m good at it,” Dr Levin went on, “but there’s not a lot to master in medications. It’s like ‘2001: A Space Odyssey,’ where you had Hal the supercomputer juxtaposed with the ape with the bone. I feel like I’m the ape with the bone now.”
—from The New York Times
We all read his story in the Sunday paper—
a colleague who hammers out hundreds
of med-checks each month, telling his ten
minute patients, “I’m not your therapist,”
when they want to discuss anything
more than symptoms and side effects,
just a grim, mechanical, soul-crushing,
piece-work routine that drives Chinese
workers to jump from Shenzhen factory roofs.
We were sad he lost his retirement money
in stocks, that he gave up talk therapy
to pay his future bills, his nostalgia
for the days when psychotherapy ruled.
And it rattled our bones to see ourselves
in him, to have our professional secrets
spilled over the world’s morning coffee,
the Times ink staining our hands.
But my saddest moment came when
I pictured him at his waiting room door
clutching a chart, catching eyes,
calling out a name, bewildered
by the face of each stranger
who stands up to join him.