“Toe The Line” defined…
” ‘Toe the line’ is an idiomatic expression meaning either to conform to a rule or standard, or to stand poised at the starting line in a footrace. ”
Sure looks like I remain a nonconformist feral M.D.,
AND I am poised at the starting line of a new adventure.
Here’s what my last two weeks have been like and they have been truly “schizophrenogenic”. There is an Old Way. And, there is a New Way. They have been shimmering before me, like mirages. Which one is REAL???
As I began job hunting in Canada, I sent my “edited for CONVENTIONAL MEDICAL EXPERTISE” C.V. out. I got a challenging response from the conventional end of the medical spectrum, that left me sort of panicked. Good news: Canada has a program that allows internationally trained M.D.’s to “fast track” to work visas, if they agree to work in an underserved are for 3 years. Shades of my own medical background, with 4 years working for the National Health Service Corps. Good news, again: There was a medical practice not too far from where I will be living with my husband that was in crisis, losing all three of it’s doctors, over the next 6 months:
Bad news: I drove 45 minutes to the site, and had the most miserable exchange with the front desk receptionist. “I don’t think anything would work out…” this woman said to me (C.V. unseen). The entire place felt dark and depressing.
Was it my skin color? That’s not supposed to matter so much up here, right? I took a deep breath, and kept on breathing…
Bad news: the term that the British Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons representative used with me was “you don’t have medical currency”; meaning I hadn’t practiced recently enough for them to even allow me to take the test.
They won’t even let me take the test?
Then I remembered passing a test in college before I had even taken the course (it’s along story)…/ skipping grades, in school/ pulling miracles out of my ass, repeatedly…It would be too much of an embarrassment to everyone IF I PASSED… Too “witchy” for the system!
Okay. But new anxieties arose…Oh dear, does that mean I am no longer considered “a skilled worker”? With all this life experience, AND medical expertise? I let the panic build, and begged the BCPand S representative (who named me “without currency”) to see what she could do…
THE OLD WAY:
Subject line: “U.S. retired M.D. who wants to work ANYWHERE”
Thank you for reviewing this (I so hope you can help me figure out ANY HEALTH RELATED EMPLOYMENT I might pursue, as I emmigrate from the U.S.
As you will see from my resume, I have spent a large part of my career supporting health services for women and children; currently mental health services, in a social service agency.
Now while this was evolving (or, devolving) here’s what was also happening.
THE NEW WAY:
I followed the signs, and portents, during my two week Canadian scouting expedition. I didn’t just visit that beleaguered clinic, out in the boondocks. My ears perked up, when my (new) sister-in law mentioned apologetically “well, there’s a Women’s Health Center in Downtown Duncan you might want to look at, but they’re VERY alternative…”
So I strolled on over from the corner cafe, the day before my marriage ceremony and chatted a bit with Amanda at the front desk of The Matraea Centre. She– unlike the Cowichan woman– was welcoming and friendly.
I left my C.V.
I got married, had a honeymoon, flew back to the States, then looked up the website.
And I cried. Tears of amazement, and of joy.
Subject line: “Here’s a copy of the letter I snail-mailed to you”
AND I began with “I believe in miracles and magic, when it comes to healing. Finding the Matraea Centre during my two week visit to British Columbia (I just married a Canuck who has been in my life for the last 12 years) was magic, to me.
This is my story.
I am a 60 year old African-American, slave descent woman, raised in the U.S. in an upper middle class environment by very artistic and bohemian parents. That has made me unique in many ways. I considered myself a lucky child when I was met with “so, you want to be a doctor when you grow up!” not “girls can’t be doctors; if you work hard, you can be a good nurse.”
I knew nothing about midwives”.
I went on, for two pages.
“Can you see a place in your collaborative for a 60 year old healing artist– moving from Vermont to Cobble Hill? Adding more services? Augmenting existing ones? facilitating workshops? Creating monthly events? Expanding midwifery services to peri-menopausal women and women in their menopausal metamorphosis? Supporting women facing complex medical issues (diagnoses of chronic illness/cancer/after abortion procedures and miscarriages) in need of “peer support’ (that is the title of my current social service position, in the U.S.)? Supporting parents in need of support?
Can we open a dialogue on possibilities?”
And here is the Response that I received. And, it is The-New Way:
Thank you for your sharing your beautiful and amazing story! You are an inspiration!! And thank you for your kind words.
I am one of the founding midwives of the Centre and the practice and I would love to meet you!
What is your schedule like? I can be flexible…I am on call this Thursday and Friday which means I have more availability as I am not in the clinic.
Please let me know :))
To which I replied
I just upgraded my phone service here to unlimited calls for North America.
Let me know when we could talk on Thursday at a time that accommodates your schedule.
I am wide open, and should be able to connect anytime after 9 a.m. PST, up until 6 p.m.
(Phonetics–oh pay YEH mee)”
AND, IRONICALLY, … I received this response on the same day from the representative of The Old Way
Subject line: Opportunities in British Columbia
Dear Dr. Parham,
Thank you for your email and for the CV you provided.
I have reviewed the CV and based on the CV and the information you provided to me during our telephone discussion, it is evident that you would not be able to practice as a physician in British Columbia since you have been out of practice for over 10 years, however since you are open to other opportunities, I would recommend that you review the Island Health website for opportunities close to your home in Cobble Hill, perhaps there is a position that would of interest to you. The Island Health website is – http://www.viha.ca/careers.
Getting to the HEART of the Matter…
Please note that unless you already hold Canadian citizenship or Permanent Residency status, you will require a Work Permit. Island Health will have to assist with this because you cannot apply for a Work Permit on your own.
I am sorry we are unable assist you with regards to opportunities as a Family Physician.
We wish you all the best in your endeavours.
Best Regards (rep name here)
Encouraged by the RIGHTNESS of The New Way, and a sense of moving forward into Right Livelihood for this last third of my life, I wrote this, to the Representative of The-Old-Way:
Thank you for your response!
I hope you will watch my career blossom as I emmigrate to Canada.
I am one step ahead of terrible rising fascism in the U.S. I know what to do, and I am doing it; one legal step at a time.
It has been made quite clear to me that any association with allopathic medical that would give me the power to prescribe and hospitalize is no longer a part of a healthy healing arts practice for me.
I intend to work as a Healer (legally and with support of the community) in Duncan, Vermont.
And, So It Is.
My medically oriented channel:
The BCP and S respondent was a woman.
I am imagining her obtaining some sort of a consult from me, in the not too distant future. Because I am walking into my power, into my passions, and into magical realms.
And, as for the conventional practice that is losing all it’s M.D.s… Here’s a comment from their on line article that sums up allopathic medicine these days:
“You can’t bring in FP/GP under a special immigration/training so they can be licensed and need to work in outlying areas for only 3 years. I have not known a physician who came to Canada under these programs and stayed put any longer than the original contract. These doctors then move to larger centres, or, in many cases, resort towns etc.”
Yes, I imagine that they do. Because the pace of that lifestyle burns them out. They hold their noses, as they are counting down the days until the end of their obligatory commitments. I wouldn’t have been that kind of an M.D. but I can imagine how my workaholism might have kicked up again.
My way as a Healing Artist is still feral. I cannot “toe the line” in The Old Way. Picking up that stethoscope– as tempting as it was to my ego– rightfully shot down by Spirit.
And, now the wild rumpus will continue to move forward!