Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Human Touch

As I lie awake, my sick son tossing and turning on his side of the bed, I grimly recalled what happened at the clinic a few hours ago.

Me : Hi, Doctor.
Doctor : Hmm? (Doctor's voice muffled by his mask)
Me : He's got sore throat, fever and cough.
Doctor : (checked the son's temperature). Open your mouth (shoving that big "ice-cream stick" down the son's throat).
Doctor : Got a fever, bathe him when you go back; drink lots of water, no spicy food; I'll give him bla bla bla.
Me : So, how do I know that this is just normal fever and not something else?
Doctor : Well... we'll never know if its H1N1. If he has breathing difficulties, take him to the hospital.

...and with that, we were out of his room.

"So what's the fuss about?" you might ask.
"That's how doctors are", you point out.
"They have so many patients waiting", you reason.
"Don't expect them to treat you like a primadonna", you finally say, rolling your eyes.

Never thought I'd say this but... I miss my doctor!

It's true what people say, you'll never know how important somebody is in your life until he / she is gone. My family doctor passed away in June, and I only found out last month. If I hadn't fallen sick then, I would never have known at all. In fact, if the locum had not charged me exorbitantly, I wouldn't have even asked the nurse where my favourite doctor was!

Me : Where's Dr. Nagesh?
Elderly Nurse : (mumbled something without looking at me).
Me : Sorry?
Elderly Nurse : (looking at me as if I was dumb) She passed away.
Me : What?! Oh My God! When?!
Elderly Nurse : (looking at me as if she wanted to kill me :P) June.
Favourite Nurse : I thought you knew...
Me : (How was I supposed to know? You still have her name on the wall! Hello?!) What's the cause?
Favourite Nurse : Heart attack...

I always tell my husband that she worked too hard. Everytime I go to the clinic - morning, afternoon, evening, Saturdays even - she'd be there. But although she worked round the clock, she never failed to give her patients what was most important - the human touch.

Ever the exemplary doctor, you'd never get a "hmm?" or "huh?" when you enter her room. It's always exchanging pleasantries, first ("small talk", I always tell my students :)).
"How are you? It's been a while since I saw you." she would gush, flashing a sweet smile.
Then we'd talk about the kids and my husband. Oh yes! She's his favourite doctor, too. Being a health freak, hubby would regularly do his blood test to check his cholestrol level and what not. Then, they'd spend hours talking about supplementary and all that stuff. Hubby always said that she was overly concerned about his cholestrol level inspite of the good test results. But I guess, he liked the attention :) ...

She's a hit with with the kids too, cooing gently to them and of course, those vitamins at the end of the consultations made her their favourite doctor.
"Who's going to make me well?" wailed the daughter when I told her the sad news. Er, that was a bit drama-queeny on her part....

As for me, it's her concern that won me over. I remembered when the maid ran away with her boyfriend, Dr. Nagesh sympathetically offered me and hubby MCs. I can attest, however, that we were really unfit to work that day. Hubby's blood pressure shot up and I had a headache. (Who wouldn't? BTW the maid is back working for my niece. God is great!). Truth is, she was very 'stingy' with her MCs - I would only get MC if I had fever. However, she told us then, that these things happen and that was the least that she could do to help out.
Now you know why she's our favourite doctor?

Well, life must go on, with or without the doctor. I'm sure she's in a good place somewhere. As for me, it's going to be a LONG night...

1 comment:

50 and living it said...

Hi Noreen,

What wonderful blogs...Congrats and keep it up. Guess I will be catching up with you via ur blogs when you are overseas completing your studies.
Hope your son is better now...