JUST TO BE HEARD… Jacob’s Story
Cock-a-doodle-doo! Alas! Its morning finally. Jacob heaved a sigh of relief. This has been the longest night of his life ever. He had kept vigil against his wish, for the third night running. He had tried all possible techniques to just get some sleep, but the strange cords that seemed to be pulling on his insides wouldn’t let him.
It was just 5am in the morning, but he was up and ready to move at the first sign of white in the dark sky.
Clang! Raymond startles as the metal cup on his bedside tray hits the floor. It had slipped off the tray as he tried to snooze his unfriendly alarm for the umpteenth time. He’s already had 6 hours of sleep but it felt like only 6 minutes. He hadn’t had the luxury of a nap in the preceding 48 hours to his now truncated sleep. He must freshen up and begin to move now if he must make it to the morning rounds in time.
It’s a Thursday, the day Raymond’s unit in the teaching hospital holds it clinic. The Gastroenterology unit through which Dr. Ray (as he is fondly called by colleagues and co-workers) is rotating has a rather strict man as its head – Prof. Richard.
Stop there you! Stop! Can’t you hear me? It was the security guard along the entrance of the hospital screaming down and flashing lights at Jacob who just made his way into the premises. Please I’m here to see a doctor, Jacob said softly. The security guard, now stricken with pity for Jacob whose voice ailed from days of forced alertness, directed him to the appropriate section of the facility. Jacob made his way slowly to the medical records unit of the government hospital as the skies began to clear every minute. Some 5 minutes later, he was sitting on a bench fully pleased with himself. I will be the first to be seen today, he thought to himself. If only he knew!
Dr. Ray! Good morning Bashir, Raymond greeted the porter hailing his name as he waited to use the elevator to the 3rd floor of the hospital ward complex. It was just past seven in the morning but Raymond couldn’t wait for the day to end already. He shook off the sombreness and consoled himself with the fact that he wouldn’t be on call duty today, and hopefully clinic duties won’t be too demanding. He did his rounds quickly and handed over the patient’s outstanding labs to his house officers, giving them strict orders to make it to clinic by 8.30am latest if they don’t intend to incur Prof’s wrath, after he had promised to deny seeing them at all, of course.
It’s been 30 minutes since the doctors arrived clinic but Jacob was yet to hear his name called from any of the offices. Yet, other names were being called one after the other. I arrived here first, he mumbled to himself. After another 5 minutes he returned to the medical records section to lodge his complaint of not being called in at all since clinic opened for business despite being the first patient to arrive. To his surprise, or shall I say dismay, his file had not moved an inch from where it had been all morning! Thanks to the officer who mysteriously left his file behind while taking the other 49 patient folders. Jacob was furious at this point, but he was quickly pacified by the record staff, he was promised he’d be called soon.
Prof summoned his resident doctors to his consulting room and instructed them to prep an Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy for the patient whom they had seen the previous day with massive vomiting of blood. He urged them to hurry with their clinic duties so they can all participate and learn from the procedure which he would be doing himself in another 3 hours. Dr. Kelani, another Registrar was excused from the clinic to ensure all was ready within the next 3 hours.
Raymond breathed heavily, here we go again, he mouthed. There goes his quick escape plan from clinic, and to add to all of that, Dr. Kelani’s quota of patient folders were now his.
Jacob was already halfway to the medical records section to complain again when Raymond called out his name, Jacob Ayesan! Jacob Ayesan! Raymond was already done writing ‘called not seen’ in Jacob’s file and was about to call the next folder when Jacob hurried into his consulting room. The now impatient Dr. Ray couldn’t hide his displeasure at Jacob’s hesitation to heeding his name. Before Jacob could offer an explanation to soothe him, Raymond was already asking what his complaints were. Jacob, now frustrated and a bit agitated managed a few explanations of why he had come. He had difficulty articulating his complaints. He had imagined a different scenario before he got here. He figured the doctor would be all smiling, crack a few jokes that would unnerve him before they finally got down to business of complaining – this Dr. Ray or whatever they call him doesn’t look the part at all, Jacob concluded.
Raymond was known by his colleagues as one of the nicest and warmest doctors who would take his time to explore every complaint of his patients until he finally makes a diagnosis. Raymond sadly couldn’t be his nice and thorough self today he thought to himself as he took a quick glance at the pile of folders lying on his desk. Safe to say, he was now racing against time.
Jacob was now making his way out of the hospital premises, feeling better than he came but not as satisfied as he expected. He wished he had more time to ask questions, and find out more about the ‘dyspepsia’ and ‘insomnia’ or whatever it was he heard the doctor tell him was the problem. Half-pleased, Jacob waved down a taxi and headed home.
At least he could now walk straight and he’d probably be able to catch up on some sleep. But what if the pains return, what if I do something wrong and it starts all over again, Jacob thought to himself…
To be continued…
Rounds – ward rounds conducted by the managing health team every day on admitted patients.
Gastroenterology unit – A department in a hospital internal medicine department concerned with issues of the gastrointestinal system.
Medical records – A department in the hospital concerned with registering all new patients and keeping/providing details of all patients
Porter – a non-medical hospital worker.
House officer – A fresh graduate of Medicine undergoing a compulsory one-year internship in a hospital.
Labs – the investigations or tests requested for a patient.
Resident doctor – A fully registered Medicine graduate undergoing postgraduate training in medicine to become a specialist in a chosen field.
Consulting room – A room in the hospital clinic where the doctor attends to non-admitted patients’ complains.
Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy – a medical procedure done to check the insides of the upper part of the intestine from the mouth.
Registrar – A junior resident doctor.
Dyspepsia – a vague discomfort in the upper abdomen or chest that may be described as gas,a feeling of fullness,gnawing,or burning
Insomnia – lack of sleep
Diagnosis – the name or condition a patient is being managed for (I have included this one so I won’t have to ever hear anyone say diagonise, making a diagnosis is represented by the verb diagnose)