Thursday, March 5, 2009

of patients and being patient

So yours truly spent today (technically it's yesterday since it's past 12am now) in the company of sickness, disease, and doctors.

ie, I went for my hospital attachment la!

The one thing I learnt, or realised, from this attachment, was how easy it could be to lose oneself in the humdrum daily life of treating diseases, and consequently lose sight of the most important thing: the patient.

Somehow it seemed to me there was an unspoken rule that once patients stepped inside the doors of a (cough*government*cough) hospital, he had signed a contract to relinquish all rights to his body, and to his feelings.

I was somewhat disturbed by the fact that everyone else in the ward seemed to be of importance, including the (obviously) doctors, nurses, and yet-to-be-seen pharmacists. Except for one glaring omission: the patients themselves!

Imagine this.
You're the poor patient who had the bad luck to be chosen as the case study of one of the many medical students infiltrating the hospital you're lying in. 'Your student' comes to you, with 7 or 8 other students, and a lecturer. He presents his case (that's you!), what happened to you, what the diagnosis, and what is going to happen to you. Unfortunately you don't understand half of what he's saying, and somewhere along the road you catch a word or two that you DO understand. But the word doesn't sound fact, it sounds bad, even to your layman ears. Just when you're starting to wonder if there's something the doctors are NOT telling you, the lecturer gives orders to the group of students to press on your chest and prod your stomach. One by one, they come up to you, and without making eye contact, they probe and prod your body, exposed and open for all to see. You feel some pain, but you're reluctant to say anything lest it starts yet another round of probing and prodding. Then, the lecturer gives your chest a final prod, and proudly announces the answer to a question you weren't even aware of, to all the students. You feel tired and want to sleep. But the people around you seem not to be aware of this fact, despite you yawning, lying down and closing your eyes. The never-ending voices go on still, and at a certain point, you feel your gown lifted up, to be given yet another prod. You decide to ignore this, and continue to close your eyes hoping they'd go away. But they don't....and so you fall asleep amidst the chatter.

Then, two people, obviously students (and you're starting to wonder by now, are there more students in this building than patients anyway?!) come up to your bed, and start copying and muttering to themselves. You don't know what they want. Then suddenly, as if remembering something, they say they are pharmacy students. PHARMACY?! you think. AREN'T MEDICAL STUDENTS ENOUGH TROUBLE FOR ONE DAY?! You want to go back to sleep, but it is difficult for you to do so when you're aware that there are people standing in front of you, and you're afraid they'll laugh at you if you start to snore and sleep with your mouth open with saliva dribbling down the side of your mouth. So you stare at them, and they stare back at you. You don't know what to do. Look at them cannot, sleep also cannot. You hope they would go away quickly, but they stand in front of your bed for the next two hours. Then your lunch comes, and you eat. But as they're still copying the papers, the stare at you eating. And you would swear you saw one of them swallow hard, and stare hard at your food like he was going to snatch it from you. You continue eating as fast as you can. Fortunately, they leave you after a few minutes. You slump back on the bed, lunch forgotten. And you think to yourself, why is it more difficult to be sick than it is to be healthy!

Okay. No offence to any medical students or doctors reading this. I understand the roles and responsibilities you have, and I have no problem with that. I know you're just doing your job, and that, in this case, is to keep the patients alive, kicking and healthy.

I just couldn't help feeling sorry for the poor patients.
And I swore to myself, I would either take care of my body well and live a long and healthy life; or die an early death to avoid being put in a hospital.

Of course, I am also aware that I have to visit hospitals to have babies, but that is another story for another day.

I have no problems working in a hospital as a pharmacist. I just don't want to be in the hospital as a patient.

And today, as I stepped into the wards for the first time, I had this sudden urge to cry.
I felt so sorry for all the poor souls lying there, helpless, ill, and feeling like sh*t.
I feel sorry that they have to go through all this pain.
I feel sorry for them because I know some of them are not going to make it through the week.

Oh well.
Hopefully I get over these feelings by the time I graduate.
If not takken I cry everyday I go to work meh?


milochel said...

my patient scared the crap out of me and boks while she kept staring at us...

then i decided to ask her for her weight and went "erm auntie, boleh kita tanya sikit soalan?"

Her face immediately lit up.

i guess she jz felt lonely and out of place.. and really needed someone to listen to her..

she kept telling us about her medication... etc... tink she's pretty compliant...