Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Day Trip with the Upper Echelons


半斤八兩 (1976) by 许冠杰

Today, I left my cookie-cutter daily drudgery in the Male Surgical Ward and went on a day trip with a trio of my bosses. We went halfway through our morning clinical rounds when one of my Medical Officers (or MO's as, we usually call them) tapped me out of the loop and asked me to follow him to a district outfit in Serian. I was to be part of a flash team comprising of one Surgeon, one Registrar, one MO and one House Officer out to deal with a sudden backlog of clinic patients and minor surgeries there when a consultant neglected to make his visit yesterday. I couldn't decide if being volunteered for the job meant that I'm one of the more reliable workers or that my superiors think I needed to be placed under extra invigilation. At any rate, I jumped at the chance. I'm not one of those talented toadies who can comfortably hobnob with the bosses, but it was a syzygy of the most benevolent ones in the department. That promised a relatively stress-free and educational day.

Coincidentally, the MO who asked me to tag along is the husband of my previous boss back in Obstetrics and Gynaecology - yes, the very one who supervised my maiden Caesarean section. I don't know about you but it always warms the cockles of my heart when I see outstandingly nice people end up together.

The road trip to Serian was about an hour long with scattered conversations about nothings. I brought up a hugely fascinating article I read earlier that morning before I head off to work titled: Why do woman menstruate? It was an excellent summary of a recently published paper on the evolution of the monthly feminine bleed. Did you know that humans, a bunch of primates, some species of bats, and the elephant shrew are the only mammals to regularly shed the lining of their wombs?

"So, you are a follower of Darwin?" my Muslim Registrar asked.

"Isn't evolution just a theory?" my Christian MO asked.

Wow. My mind instantaneously hammered out the appropriate answers. No, I'm not a follower of Darwin - I'm a follower of science. And the word "theory" in the scientific lexicon has a different meaning from its colloquial connotations. A scientific theory is a principle or a set of principles which coherently explains a body of data or observations, and can be used to make accurate predictions. Remember the germ theory of disease? The theory of evolution is just as established and proven as that. But I didn't turn those brainwaves into soundwaves. I seriously didn't want to start another endless creationism versus evolution debate so early in the day. Especially not with my bosses, both of which I'm rather fond of.

In Serian Hospital, we split the team. My MO and I went with the Surgeon to the clinic to deal with the 40 to 50 patients waiting there while the Registrar headed off to the operating theatre and got started on what we in the surgical biz term as "lumps and bumps". By 2:00 PM, we cleared the half-hundred and scooted over to the operation theatre to cut a giant tumour measuring 15 centimetres out of an 18-year-old's right breast, which was the last case of the day.

Today, I worked harder than I usually had to in the wards but it didn't seem that way to me. I think it's because feeling like you're part of a team with friendly senior colleagues who treat you with respect allows you far greater job satisfaction than being a human bedpan, waiting for shit to rain down at any moment - which is what working for some of the more malevolent, saurian and condescending specialists feels like.

Oh, Phoebe's coming on Saturday morning! On the ride back from Serian, my Registrar and MO helpfully suggested several places I can take her. It's good to have a week I can honestly look forward to.

An unlikely teamster,
k0k s3n w4i


nicoletta said...

ah, there are hierarchies everywhere. but it certainly does feel nice when people ignore these stratifications and treat each other as equals.

ap said...

can't believe you gave in to professionlism.... hey check out My Little Airport they write pretty fast lyrics

k0k s3n w4i said...

nicoletta: i can totally understand being warm and kind to one's underlings. what i don't understand is how people can act like assholes to their perceived inferiors. i don't think i can be like that.

ap: on your recommendation, i went and youtubed a few of their tracks (the most promising one so far was 浪漫九龍塘). if most of their songs sound like that, i may have just discovered my new favourite band. thanks! keep the suggestions coming. i like canto-music but it's hard for me to find artists i like. not being able to read chinese sure gets in the way.

McGarmott said...

"I seriously didn't want to start another endless ... debate ... Especially not with my bosses, both of which I'm rather fond of."

So now it's confirmed. You debate endlessly when facing people you are not fond of, hahaha.

ap said...

i'll gladly supply the translation(and the tracks too, email?) if u want, but canto-pop remains mostly a barren