Both my parents were doctors and their dispensary was attached to the house where we lived. So I can honestly say that I’ve been in a medical environment from the day I was born.
After getting my medical degree, I’ve worked in a whole range of hospitals. From municipal dispensaries to a government cancer facility; from charitable trust hospitals to teaching medical establishments; from small nursing homes to large corporate institutions. One common factor across this diverse assortment of medical organizations is the staff hierarchy.
More pertinent to this article is the fact that the doctor is always at the top of the pyramid. I say this not out of conceit or pride; but as a statement of fact; that is just the way it is.
Which is why, when I was lying in my hospital bed, and this tiny slip of a girl in white orders me to open my mouth, my jaw dropped more in amazement than obedience. The swift insertion of a thermometer snuffled out any chance of a retort that my throbbing head could come up with. With my lips pursed powerlessly around the instrument, my brain had recovered sufficiently to realize that speech was not going to be possible for the next minute and a half. Time to move to plan B. Widen my eyes into a glare and try to hurl the thought forcefully across at the perpetrator: ‘DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?!”
Now you may remember that I was admitted to the hospital with a chronic subdural hematoma. Which meant that a large blood clot was pressing on my brain. I strongly suspect that this clot had shorted a couple of my neural circuits. For it was painfully obvious that the scowl I was attempting to deliver was woefully lacking in wattage.
In previous years, a look of even half the intended magnitude would have had most nurses trembling and on the verge of tears. This one simply gave me a pitiful look and proceeded to pick up my left wrist. While I continued to glower at her, my mouth clamped on the thermometer, and my brain desperately trying to crank up the power, she calmly felt for my radial artery, and, pointedly looking at the wall clock across the room, proceeded to take my pulse.
It was only when she started to take my blood pressure (without so much as a ‘Please, may I?!’), that the emotional spike I had was now on the way down. There was this uneasy thought developing at the back of my mind. Gradually snowballing into focus. Star Wars…what had that got to do with it?…Darth Vader…What’s he got to do with this… Oh my God…
I’ve crossed over to the Dark Side!