Chapter 5: Just another day!
It’s been over a month since I began working in the hospital.
People who’ve read my blogs on the hospital series are intrigued after reading the stories. They come up to me and tell me how fascinating my job looks. But as the old saying goes, ‘The grass is always greener on the other side’, everything is not as hale and hearty as it appears to be.
There are days where I have seen extremely disturbing situations, to the extent that I have had the urge to leave the hospital at that moment.
Hundreds of people visit the hospital daily to get their treatments done. Unable to afford even the basic cure in other health care centers, they wait for hours to get their disease treated. Some people travel long distances to reach this place as it provides facilities and cure with minimal charges. They even pack their lunch in boxes and eat in the hospital if it is going to take time.
Last week, I had two patients(women) coming to me for dental checkup as they complained of constant tooth pain. Both in the second trimester of pregnancy, I read their health files so as to get a detailed history of their systemic condition. One of them was a widow and the other unmarried, living in an NGO as they were disowned by their family. I enquired about their pregnancy and the drugs they were taking for the same. Coincidentally, both of them were ignorant about it. They didn’t even look at me while answering my questions. It was as if they presumed I was being judgemental about their status, like the others had been. I prescribed them the required medications and then they left.
That incident left me disheartened for quite a long time. I was just doing my job, I said to myself. This was just one of the many examples of such situations.
While attending emergency patients, there are people requesting me to get them admitted so that they can sleep on the casualty bed for some time. I realize they can’t afford the basic needs, but I can’t help them with it. Relatives of the patients sleep on the floor of the corridors when the patients are inside the ICU (Intensive Care Unit). It is tough working at a tertiary medical center as there are innumerable patient’s with HIV, tuberculosis and Hepatitis coming for dental treatments, exposing ourselves to higher risks of getting infected. There is a taboo surrounding the disclosure of their status with the fear of being neglected. As a result, a lot of patients do not reveal their health profile.
I receive calls for emergency cases at any time of the day, while having lunch, while sleeping, while out for a movie, at 3 am in the morning, where I have to maybe suture a lip or the chin or even the cheek sometimes. And I have no option but to attend to the patient. My number of social outings have considerably gone down. I prefer sleeping, whenever I manage to grab some time instead of going out. I spend most of my weekends in the hospital reading a book or watching a movie on the laptop or imagining life beyond this premises.
There are times when I am doing dental check ups and treatments for five to six hours at a stretch, forgetting to even have my lunch. I don’t remember when was the last time I have slept until late on Sundays or went out on a Saturday night for a party or on a long vacation. But I had an idea about the disfavors and demands of this job. And I was wholely prepared for it- mentally, physically and emotionally, without any remorse!