Sunday, 23 February 2014

But Seriously....

            It was still early days of my rotatory medical internship, after graduation , and the enthusiasm would drive us young interns to work more than 24 hours a day if it was possible. So when the Orthopaedics posting came along,I was excited to be a part of a new stream. Accordingly, me & my co-intern had assembled in the room of our Unit III Boss, Dr P.C. , eager to give our introduction , and start off work with broken bones , with his warm wishes ! But the events in the initial five minutes had woken us up from the rosy dreams , and made us feel uncomfortable. As his sarcastic , " so new interns , eh???? High flying after passing MBBS, right?? Come down , come down to earth ! " greeted us , even before we had given our names, we realised , this was gonna be one "serious affair". 

                   Thus began our ordeal of a month with Dr P.C, who had made his scowl his patented greeting norm . I was instructed to wait at the gate of Block 3 of my hospital , and escort him to the ward every morning . This resulted in one of the most unique experiences for me, as well as the patients , who had known me by face from presence in other wards. A phone call at 9:30 AM informed me that he was on his way , and he needed to see me at the gate at 10 AM . I got there 5 minutes early , with the guard saluting me as always. But the wait continued, and as I stood there ,patients &  Medical representatives passed by , greeting me with a bamboozled look! After a while, I got up on the window ledge , right next to the guard's chair , and started doing introspection . Here was I , a junior doctor in the hospital , seated on a window at the gate , waiting for his Boss. I wondered what the guard was thinking. When Sir finally arrived a cool 45 minutes late, he looked at me nonchalantly , with an air of supremacy, took off his shades , and proceeded towards the wards , without a whiff of apology . Ideally , I would have had him tied to a pole, and got him shot at by a firing squad , but on the exterior, I had to be polite, with a "yes Sir! " to all his nonsense ! 

I've a hobby of photography, so at times, I do carry my DSLR camera with me to the hospital. Since it's an expensive one, I do not keep it in the duty room, and have it on my shoulders at all times. Now, this isn't exactly an act of terrorism, or killing people around, but Dr P.C indeed found out a reason to berate me. In the ward, he demanded, " what's in that bag?" 
"Sir, a camera!"
" Camera! Why??" 
The devil I me shouted out " to click your bald scalp , you old hag", but I said, " to click photos, Sir. I would go out to click photos , around Kolkata, after work today." 
" click photos?? Are you a Doctor?? Or a cameraman? Or a journalist ??" 
I looked down and started admiring the polish on my shoes. There were at least a hundred replies fighting to get out of my mouth , but I checked myself. 

Our mandate was to sign our attendance register, between 9-9:30 AM , every morning , come what may. On one morning, I was there at the Emergency, struggling to revive an accident patient , and didn't manage time to go to the Unit Room to sign . When I turned up at 10 AM , Sir had already marked me absent.
The ensuing conversation:
 "Sir, the patient was about to die!"
" you're late."
"Sir, I was alone at the emergency" 
"You're late to sign."
"Sir, I couldn't leave him and come to sign ."
" you're supposed to sign on time.go back to work !" 
I left , cursing him so loudly in my mind , that I feared that he might have actually heard it!

In the Operation Theatre, there was once a case of a broken elbow that needed to be repaired. I was enthusiastically dressing up in gowns , hoping to assist , as we generally do in operations. However , as I was asking for 6.5 size gloves to the sister, he overheard me , and told me, " you don't need to wear gloves. Just see how it's done!" I clenched my teeth, remembering how other interns happily assist the senior surgeons in Operations. The 'seeing' part could best be done while assisting , and seeing from afar was a part of our undergraduate days . Dejected , I stepped aside . But instead of explaining anything, Dr P.C and his assistant started doing everything themselves. After trying to peer through their tall structures to see what was being done, I gave up. It seemed Sir had forgotten my existence ! So me and my co-intern started looking at our mobile phones  for something else to keep us engaged, realising no way was I going to see the operation. But just as luck would have it, there was that rasping voice, " What are you doing there?? Come here !" our phones had already disappeared into our robes. I walked back to a spot behind them, with Sir still scowling, and once again started looking at the texture of the green OT gown on them . It was common sense that if two people were poring over an elbow, there doesn't remain any more space to see anything else. But try explaining it to the tyrant! I was stationed there for another one hour! 

Once, our unit had the Rotational Sunday duty. So after completion of 12hours duty , while returning, I informed Sir of all the events of the day, and the patients admitted. Since it was a Sunday, there wasn't much work, and the number of patients was also less, so Dr P.C said he would be coming over late the next day, and I need not come early .
Early next morning , at about 8:30 AM, I was woken up by my phone ringing . Rubbing my eyes, I made out it was Dr P.C calling. A very drowsy me took the call. On the other end of the line, it was his irritating voice , " I'm reaching in 10 minutes time. Wait for me at the gate."
 I was shell shocked. I said , " but said I need not come early today, so I'm not yet ready!" 
"Ok, then get ready and come fast , within 30 minutes!" 
I breezed through the morning 'rituals' , skipped breakfast, and in 40 minutes, was huffing and puffing up the stairs, when I met him. " Sir......" , I panted ......he looked at me and said, " oh, you've come?? Ok, I've done everything without you. I'm leaving now ! " I stood there transfixed. My brain was telling me to grab him by the throat ,and tear his head from the torso, but I managed a wry smile, and said , " Ok sir,thank you!"
A real stinker came when my eldest cousin was getting married. It happened that our unit was having the admission day on that day, and we were due to be on-call for 24 hours. But I had arranged for a replacement , and asked him to grant me leave from evening . He eyed me suspiciously , asking, "Why?" 
"Sir, my closest cousin is getting married"! 
"So?? YOU are not getting can't go!" 
I was again on the verge of having the top of my head about to blow off like a volcano, but I persisted, "Sir, please, I've never taken a leave, and even today , I'd be there till
"Listen , this is your duty in a hospital . You can't leave! Weddings will happen all the time."
I was flabbergasted at his reasoning . But at last, I declared, " Sir, I must go today ....but I was just hoping for a permission . Now, I'd have to go without permission , I believe" . Astoundingly , he granted permission that day , which I believe was the only time in the past 50 years that he had done something good ! 

So, here you met Dr. P.C , my orthopaedic Boss, who fell headlong into the category of people , who have made it a mission to make life difficult for people around them. He could make a living out of harassing people just for the sake of it. I truly believe he needs a break, else he might lose it real soon! 

( name has been changed to protect the identity)

written as part of the Condition Serious Hai contest by 5 Star. you can find out more , on their Facebook page here


  1. Nicely penned..really hilarious ( tough painful for his co-workers :-P )..

    Please do check my post..

  2. Hi Titas, have you recommended that a Cadbury 5 Star hamper be sent to Doc forthwith? ;-) Nice post, Good Luck.

    1. Thanks for reminding Lakshmi! I had forgotten all about sending it :P

  3. I know how tough it is to work with such a khadoos boss, but you have very nicely narrated it in the most humorous way! All the best for the contest!