Tuesday, February 26, 2008


A doctor cum blogger friend related to me an incident which prompted me to write this entry. A husband and wife (patients) sought treatment at his clinic and remarked that he looked uncannily familiar and upon epiphany, they realized that they had seen a picture of him at his blog! The couple, too, happened to be bloggers. Now, such coincidences can be utterly embarrassing especially for us doctors. Imagine having patients coming to you and say, "hey I know you! You run that so-and-so blog isn't it?"

It's a bit like being superstars and having fans stalking you up, only that you're not artists but just someone whose profession requires you to mingle with people, all kinds of them. We've read how artists loathe the idea of their fans wanting to pry into their private lives, their personal day to day activities. No doubt, we, doctors, do not run our lives glamorously, but still, we have patients who think doctors as super humans, who do not get sick as it's beneath them if we, who treat their illnesses are not immune from them either!

Once, when I was working in a relatively remote area in Penang, I managed to get one of the kampong ladies to cook for me. She was a bit daunted initially. The reason being that she had this naive notion that we, doctors ate a different kind of food to delight our palates, compared to lay-men! When I told her that I actually took rice as my staple food, she relented and it vanquished her preposterous idea!

I've had patients who upon consultation on the methods of contraception would at the end ask me whether I practice any contraception myself and what was my choice! Blimey! These people are so blunt to even think that I would divulge such a personal info to them, lest the news will spread like instant bush-fire: "do you know that Dr A uses IUCD and Dr B had just gone for a tubal ligation?" So each time I get such tactless questions, I would dodge them or just answer obtusely that I don't practice contraception and let nature takes its course!

What's worse is when a male patient puts me similar queries or making remarks that can make me awkward, like :" You've lost weight doctor, taking slimming pills eh? Reductil or Duromine? or " Look at how the doctor maintains her figure, you should follow her", a male patient telling his wife who has grown rotund through out the years I've known her as a patient.

You see, in a doctor-patient relationship, doctors are extremely privy of many of their patients' personal issues, be it health, emotional etc. As doctors, it's a medico-legal crime if we expose a patient's info in whatever form out of the four walls of our practice. On the contrary, patients are not obliged into any oath in keeping whatever info they have about their doctors, confidential.

So just imagine, if these patients of mine, get to know about this blog. Essentially , they would be reading stuffs relating to my personal feelings, opinions and routine activities which I prefer to be under wraps. Next thing you know, they'd be referring my cats by their names! So should at any point, I get patients coming in and telling me that they read my blog, I'd then seriously consider to cease blogging or blog incognito! If one day, on typing my blog's url, you get a 404 error return, you know why! I'd probably then blog as 'drWho?' , with a blog named "Running Into Oblivion"

Saturday, February 16, 2008


They say a friend can make or break you. How true! All my life I've garnered friendships of all kinds, some being truly memorable, yet others were simply one-off acquaintances that never touched a chord. Being married to someone who deeply treasures friendship and still maintain them right through primary school days and with heaps of friends made via various organizations that he partakes in, I am privy of numerous good tales of special friends and also sad stories of friendships gone sour.

When we were overwhelmed with hubby's illness, last year, we came to realize that we had friends who really cared. Friends who would go the extra mile to make your day. Sincere friends with big hearts who simply mean the world to you (you know who you are!), these are the sort of people you'd love to be surrounded with, in sadness and happiness. We thank Allah swt, for bestowing us with such kind souls.

Sadly, all are not bed of roses. In the midst of all goodness, I have encountered unfortunate incidences that proved to be mind boggling, nevertheless. One is about hubby's very close buddy of yesteryears, a senior, whom he developed a strong camaraderie whilst involved in campus politics. In fact, when this friend had begun working, hubby continued visiting him, cementing the bond further. Later, due to work constrain, they lost touch. However, recently, few years ago, hubby chanced upon him in a big hotel, apparently attending an important political program of sort. He was in a great hurry, it seemed. Like all long lost acquaintances, hubby was overjoyed and ran to greet him. Alas, the joyous reunion was short-lived, when the friend didn't reciprocate hubby's jubilant excitement. he had to rush to an important meeting, he said and can't talk long. Still unperturbed by the lukewarm response (suam-suam kuku, as the malays says), hubby asked for his mobile number, to rekindle old friendship, perhaps. But heck, guess the guy's reply? He forgot his number!!! (Hey, kawan! Kalau tak nak beri, cakap tak nak. Tak payahlah beri alasan tak diterima dek akal!) I believe the guy is now holding a high post in the government and holds a datuk title even, but does that warrant him to discard old unimportant kuchirats like us??

Another close friend of hubby, also now a datuk gave us a similar cold treatment. This friend, who is now a renowned proponent of some big issues (sorry I have to be cryptic here, lest you savvy guys out there could guess the person easily) and holds the helm of an NGO body, happens to frequent the same mosque with my dear dad. One morning, dad pointed out to us, the friend's big double story luxury bungalow with a black BMW parked in front(I need to exaggerate to be dramatic!), when we passed by it. As I knew hubby was very close to him, I perked up and coaxed hubby to make an impromptu visit (yes, me and my big plans!). Thus we went visiting and oh boy, did we regret doing it in the first place! We rang the doorbell. First, the maid came out. Then the Datuk's mum. Datuk was upstairs, taking his bath. We chose to stay outside, hubby at the gate, the rest in the car. 10 minutes passed, still no sign of Datuk. Finally after a very long wait, we got the drift and told his mum to just send our salam to him! Up to this day, we are still baffled by the incident and gave all sorts of positive reasons to why he made us wait. In Islam, you're not supposed to have bad suspicions of others, what more to an old good friend. Perhaps, he was down with a bad headache or maybe he can't recall having a friend by hubby's name. Hmmm...anyway....

I could go on and on. About an old friend who when inquired by another, can't remember hubby at all and to think think that hubby was his best man at his wedding!! Sheesh!

Really, I would personally be submerged with joy and excitement should I have the fortuity to meet old long lost friend. I would hug them and maybe shed a tear or two, depending on my hormonal level then, :)). Then I'd bombard them with 101 questions to update myself about them. And oh! I'd give my mobile, house and even my office numbers. No, I won't pretend to have sudden amnesia to suddenly forget my handphone number! Yes, that's how happy and gleeful I'd be!

We've learned our lesson. Old friends may not be as cool as they once were.......

Bukit Tinggi 2008

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