For the whole of Oct, I’ve been to the doctor, 3 times, and medical expenses easily spilled over SGD$100. 🙁
The first time was when I felt a cold coming. You know, after having lived your life for some time, you get attuned to what your body feels like when a cold or a flu is coming. So I went to the doctor at a chained clinic out of convenience; truth was, I never like the doctors there. It really was out of convenience just cos I was in the mall and running short of time. I stepped in and told the doctor that I think i’m catching a cold. He looked into my throat for less than a split second, and said, no, he thought that the swollen eyelids and pain on the forehead suggested that it was my sinusitis at work. I agreed and left. The next day, I began to have running nose all day long, and the medications didn’t help!
[Side note: it’s not the first time young doctors gave me wrong medications or wrong diagnosis. The most exaggerating one was when I walked into the clinic telling the doctor I suspected I had mumps. The doctor said it’s very rare for people these days to have mumps. But after inspection, he agreed with me. After 2 days, the swelling neither went down nor puffed up. So I went to my favourite old doctor. He said, “My dear, you don’t have mumps lah. It’s inflammation of the wisdom tooth“. So there I was, hanging on to the pain and eating the wrong medication for 2 whole days.]
To continue my present story – so after 2 days, I went to another clinic, this time round to the doctor I really like. I like old doctors, because, have you noticed, they are more endearing – they actually talk to you like you do matter, as a whole. This particular one (like other older doctors I’ve visited) literally noted down that I am a singer (not cos I am a singer, he noted down the occupations of my friends too), and always starts a conversation like “so are you still singing?”, “where do you sing these days?”. It can get boring trying to update someone whom you see only once in a blue moon, and whom you think would probably forget you after a while. But I was wrong (Will explain below). In any case, I’ve come to realised that small chats like this IS a service. I think most Singaporeans do not understand or know that genuine small talk (without selling) constitutes a service – be it at the doctors, dentists, or supermarket check-outs, shops, etc. Of course this does not translate to good service unless he gives the right diagnosis and medication, and he always does.
The 3rd time I went to a doctor was entirely my own doing – I faltered off on the antibiotics toward the end, and my cold developed into a cough. With just 2 more days before 2 important performances come up, I had no choice but to drag myself back to a doctor (this time round to the old doctor near my residence). Why do I say that knowing small things like occupation is important? Knowing that I’m a singer, he automatically tells me that I should neither sing nor over-use my voice during these 2 days as doing that would irritate my throat and cause me to cough more often than necessary. I also have to keep out of exercising to make sure the body does not get stressed up and hence slow down the healing process (he volunteered the information, probably thinking I belong to the vain industry haha). Ta-dah. Knowledge does make a difference in doctor-patient relationships, and also in the type of information dispensed.
I have often wondered why only the older doctors connect so well with their patients. Was it something that was taught in their era of medical schools, or is it because the new generation of doctors just did not find it necessary or gasp, find it awkward? (Afterall, we’re used to communicating with strangers behind our keypads of whatever sorts.) Maybe it’s just me, but I feel that even their physical touch is different.
This post is not to discriminate against young doctors; afterall old doctors were once young doctors. I just hope that it serves to spell out how I feel about the different generation of doctors, and probably inspire young doctors to realise that your medical skills are much revered, but if you talk more to your patients, perhaps your patients will be more loyal to you, and you may also discover more things which will aid your diagnosis. Just my 2 cents. For now, I’m going to be a good patient and faithfully follow up with my antibiotics – on time.
I’ll be back on form for the Singapore Hit Awards 2011’s Promo show at Laselle College of the Arts this Sat, 29th Oct, 2-5pm. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, IC and Contact no. for free tickets! You can bring your friends along too. See you! 🙂