Saturday, February 20, 2010

Padi and Jagung

A series of recent encounters have got me thinking of what professionalism is. To me, professionalism is not just about applying knowledge in our job but also about being passionate. It is also important to use the knowledge that we’ve gained to help people. Within a year as a medical student, I’ve encountered people who were passionate professionals and also people who were to me, excuses giving and money minded.

Encounter 1: Orthopaedic Arthro team
As I’ve had this pain and ‘click’ feel on hip extension occasionally for the past few years, I’ve decided to seek medical advice during my ortho posting. This Indian registrar that I approached did not hesitate to fill in a form so that I could have a pelvic and hip xray taken. After that, to be safe, he referred me to the specialist, who VERY patiently listened to my complaint and examined my hip, while teaching his registrar the technique to detect a ‘quadriceps tendon inflammation’. He then wrote a referral letter to the physiotherapy dept so that I could have an ultrasound anti inflammatory therapy, which I defaulted due to sheer laziness. But the point is, these doctors didn’t have to do all these but due to their professionalism, they willingly did them.

Encounter 2: Loratadine
Other than ‘quadriceps tendon inflammation’, I’ve also been suffering from allergic rhinitis since young. So I had this handsome doctor examine my turbinates which he said were hypertrophied but still pink. So he prescribed me some loratadine. It was 2pm and the doctor’s last day in the hospital (I think) but he patiently explained to and examined me and rouyun while smiling!  Then after my med finished, I went back to have my prescription renewed and saw my supervisor. She welcomed me and asked what she could help upon seeing me. I was happy and grateful until the kerani kewangan ( ?financial clerk) refused to do a process to  entitle me to free med because my letter to certify that I’m a student was outdated. (But I was wearing a white coat and a name tag and I told her my supervisor wanted to prescribe me the med!) Luckily, this doctor in my supervisor’s clinic called the clerk and asked her to do it. But she didn’t do as the doctor said and I was turned down at the pharmacy. To cut the long story short, I eventually got the med but not through the aforementioned clerk but a clerk from another dept. This is an example of red tape and rigidity of the jagungs( explained below).  A few hours later, my supervisor was so nice to ask a friend to call me to ensure that I’d gotten my med.

Encounter 3: Eyes
A series of events led me to the misfortune of buying a pair of (seriously)overpriced and substandard no standard specs from S.S. optical. My power was over estimated and my eyes get tired and vision blurs easily as a result. I’m hypermetropic when I wear the specs. When confronted, the shopkeeper( Im not even sure if she was a registered optometrist)said it was ‘all in my head’. What a lame excuse to cover up her mistake. I had to have my power checked by another optometrist, so I approached the one in my hospital, for 5 times. I’ve had a patient complain that a staff was breastfeeding while working and I suspect it was this optometrist as she was carrying a small kid. She was incredibly unfriendly and was chatting with the other pembantu kesihatans the 1st few times I approached her. She said to ‘make an appointment’ as she was ‘very busy’. But i’d time constraint and frankly, did not see the point of making one when she was so obviously free during all of the times I approached her. The last time I approached her, she was choosing make up brought to the clinic by a PK to sell. I had no choice but to approach a doctor. The doctor was very busy on the phone talking to one of his patients who did not turn up for his/her appointment. He agreed immediately to check my eyes as I had floaters for a few years. He dilated my eyes and checked for retinal detachment with slit lamp, some prism which can visualize my retina til ora serrata, B scan and another tool which I forgot the name. I had virteous degeneration by the way. The point is, the whole 40 minutes from when the mydriatics were applied, the waiting time for my eyes to dilate, the examining time, the ‘busy’ optometrist was looking at the make ups and chatting with the PKs. This is what I call the more ‘berisi’ a padi is, the lower it bends and the more tak berisi the jagung is, the straighter it stands. Something like that lah. Meaning the more knowledgable a person is, the humbler he is.

Lessons of the day:
1. I am grateful for all the wonderful doctors, my regular optometrist in ipoh who helped verify my power, the overprice-ness of the new glasses and the sub-standard of it, and the clerk who helped do the ‘fee exemption process’ for me.

2. With a single incident of faulty specs being so distressing where it necessitates so many trips to the substandard optical shop, my regular shop and the hospital optometrist, it makes me realize the responsibility I will bear in the future. If a relatively small matter like this can be so distressing, imagine what - a disease misdiagnosed, a treatment wrongly given, a preventable death not prevented because of human error- can cause! Therefore, I must be extra diligent and careful when I practise next time.

3. The same old thing, “the more the padi is berisi, the more it bends’. This is so true. That’s why people talk about the Little Napoleons syndrome. As a future junior doctor, I hope that I will not become one.