Wednesday 18 March 2015

Observations from a hospital

#WriteWhatYouKnow & all.

In random order.
Senior male docs are referred to as Dr [Surname] or [Surname] Sir. Senior female docs are referred to as Dr [Firstname], even by themselves.
Juniorish docs referred to (across genders) as Dr [Firstname].
Nurses are never Nurse [Name] just Sister or, increasingly now with more male nurses, Brother.
The family references also apply to the orderlies, who are Maushi or Maamaa, never their names.
Interesting that those lower in the hospital pecking order get to be more senior 'relatives.' So it's amusing to see, say, a senior nurse addressing a younger orderly as Maushi, and being addressed in return as Sister.
And older patients in bigger hospitals get called Madam or Sir. In smaller neighbourhood hospitals: Aunty or Uncle.
(Must sadly confess that the nurses in my neighbourhood hospital call me Uncle. Or rather, them being mainly Malayali, Ungle.)
Also, while the nursing profession seems to be attracting more men now, the Malayali dominance continues!
(On a recent Kerala trip, I had this happy feeling of being in familiar territory, though I've barely spent time there. It was only when I was in hospital recently did it click together: that's the only other place where I have been surrounded by thick Malayali accents!)
The ironic thing about being in hospital as a patient is how you become part of the furniture. Staff around you discuss the details of their personal lives without inhibition. You're just .. background. Like the water-cooler, or the photocopier. Not a person. And, at the same time, you are understanding them as people, individuals with normal concerns & hassles, not their job functions.
Right then. This is your Ungle signing off for now. Gotta go to the hospital for post-op follow-up visit.