The medicine in stories | Tindile Booi | TEDxTableMountain

you I am a medical doctor I work in mental hospital in Michels plane I work with children in psychiatry now the idea I'm here to tell you is that there are different ways to do the same things that we do in medicine so Grey's Anatomy suggests that all doctors do you spend their time in bed at the hospital all the time with each other we don't do that and then others suggest that we stab each other in the back because we're all trying to become specialists all sorts of wonderful things happen when you become a doctor when I went to train to become a doctor I was convinced it was a calling I had been a nurse and then I became a doctor when I finally became a doctor there was a difficulty about deciding what speciality to do I thought psychiatry because I like talking I love stories and in psychiatry if you are really lucky in a month you meet Jesus seven times over seven different people so why not so I went into psychiatry I must say the speciality eludes me I went into working with children quite by coincidence one person was leaving I was the next person in line and it was like if you don't go they're gonna force you and I don't like being forced so I was like do the decent thing okay I'll do it it's been four years since it is truly one of the most profound experiences of my life so allow me if you will to take you on a journey I in many places and unknown as a storyteller a weaver of tales so when children come to see me they've seen everybody the psychologists the neurologists the medical doctor the pediatrician and usually I'm the dumpster I'm that last place where when everything has been excluded and people have decided a child is crazy they send them to me and in the pecking order of things where I work I am almost at the bottom of things so my job like a mad scientist is to find what the weight is that makes this child crazy most of the time if you will learn and learn well as an intern your job is to decipher when people say it's so here then it goes right down this way and then my toe is side it's because I didn't do my ancestors job and what does it says not have to do with the sore toe and I saw back usually there's no diagnosis in the book this is what it means to practice medicine in Africa when you are in psychiatry it gets really really worse when you work with children your job is to learn a completely new language so you need you ask and usually you use a language you don't even understand said happy not sure you're not a pretty lady are you married these are the things you get asked in a consultation the best of all though is working with adolescents tap eyes not available hello how are you so your job when you work with those is to really really break down everything you are a mind reader they say things usually it's grants you make sense of it so on this day let me take you on a journey I wake up in the morning I dress up I put my armor you see I'm a doctor off I go into the office I sit oh no this child again this file again oh my goodness this child has been everywhere finally they've decided she must come to me there's something wrong she's hiv-positive mom has died lives with grandmother has two other siblings defaulting treatment-resistant HIV what do we do in she walks hello hmm how you mmm so was your mom hmm is she here no why didn't you bring her No so I think you bring up the sumo wrestler I put on my armor where is your mother she put on her armor I take off my armor there are moments in time in medicine when you must read and read well off comes my armor so where's home courage is that Carlita which part fancy Oh sightsee okay let's go sumo wrestler toe into the car which part of Khayelitsha now I'm trying to act very soft yeah yeah turn left right and as we drive this big huge sumo wrestler disappears slowly slowly this child folds into herself she disappears finally into a small little shack we arrived this child who does not show me who she is steps out of the car and – little kid she's human she can speak my Miranda Johnny hmm i I walk I'm Lok Sabha no no in we walk McCool sweeping tired yeah when another tango oh boy because a Telugu toes are whiny me my mom and I got mono and mama I say I collect all of me into this moment Anjana mom tomoko-san de Penelope especially dissolve on Menaul Thunderbird Alabama a figure no mom I explained to her that I have asked several times that NOLA Tundra must come with her and still she has not come yo III I'm tanum didn't you in London we are as bellanger an equation 7 tanana London ooh mama Quilla waffle d7 Ababa bond 197 gsella born she says it's so easily I have grown tired I am tired of this child their mother died a long time ago I have grown tired of taking care of them yellow on California by Jonah Bob and Ron tis our firm Nava log I can she throws it at me she's the eldest of all of them she should be looking after these children I'm about to die oh my god in that moment I disappear for the first time I have walked into this child's reality for six months I have walked this journey with her why aren't you taking your pillows you need to take your pillows the HIV is gonna get resistant and then you're gonna have problems and I know you want to have children and if you want to have negative children you know and I'm talking like this and I'm hoping she's gonna get me and wrong in this reality how would she why would she want to have children she's a mother to younger siblings the only mother she has reminds her constantly your mother has died I will die you too will die if you do not take your medication I am stunned positive you will out of the story into real life HIV is a real problem there are many things that have advanced in HIV and HIV we have pills that make people feel better we have less illnesses but strange enough this is an illness that remains with us constantly now in science we are doing all we can to prolong life to make better lives in reality science is telling us not enough people are taking their medication we are lost in the quagmire of understanding a scientist where it is that the information falls off and never quite gets to the patient we are hoping that in 50 years we will have completely eroded this disease but based on the statistics it's unlikely why because compliance is the cornerstone of treating HIV and compliance is not happening slink back into my story I stand there completely stunned what do I do now I am a weaver of tales I am a weaver fantastic tales but these tales drenched with reality these tales are too hard to tell I look around this house it is so small there is no place where you could have enough privacy to do anything I remind myself of a conversation I had with her no loot Ando you keep coming to the hospital but you're still not taking medication her answer for the first time she enunciated clearly I come because this is the only place I can be on my own in this space I realize no adolescent would ever feel as though they can express no pictures no mother no father a grandmother who oh my god does so much but has no capacity to hold what is in her hands in that moment I realize in my hands sits the lives of this child these children this woman I look and I see there's a drum so in this moment I invite myself you mama internally no I I way to this is in test my opinion denies Allah mama your eyes alum denim una Ingo mama and I I ask do you have a song you like she pipes up yes we have a song I say which one you see it was my mother's favorite song it's my grandmother's favorite song and it is my favorite song too so I say ok I can't draw much but I'll drum using in this moment i prophesy in this moment i channel imagine if you can a grandmother standing on the one side of a riff a granddaughter standing on the other side of the left and the only bridge we have is that i I become that bridge I become that which meets in the middle of the refuge and brings them together so although I cannot sing I allow by drumming in the song I hope to awaken the spirit of her mother i oliver sembei who you loved by me before no back how easy same Zarzis me before no my honest answer shabu-shabu so much again loom shabu-shabu so much again i know your yoyo calibers mb high caliber zember we sing in that moment i discover this song is so very popular the sharpness of an x this world will be ruled by ends the song says your beer is the same as mine let me taste yours so you may taste mine what app onion song i think you

Glenn Chapman


  1. well done Dr Booi ,your love and passion for life is infectious and your approach in medicine is very refreshing .Keep shining bright star!!!

  2. Wow wow wow, such great story telling, articulation and intelligence in less than 15 minutes is ingenious . Where can I get her work?

  3. When Art, Words, Colors, Intellect & tradition…all come together to describe the harsh reality!
    Chapeau, Dr Booi!!

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