Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Talk About Attendants

The Talk About Attendants

There are people in this world who ask stupid questions designed for cheap irritation. I have found that the frequency of encountering them is manifold more within the hospital than elsewhere. Also, at times the belligerence coming along with that botheration is remarkable in an unwelcome manner.
A few days ago, in the Emergency, one fellow demanded for a polythene cover for the X-rays done on his patient. My junior told him that such a thing was not available as the authorities did not provide it. To that, the person made a sore face and raised his voice in disbelief to ask, “Why?” The intern smiled and replied, “Because it is not a grocery shop”. That witty answer unfortunately was ill-received and was the final hit on his choleric disposition. His scowl challenged an impromptu glare on the intern’s face and he mouthed a few expletives while retreating. His vicious behaviour was simply unexplainable. He was not in any sort of emotional turmoil that could mitigate our disgust at his irascible theatrics. His friend, who suffered a few injuries and received prompt treatment, was an equally foul youth. The two of them landed in the Emergency after their 200 cc bike skidded into a drain after an ego-driven failed attempt at outpacing a car around a busy traffic corner. Both of the youths were half-a-decade younger than my intern. An aged ward boy came up to me and remarked that a few slaps on their faces have remained due for a long time in their lives!
          The point about pugnacity and spitefulness having been made, it is the turn to consider some cockamamie legends! “Where is the payment counter?” You tell them that it is in the ground floor and they will ask if it is located below! Likewise, if you tell them that something is in the third floor, they will ask you whether it is above the present level or below it when they know that they are in the second floor!  There was this one fellow who even after being explained that the third floor was above the second one, waited for some more explanation! He just raised his eyebrows as if he understood nothing and then hurled the next question, “Is it just above this or the topmost!”
There was another fellow attending to a diabetic post-operative patient who first asked, “Can my patient eat an apple?” I told “No!” because his patient had just come out from the operating room. The fellow nodded as if he understood well.  Then, he returned after ten minutes and asked, “Can he eat rasgullas!” I was peeved and horrified at the same time. I told him with real emphasis “No! He can’t eat anything because he will vomit it out”. The fellow nodded and took my word like a divine commandment. I thought that settled it. But, I was mistaken. He returned after another ten minutes, as if he were programmed to do so and asked “Can he eat a bedona?” This time I realized the futility of any logical talk. I told him to draw a bedona. He complied and drew something round. I was none the wiser about what that thing was but I made a grave face and told him “Definitely no! This may kill your patient. Very harmful stuff! Such a round thing!! Bedona is bad!!!” And then I murmured to myself, rubbing my chin and looking thoughtfully to the floor, so that he could hear me and understand bits and pieces of what I was saying while he was following me for, as usual, more explanation. “…reverse peristalsis…aspiration….pneumonitis…” and thus I slowly distanced myself from him. The fellow was scared. Only technical terms could have inspired such terror. Maybe his patient won’t get to eat bedonas for a lifetime!
The real problem is the expectation that the doctor must explain every silly thing to the silliest detail! And when everything is told, some of these people are still not satisfied! They pester you till you grow red with frustration.
I have tried to pry into their mindset for some time now. I don’t expect to be totally rational with my analysis. I do it out of compulsion, to vent my frustration!
I quantify my opinions about the people in question thus:
1.     Insatiable and misplaced curiosity
2.     Unceremonious and unsought bequeathal of all responsibilities
3.     Ever eagerness to escape at all opportunities
4.     Perennial suspicion
5.     Monumental expectations or possibly the absolute lack of it
6.     Constant scrutiny to detect any fault and malicious delight at any success in this objectionable operation
7.     Delirious reaction to petty complaints of their patients. As for example: “Doctor, my patient keeps scratching his whole body all the time” (The patient in question has been an in-patient for a month and he was never given a bath or even the more convenient wet body wiping by his crazy attendant, the problem being compounded by his own reluctance, for this whole period!!) Expect only scratching then? “…Doctor, my patient only sleeps during day hours and not at night time!!” (The patient in question is bed-ridden round the clock and dozes every alternate hour. Besides, the attendant himself is asleep at night!)
8.     Watching their patient like a disease-processing object, always looking for any tell-tale signs of any new disease that may originate any moment!
9.     Unexplainable disbelief about anything turning for better in so much so that they will repeatedly question and cross-check about it from doctor to doctor. They cling to this disbelief in the same manner as they expect their patient to cling to his or her disease!
10.            Never ending gossip with fellow attendants about disadvantages of hospital stay and Herculean efforts on their part to overcome them.

These are only ten among the many that could have been enlisted. However, I fail to judge whether I have unduly exaggerated or inordinately down-toned my conclusions.


drmohsinrohman said...

i think u sud writ a book / sumthin lik that!4 da benefit of future,generation of doctors,so that de can b equiped wid a few witty answers! n perhaps 4 da attendants too,but i fear wheader dos morons wil ever understand,at least dos absolute ferocious,venomous words u used!1 solution cud b lik,u can publish it lik...4m simple words to more absolut amplified words,starting wid lik.... 4 imbecil's , 4 moron's , 4 idiots ... n so forth!!!!!!!!!!!!
2 conclud.. u r almost dr,but s far s my horizon can xtend,i m prety sure,u never ever wil b able 2 absolutly describ dos.....??????
see i 2 dont hav words 2 describe dos....????

But bravo! u hav da guts 2 tak da challange urself n hav depicted a gud scenario!!!APPLAUSE!

Rov said...

Thanks Mohsin D for your kind words! :D

Dr.Mayurakshi said...

The 'bedona' incident is very funny, dada. Very well-written. The saga of attendants' antics is never ending. Once I was on night duty in med unit 4 which is adjacent to gastro ward. So, when an old lady had UGIB in gastro ward, I had to manage it before informing the MO on duty. The lady's husband came to the embarrassing (for me) conclusion that I was 'the' doctor who will be the one to cure his wife! After that even during morning duties in unit 4 that man used to come to update me about his wife's recent condition, much to the amusement of the senior professors and pg students who witnessed it!!! Despite informing him that I was just a mere intern and not the doctor he should be talking to, the old couple continued to stalk me. I wanted the earth to open up and swallow me when he overlooked Sangeet Dutta Sir to ask me a query! I took to hiding behind doors and sneaking into bathrooms to avoid them after that.One month of hide-and-seek.