Before I begin, I would like to thank my good friend Kunal Borah – The Kaleidoscopic Kanvas for tagging me and pushing me to write this post. He is someone whom I can genuinely call my Blogging Friend because I have never met him but we seem to somehow tag each other in our blogs!
So here’s my story………………………………….
I was passing by the room named TREATMENT ROOM in the hospital when I saw an intern bent over a patient. It was the surgery wing of the hospital, my favourite subject and I couldn’t help but peep in through the half open door of the room to get a better view. What I found very curious and rather disturbing was that the intern was bent over a patient’s mid section with his back turned towards me. As I got closer I could hear a sort of scraping sound. He heard me approach and turned to me, gave me a disinterested look and got back to his work. “What are you doing?” I asked timidly. “What does it look like I’m doing.” he said seriously. I couldn’t exactly tell him what I was thinking, Could I? “I’m preparing the patient for surgery by shaving his parts” he said rather rudely. It was then that I saw him using a razor to shave off the patients genital areas. “You have to shave the parts too?” I asked bewildered. “Of course dude…. We have to prepare the patient from shaving parts to pre op medications and everything “ he said. “And aren’t you late for your classes? ” he added grumpily clearly not very happy with my questions.
I was a 2nd year medical student back then. Up until the 1st year we had to only sit in classrooms without having to venture into the wards and talk to patients. Now that I was in the 2nd year we had the experience to interact with the patients. It was the time when we actually felt like doctors and we would be curious about anything and everything in the hospital. And here I was ,watching an intern prepare a patient for a hydrocele surgery, dreading having to do the same work 3 years later.
I decided to head back to the wards as the intern didn’t seem to be too interested in telling me about the surgery. At least he wasn’t doing what I thought he was doing. As I was going to attend the clinics, I shivered thinking about today’s class which was to be conducted by the Head Of the Department of the medicine department. To say that he was a strict disciplinarian would be an understatement.
I joined my batch mates around one of the patient’s bed. I looked around. There were 3 of my batch mates, 4 second years, 4 final years and 3 interns. So it was a party of 15 people. We were expected to take the case and present it to the HOD. I was always fascinated by surgery rather than medicine and so honestly I didn’t know what exactly today’s case discussion was about. After about 10 minutes, an aging man, with a shiny bald pate except for greying hair around his ears, gold rimmed glasses and dressed impeccably in a blue shirt, black trousers, dark blue tie and shiny black shoes made his way towards us. All of us froze, he was one of those who could make you feel you have done something wrong even if you hadn’t. We all wished him a loud good morning. He acknowledged us with a nod and stood in front of us.
There were 4 boys and the rest were all girls in our group. He looked at the 1st one and said “Have you come for a class or sports meet? Have you ever polished your shoes in your life? Is this the way you come to the wards? Ill give you 5 minutes, just 5. Polish them and come or else you’ll be marked absent for a month” The boy ran away. I looked down at my shoes and smiled inwardly looking at my shiny, freshly polished shoes. If he wanted, he could see his face in them.
His eyes then fell on the boy next to me and said “ Even our ward boy wears cleaner clothes than you, look at your apron, looks like you are a manual labourer, not a future doctor. Come back with a different apron in 5 minutes.” I knew my apron would be as white as the TIDE ad since mom looked after my laundry.
He next looked at me. I was waiting for him to praise my apron and my shoes. But rather his face became even more serious. I was wondering when he would look at my apron and shoes but his eyes never left my face. “You are a doctor” he said in a deep baritone stating the obvious. “You expect patients to come to you when you look like this?” I was wondering where this was going. “Back when I was a medical student if I came unshaven, our HOD would give us 2 rupees and ask us to shave.” That’s when I realised that I had totally forgotten about my weekend stubble. He just hated anyone who came to the hospital without a shave. According to him, it not only showed a person’s shabbiness, it also implied that they were lazy and he hated both of those. He then handed me a 5 rupee note and said “Buy a blade and shave and come in 10 minutes. If not you are kicked out for the next one month”
My mind was racing.I wouldn’t mind shaving and coming but to do it in 10 minutes was a joke. To reach the ground floor from the 5th floor of the hospital itself would take 5 minutes considering the crowded lifts! And what the hell was I supposed to do with a 5 rupee note?!! Forget a shave, getting a blade for 5 bucks would be a wonder. It was a gesture probably done to just add to the insult. I did the next best thing I could think of. I ran to the surgery TREATMENT ROOM and found the intern leaving.
“Can I urgently borrow the razor” I asked hurriedly
He looked up at me with an eyebrow raised “Why , students are not allowed to prepare patients”
“No, its for me.” I said and explained to him what had just happened in the wards.
“Are you out of your mind? Do you know the places that razor has been to? Its used to shave arm pits, private parts and even buttock areas?” he exclaimed.
“Ill change the blade,dip the razor in cidex and then use it” I said even though I didn’t like the idea at all!
He snickered. He seemed to like the idea just to go back and narrate the story to his friends in the hostel.
I went into the room, picked the razor, removed the blade, dipped it in Cidex, and found a new blade. I gulped and picked up the razor and began shaving myself without thinking about all the places the razor must’ve been to. I double checked to see that I hadn’t missed a spot. After that I attended class which was incident free.
It was my only shave related experience to date! And no, I still haven’t gotten any infection on my face and I’m always clean shaven even now when I’m a staff in the hospital!
Authors Note: I thank BlogAdda for motivating to post a blog on this topic along with Kunal Borah
I nominate the following bloggers to take up the challenge-