Hospital rules state that visiting hours are after 4pm. However, it’s become the norm to see relatives wandering the wards at 7am, badgering doctors about blood tests and God knows what.
So as we attempt, rather feebly, rounds in the ward, we realise that there is no escaping the constant rath of the relatives that accompany the quite pleasant older patients who, in contrast to their offsprings and spouses, appear to be largely harmless.
Their requests are diverse in nature:
شلون تحاليل الوالد؟ – والله يسلمون عليك
شنو هل رقم؟ – ذهبي
ناطرين صارلنا ساعه دكتور – جذاب الساعة ٨:٣٠ توك ياي
ما نبي نطلعه، اسبوع الياي؟ – مادري فندق مو مستشفى
I know what you’re thinking “but Abdulla, those arent unreasonable questions!” to which my answer is CORRECT, but not at bloomin’ 8am when im just walking into the ward, coffee in hand and rubbin’ the sleep outta my eyes. I havent even SEEN your parent yet, how do you expect me to know how his bloods tests are, or what number you’re bloody pointing at on that sheet you brought from Thailand, or to take your false complaint that you’ve been waiting an hour first thing in the morning??
Then of course they start complaining about the delay in discharge summaries, and medications from pharmacy. Thats when I had had enough: ward doors to be locked from 7-12 until we finish our rounds. That way, we’d be ready for any weapon those armies were willing to throw at us, as any test *usually* comes back to us by 12..ish..
So yesterday, the porter (my guard) opens the door for the nurse, only for an old man to sneak through in a very Metal Gear Solid sort of espionage manner. Quite impressive actually. I approach the man and politely remind him that he may visit in an hour, and the conversation goes like this (translated in English):Me: “Can you come back in an hour sir? We’re still doing rounds” Relative: “Well, im here now” “Yes, but the door was locked for the patients sake.” “Well, what about my sake? Im an elderly man” “Im just asking you to wait for an hour at the coffee shop below, or to come back later in the day Sir. Ive asked all the other relatives, and they’ve complied” “Well, theres an exception to every rule.” “I see. So everyone complains about lack of rule enforcement, but when it comes to you, they dont apply.” “Dont be so stubborn son, I can just go and speak to the hospital manager about these ‘rules’.” “Im not the one who’s being stubborn here. You are breaking our rules for your own sake at the cost of patients time, and on top of that the time it will take you to hobble over to the manager and back here, the doors will be open anyway.” “Wheres room 3?” “Find it yourself. Im not surprised our country is going to hell when we our parents, who are supposed to be an example, are raising us to ignore rules for our personal gain.”
Not all the patients / relatives were like that, surprisingly so. One patient actually agreed to let his mum (who was on a wheelchair) and his sister wait outside, where they sat on the floor and started chatting for 15 minutes, an image forever seared in my brain.
We need change.. Boy do we need change..