Sunday, May 15, 2011

"The hospital experience"

I'm in love with hospitals! That's what I realized yesterday. I, love hospitals! I love almost everything about them. And I haven't even worked at or been to any of the high-end ones with modern, state-of-the-art facilities.

Hospitals are these huge systems, they're giant, well-coordinated machines. They work on well-oiled practices developed over the years. There's this camaraderie, this working relationship - friendly, good-natured, gossipy, but never invading others' privacy (well, at least not too much!), amongst everyone. From the doctors, the nurses, the patients, to the mamas, the canteen-wallas, the pharmacist, the store owners, there's this shared aura around everyone of having lived what I call, "the hospital experience".

There's glamor in almost anything associated with a hospital. At least to my mind's eye, there is. Though, I do understand that many of you might be disgusted by most of the things in a hospital. But I'm still at the stage where I feel like I'm an over-excited kid with his shiny new remote-controlled car (which for me is my hospital). There's this high I get from walking into a ward, and knowing I belong there, even if all I do is collect blood. As a student, I still wasn't quite part of the hospital, I was part of my college. So this is like a brand new world I've entered as an intern. And oh, it is so damn brilliant.

There are all these tiny little things that you can come across only in a hospital. There are beds in all the wards for the doctors and nurses to sleep in on their night shifts, and there are stoves to make chai in the mornings. Which other workplace has that? Then there are these washbasins with soap everywhere, because that becomes a basic necessity. There's a canteen/mess with all these doctors having meals at all odd hours of the day, either stuffing food before work, or tiredly gobbling something after. There are these humongous, slow-mo lifts, which are almost always overstuffed with patients. And there's always, always a temple in the complex. And it hosts poojas at regular intervals and every person on the premises gets prasad! Then there are always tons of forms to be filled everywhere, by both doctors, and patients. And yes, there is always, always, someone awake all night in a hospital!

I guess these are all the things I can remember right now. But there are more, I know. You can leave the ones you think of in the comments.

And then, of course, there are the patients. They're the biggest part of "the hospital experience". They come in all kinds and ages and varieties, each with his/her own story. They're fascinating, to say the least. If you take time to stop and notice them. Almost everyday, there's a great new story in the hospital.

I often imagine all the waiters and delivery boys in hotels surrounding any hospital would know it in and out, since they probably get tons of orders from the hungry people who are working at the hospital, especially in the night. Now imagine, you're a delivery boy working at a hotel, delivering food to people's boring doorsteps everyday, and then, one fine day you get an order for "Dr. So and So, Trauma Ward, OPD building, XYZ Hospital". Then you would go, apprehensively, with your parcel, and after much difficulty, when you reach the trauma ward, what do you find? A ward full of patients in various states of consciousness, blood spilled on the floor, most patients with lots of tubes attached to them, a lot of hustle and bustle and a lot of white all over the one has the time or energy to even notice you. After few minutes of waiting, you would finally call out for the Doctor, and then he would materialize out of nowhere, in scrubs or in a white coat, and take the parcel from you. Now tell me, wouldn't you (the delivery boy) be in awe? Wouldn't you? I totally would. I would go home and tell my family this brilliant story, it would be the highlight of my day. I would have been part of "the hospital experience", even if for a few minutes.

In hospitals, there's always an unspoken protocol to be followed. Hospitals work, no, thrive, on hierarchy. Everyone is answerable to someone, everyone has someone whose orders they have to blindly follow, no questions asked. The interns are, of course, on the lowest rung of the hierarchy. We do the most menial and the least skilled medical work, have to suck up to everyone else, listen to and/or laugh at their mostly bad jokes, and tread carefully everywhere we go. Insult a senior, and you're doomed. Insult a nurse, and you're beyond doomed. That's the way things work. Don't disturb your senior unless it's an emergency. Don't order the nurse around. Don't shout at the mama. Wish them all good morning with a smile when you come in, and your day should go by noticeably smoother, trust me.

As you can see, living "the hospital experience" teaches you a lot of things, both medical and non-medical.

Well, this post has basically become a prolonged, disconnected, ramble. Suffice to say, I am living and loving my "hospital experience" to the fullest these days, and I have developed a writers' block as well. But I needed to post this. Maybe I will rework it later on.

As of now, I hereby end it abruptly.

Do let me know how you are living up your "hospital experience"?


  1. hehehhe...dis just explains y did v ever enter medicine coz d hospital is practically a second home to us! 2 b honest I am stil not in love with our hospitals,especially wer v work...ders just way too much politics and bitching,and we are as u rightly said so low on d hierarchy dat v actually tend to overwork ourselves on work dats not rightfully ours!

  2. This is the awesomest post EVER!! so freakin truee! love the whole canteen guy enterin trauma wala thing..brilliant..! i cud go on myself on al d things i love abt d hosp experience!! Like,running in d dead of d night for blood reports,xray reports and ct reports..knowin there r surgeons waitin for u to return, so that they cn start slicing in ;D "Insult a senior, and you're doomed. Insult a nurse, and you're beyond doomed." killer.really killer. !

  3. AWESOME!!..dis is too gud...dis is exactly hw i felt aftr my emerg..oh n i wud lik to add fm my "hospital experience"..goin to d CT Scan at 3 in d night wid dogs barking behind n radiologist in front to sedate a patient who jus cant seem to keep his head steady :P..n walking on empty,silent n dark floors of opd building towards d bld bank n nt feelin e1 a bit scared coz as aayushi sed,its my hospital n i belong there :D

  4. Well, a good write that!! could relate because past whole week I had been sitting in the space for relatives and guests outside the ICU of a big hospital... trust me the stories of pain and happiness keep spilling... each experience shared teaches spmthing new about the life..

  5. Ur getting really good at sarcasm!

  6. Most definitely because we are always up and about in the hospital. It's so much like a world in itself, walled off from the city and its life, that when I go home at 3:00 am from a shift, I tend to carry the 'safe' feeling outside the hospital too!
    Another thing I loved is the college postman and his job. Cycling around the premises,delivering letters to the professors, doctors, nurses, principal. In my first clinical year, I would greet and smile at everyone he would greet and smile, because he knew the who's who. :D

  7. hmm.. docs like hospitals and the lives of peoples are saved there

    But I really don't go near hospitals or even docs even when I am sick. I am always to be pushed by parents!

  8. Love love love this post! And I also find the fact that someone is always, always, ALWAYS awake in a hospital at whatever unearthly hour it may be, very comforting. I absolutely love the smells and sounds, too! The ventilator beeps all night, you can smell the phenyl at 3 AM becoz the mavshi's been mopping the emerg room floor grumpily and then there's the artificial light that wont let you know if it's actually 8 am or 8 pm. It's always a busy place!

  9. Hey, great job.
    good that you love hospitals, and yes, things are the same in every medical college hospital, the government ones at least.