A 50 something woman came in through the door and sat beside the doctor’s table this morning. She wore a sullen face, and smiled slightly when her name was read by the doctor. She paid her attention to the doctor, telling her about the recent blood investigations. She nodded, smiled sheepishly and made promises that she would follow the doctor’s advice. She didn’t look uneducated, but she didn’t look like somebody so sophisticated either.
The meeting ended with the woman leaving, after saying thank you to the doctor.
A young energetic man came in, with complaint of hamstring strain due to the football practice he had yesterday. He was limping, and his eyes winced when the doctor palpating the sore muscle. He walked out the door and went back inside, asking the doctor for medical certificate. The doctor shook her head, and he insisted, and she explained the reasons of her not giving his leave is due to the condition not severe enough for a sick day.
He argued, claiming that the doctor didn’t understand how he feels. She smiled, bitterly and still refused to give him due to the mild condition. Plus, he’s working in an office and isn’t required to do any strenuous heavy lifting or activity using the lower part of the body.
He left, shouting cursive words to the doctor as she resorted by giving him a time slip to rest before he returned to work.
A girl stepped inside the door. Her face was wet, might be she just only stopped crying. She looked at the doctor, her face was evident of fear. The doctor talked to the parent who accompanied the girl while the girl watched the conversation cautiously. When it was time for a proper clinical examination, the girl screamed and shouted with tears streaming down her face. The doctor was sympathetic, but she couldn’t just leave the girl unattended. What if there’s something that she missed? What will be the consequences? What will be of the girl who seemed active enough, healthy enough to see a doctor in her practice? Will her condition deteriorate if she missed it? Will she recover without consequences?
After a whole lot fighting and screaming the doctor could finally examine her throat and given her the proper medications for the common cold she had protracted. The parent thanked the doctor and patted the back of her daughter.
There were a whole lot of almost similar situations every day in my life.
I worked at a clinic as one of the medical officers. I encountered 30-40 cases a day, ranging from ordinary common colds, to the elderly who messed about their diabetic medications and ended up being hypoglycemic all day, to the occasional emergency situation like kids needing nebulisation, or pregnant mothers battling eclampsia.
I didn’t hate my job. Working in clinic, is not as busy when I was an intern back in the hospital. I didn’t adore my job too, it’s just what I think I was taught to do. I don’t know what else can I do other than treating sick people, and monitoring the normal healthy ones. I tried to think of one thing, just one thing to do if I ever got out of job (it is very unlikely in my country! unless you are in a very frisky situation), and I never found it. I couldn’t find any job that I liked to do other than being what I am today.
During my early days as a doctor, I learnt a lot. I was posted in a medical posting, one of the most crucial discipline in the medical world because it was so vast and general, yet very confusing to some, including me. I learnt how to take blood, setting up intravenous drip (after learning from the staff nurses), and adjusting beds (this is not our scope of job, but hey it doesn’t hurt to learn, especially when you are left alone with somewhat fussy patient!). There’s so many knowledge that I gained inside and outside of the hospital walls, and now that I’m currently working at a primary setting it’s actually worth it.
When you’re in a hospital setting, it is not a primary care. People in hospital usually dealt with complications and that’s why they were admitted in the first place. I used to think that people hated it, or just not compliant to the medications, or maybe, might be just the incompetence of the medical practitioner there. My attendance in the hospital, just a few of them usually like to blame the primary care GPs because they think they had not done enough. Sometimes they pointed fingers and mocked what the GP tried to do in the first place before the patients were send to the hospital. Back then, I was not affected but thinking back, I should actually back the GPs up.
I didn’t know how vast a GP job is. For some people, they thought being a GP is the easiest part of becoming a doctor. When I actually worked as a GP, it’s far from being easy. Who else would have to emphasize on the compliance on medications to most stubborn patients, who else would have to deal with minor illnesses as common cold, runny nose and sore throat and hoped for the best that it was only common cold and not something more peculiar?
I have to deal with difficult patients too sometimes. This kind of patients were usually here just for some excuse to be late at work, or just wanting some escape and requesting the doctor to provide them a medical certificate (which here means they can get a day off). I don’t know about how your health system works, but here we doctors are very particular about who we’re giving a day off to. For me, I would defend my MCs if it’s not as serious as what the patients want me to believe. I’ll give time slips, just for the clarification that the patient DID come to the clinic and meet the doctor. On the plus side, they would get another four hours of rest before they are required to go to work. If I were them, I would ask for a time slip and not a day off, that would be in my record book.
I already heard stories about employees being sacked due to too much sick days in his record. They were just simple cases, like flu and mild stomach ache, and some days you got to have that extra day of holiday just because all your compulsary off days had been used. So, they pretended to be sick, maybe just saying to the doctor that they had stomach ache, or any headache.
But, I had ways to know how they’re lying. I can’t enclose them here.
However, I didn’t hate my job.
Yes, it’s a desk job, and there were no more hustle and bustle around you like how it was in Emergency Department. There were no very sick person just like how it was in the wards.
I’m dealing with healthy people with chronic diseases, the occasional common colds, follow ups of pregnant mothers and asthmatic children.
And so much more.
But it was never a boring day in my life.
The most boring day in my life was when there were so few patients due to the festival season, and people hate to come during the holidays to the clinic unless they are very very ill.
I enjoyed my job. Who else can encounter the same situation everyday, but with different people with different attitude and knowledge. All of them are unique. I can’t manage someone exactly the same as I treat someone else with the same disease. They might need reassurance, they might need courage, and I’m glad to give them some reassurances that they are going to be okay.