dicks_and_dickheadsDicks & Dickheads

I Have Known

The Memoirs of a Pox Doctor

by Leo Laden - Cartoons by R. Stein

ISBN 0 85905 215 X, (1991, 1996 and 2009), Soft Cover, 168pp, 230grams

$22.00 + POST

Written by a doctor who wanted to be an artist and illustrated by a dentist who thinks he is an American Civil War soldier, this book is funny, irreverent, honest, provocative and at times, very sad. From the desert sands of Aden to the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia, Dr Leo Laden records some of is experiences in a witty and easy to read style.

It covers his time as an RAF Medical Officer during the last days of the British Empire, and his family's migration from Cornwall to Leonora. There he performed his first and only post-mortem.

The move to Perth involved becoming an ersatz psychiatrist for several years, although the book concentrates on his thirteen years as a venereologist at Perth's VD Clinic.

Originally planned to be just a record of the funny aspects of work as a pox doctor, the arrival of AIDS changed everything.

The ramifications were enormous as AIDS appeared to single out homosexuals, just at the time when they were being encouraged to "come out the closet" and flex their political muscle.

Our political leaders were terrified of appearing to discriminate against homosexuals. Instead of what should have been purely medical decisions to deal with the AIDS epidemic, policies were devised by bureaucrats, politicians, armchair doctors, academics and the new breed of non-medical AIDS "experts" and the mismanagement continues.

Dr Laden has now retired from medicine and spends a lot of time collecting, restoring trading and shooting antique firearms.

He is also in demand to give his very amusing talks about the funny things that happen at the Pox Clinic or as it has been aptly renamed by someone else who knows the truth, "the greatest cover up since the condom."