Its been a minute. A part of me feels I should say sorry for ‘abandoning’ this space. I’m sorry. A big thanks to those who checked on me, I appreciate. I’ve got no fancy reasons but I’m back here.
While in med school I met this interesting fellow. I can’t remember how we got talking but I came to find out he was good at writing, poems and word games (Zazu remember our 2go game days?) We were chatting recently and I told him its been a while I read anything from him, and he should write and share something. Semi perfect Isoko man that he is (lol), he graciously agreed.
Bio – Runaway writer, adventurous reader, Tried out the writing thingy a lil over 10years ago and never looked back (apart from an occasional glance or two).
Writes stuff he likes to read.
He abandoned his web space here
Enjoy the read.
DOCTORS ARE HUMANS TOO
BY OGHENEUZUAZO ONWAH
Today I called an old patient.
I know it’s pretty uncommon: patients usually call doctors; but I did. I had to.
Actually I called a number of old patients who had chronic illnesses to check on them, especially since they had missed their appointments for a while, but one particular call stuck with me for a while.
So I dialed Mr A’s number, and it was a female voice I heard say the obligatory “Hello”.
After I explained who I was, she told me she was Mr A’s wife, and asked why I wanted to speak with her husband.
Well, said wife is not my patient, so I couldn’t tell her, as per confidentiality. Instead I politely insisted I would speak with Mr A, but I received the shocker of the day when she told me her husband had passed on.
Honestly I wasn’t expecting this. Of course I knew this was a possibility, but somehow I was still blindsided.
I felt really sad, but I was wary of passing on my sadness to the bereaved wife, so I apologized profusely and offered my condolences before ending the conversation.
Now, in medical school one is taught a lot of things, and one learns a lot of things. It is hoped that these two ‘things’ intersect somehow, (and many times they don’t) but there are so many other things that one just has to learn on the job.
Doctors are humans too. We sometimes get attached to patients, especially when those patients are under our care for a while. Doctors grieve too, or are supposed to as humans, but we’re also supposed to provide comfort, and sympathy.
I remember once during my internship, I had an elderly patient pass away in my arms, literally. His daughter was just around the corner, and I was tasked with breaking the news to her. Young doctor that I was, I just didn’t know how. This wasn’t in our syllabus; it wasn’t in the NUC curriculum.
Somehow though, I don’t remember exactly, I told her. She was shocked, didn’t really care about my shaky voice, so she pulled me be the arm to her dad’s bedside to confirm that this wasn’t a joke. When she saw he wasn’t responding, and having no other relative around she turned to me and hugged me, sobbing quietly. I had no idea how to respond. I looked around, but help was not found so I just let her lean on my shoulder. All I could mutter was “Sorry.”
If I had wanted to sob for the patient, who would I have turned to? What if I couldn’t offer her the consolation she needed?
Doctors are humans too; we have feelings. We may hide them, but they exist.
We cry, we laugh, we get angry and crazy. We’re professional, but beneath the white ward coats and thick glasses are softly beating hearts that feel what others feel, and eyes that can cloud in grief or sparkle in delight.
So the next time you want to berate a doctor for seeming so stoic or automated, remember the human, and say hi instead.
When I read this I just smiled. This is one of the topics I don’t like talking about. Or an offshoot. Despite being one, I sincerely do not like talking about the Nigerian Doctor. It evokes different and mixed sentiments both from the doctors themselves ,their patients and the public in general.
I remember my internal medicine rotation as an intern. It was my worst. If the crazy hours I spent on my feet didn’t do it, the helpless chronic cases or death certification one was called to do would just leave me drained. Literally. It was the period I saw so much death. I couldn’t wait for that posting to end. In that period I knew I could never specialize in that area. I realised how one could slowly loose one’s patience, empathy, feelings. Some once said you’re meant to be a superhuman, triage and move on. Hmmm. Not the easiest advice.
It was during that rotation I saw a young doctor who had been exposed to some harzards on his first post nysc job die. He was his mum’s only son. Having recently experienced a dangerous pin prick incident myself and being my Mum’s only child, that hit home!
I would not sign off for people’s mistakes, lack of character, incompetence and all other negatives. But doctors are humans too.
You can take sometime to know the human, maybe that way you might remember the human,not the wardcoat or scrub.