Friday, January 30, 2009

Between Dirty Greasy Hands and Clean White Coats Part V

Previously on Between Dirty Greasy Hands and Clean White Coats: Still haunted by Nad's leaving, he was bedazzled with a lot of difficulties to pursue with his dream to become someone savvy in medicine. He later abandoned his study in knowing human anatomy and continued his pursuit in something else, until he realized into what he had then became. But then it was already too late - he stranded at a point of no return. His destiny became a question: Will he end the way Nad did?

* * *

A hundred fifty-two over a hundred and twenty eight. In numerical form it looks like this: 152/128.

Not quite something medical practitioners would love to deal with when they check someone's blood pressure. Especially in a 21 years old man.

"So what's the problem, really?"

She didn't even look at me when she uttered the question.Her eyes were anchored at the form she was filling in. The room was cold due to the air conditioning system, or because they had to lower down the temperature in order to preserve the body covered by white bed sheet on a bed next to mine. The clock on the wall showed 3 a.m. in the morning, and lying on a bed in a chilly room with a lady doctor on your right and a dead body at the end of your feet was not something I really enjoyed doing, not in a very long time.

A panel on the wall read 'Emergency'. Who took me here anyway? Oh yes. I blacked out.

I looked at the body at the end of my bed. There were some blood stains on the sheet that covered the body. I assume she died on the road. Why she? Well men don't have such obvious growth of lumps on their chest, do they now?


This time she was looking at me. The table lamp behind her shone onto her back, creating such effect like when you stand behind a spotlight, making edges of your body shine but your body stays in silhouette. Her clean white coat added to the effect even more dramatically.

"I don't know. I just fell." I hoped my reply will satisfy her. I was not into medical chat, at least not with a cold dead body at the end of my feet.

"Look here," she said while showing me the form she was putting her attention into just now. "152/128. Do you know what that means?"

No I don't. I do not know how to read a blood pressure index and compare it to the normal human BP. What am I, an infant?

But being egoistical won't do as much here, so I succumbed into her game by simply saying 'no'. She later explained all the sunshine and rainbows on BP reading while I listened to hear carefully just to make sure she knew what she was talking about. By observing her, I could estimate that the lady had either just made it out fresh from med school, or had just finished her housemanship. She seemed stiff and awkward, and a little bit grumpy too. Perhaps it was due to her changes of hormones, or just because of a jerky boyfriend.

"Your BP peaked. Your eyes were sore when you got in. What's wrong?"

"Nothing. Probably I was just too tired."

"You're BP was suicidal. What's the problem? You're having hypertension."


"You are young. How could your BP peaked this high?"

Maybe I was breaking down. Or I was having a goddamn heart attack. Or a carpal tunnel syndrome. Or a systolic cardiac event. Or probably I was just in labor. What's wrong with you, woman? Do I look like someone who wanted to talk about my problem? I'm having a headache here, would pressing me on will do me the favor?

I looked at her in silence. In a way or another she was quite a beautiful woman. Long hair tied into a simple pony tail with its end lying on her right chest, straight nose, a bit cheeky, long chin and pretty eyes - those feature got to me fast enough, but I should remember what happened when I last dated a medical student. She noticed that I was staring at her so I looked away, in pain. She let out a small sigh.

And then she stood up from her chair and walked out the door into the next room, leaving me with once her patient and not anymore. The solid wooden door closed slowly, making a small thud when it hit the door frame.

I pulled myself up and tried to sit on my legs. The headache was still there but my eyes were alright. My legs were cold and painful but I didn't really bother to know why. The smell of antiseptics and meds were killing me already. Let's just hope the lady in front of me didn't die because of the smell, nor she will wake up and tell me how she died. The air conditioning unit rattled on and off, making the atmosphere inside the room became more and more horrifying.

I looked behind me and there were some bottles and sheets, nothing else. There was an old, curiously looking cupboard at the end of the room behind me, and a pair of mops. At the other end there was another mobile steel cart.


I turned around in a flash, shrieked like a girl who lost her doll in a mud pool, and jumped like someone who gets the paddle shocks, nearly falling down from the bed. It was the door just now, with the lady doctor trying to hold it with her leg. A steel pail fell off when the door hit it just now, hence the noise. In her hands were two cup of drinks.

You smart ass. I almost shit myself.

She walked to me and handed me a cup from her right hand.


No. Not at all. Why don't you do it again? Show it to me one more time, doc.

She smiled and then pulled a wheelchair next to her table close to the bed. She asked me to sit on the wheelchair and I did. As I made myself comfortable, she patted on my shoulder and pushed the chair towards the door and out. It was brighter outside in the waiting hall than the attending room, and I felt much better. The hall was empty but for two people who were sitting at the end of the sitting row. Both I knew very well - they were my next door neighbor and my roommate - and both were sleeping soundly like a baby.

She stopped the wheelchair by the counter and handed me my wallet and a bag of medicines with written instruction sheets. She then walked to the end of the corner to wake the two sleeping beauties. Since there was more light in the hall, I could see her clearly this time. Around 170cm tall she was, with a slim figure. She wore a pair of dark colored jeans and a blue t-shirt under her coat. She wore a black colored pair of comfortable shoes, and she walked calmly but confident.

As soon as the two woke up, they greeted me and fetched me up with their car up front at the emergency department porch. The doctor lady sent me off to the porch and left me with my roommate while the neighbor boy went to get his car. I didn't even bother to thank her but my roommate did. I didn't know why I was all too grumpy that night. I didn't like her. More specific, I didn't like doctors. Not at all, not anymore.

Probably Nad's case did change me a lot.

When we left the hospital compound, I saw her standing by the counter. She smiled a bit and waved goodbye, which I didn't reply any of them back. I gripped the medicine bag tightly and let out a small sigh. Then I took out the instruction paper from the bag and start reading it, just for the sake of filling my own time since my roommate had gone back to sleep in the front seat while the neighbor boy was enjoying the slow music from the radio.

The instruction ended with 'If the problem persists, please refer back to us."

But there's another thing. There was this small piece of post-it note attached at the signature of the attending doctor. On top of it was written in red ink, 'Sorry if I was too nosy'. What crap? Why did she even bother to say sorry? How could a practitioner got too emotionally attached to the patients? I pulled off the post-it note in disgust to take a look at the signature and stamp, and with the help of the street light I managed to read them off in a glance.

Dr. Nurul Nadiah Bt. Mohd. Hussein
(MBBS Manipal)
Pegawai Perubatan
(signature, 'Nad')

Nad? God, You've gotta be kidding.

1 comment:

IRA said...

2nd nad? hahah what's next?another love story with another medical student? ;p