Wednesday, August 08, 2007

My Little WTF Moment

grumpy_manUpdate 09/08/07: Here.

Today is quite like other AMS working days, but unlike other peaceful times, today was marked by a little dose of WTF moment.

The story goes like this: Our supervisor wanted us to shadow (= tag along) an anaesthetist, and after some arrangement he decided to take me to an anaesthetist (call him Z) who's doing anaesthesia for endoscopy procedure. While the supervisor was bringing me to the procedure room, we met Z who's leaving the endoscopy area. My supervisor asked Z whether it's alright if I shadow him, and he said fine, and he would be back soon. The supervisor told me to wait at the procedure area, as Z will be back in a second.

So I waited there. Standing has become a routine for me for the past few weeks. I stand most of the time when I am in hospital watching surgeries and other stuff. At times I feel stupid as I can't do much in the hospital. We do so much waiting all the time, most of the time waiting for someone to come back while we are left hanging around, not being told what to do or expect, simply being useless. While I am waiting, I could just stare at a blank space, or sometimes I take out my PDA to do some brief reading.

After 5 to 10 minutes of waiting, he's not back and I had a call from nature (which happens quite often to my for some reasons). So I went to the washroom, quickly finished my business, and went back to wait. After some 5 to 10 minutes again, I decided that it was too long a wait, and I did what everyone would do - I asked a doctor at the receptionist area. The doctor told me that Z is already in the procedure room, and I can just go in there.

Me: Dr. Z?

Z: Oh hi! *walk towards him, who's prepping up the patient for the endoscopy*

Me: Is there anything I could help?

Z: You are late.

Me: I waited for you outside but you weren't back. Then I went to the toilet and waited again. You might have come back when I was in the toilet. (Can't really remember whether I said sorry at this point, but I did say sorry once at one point in this conversation)

Z: No I do not accept this excuse. This is a really bad excuse.

Me: Really I was outside... (I might have said sorry at this point. Again I am not sure)

Z: You could have come in and looked for me. Really if you don't want to be here you don't have to.

Me: I want to be here.

(Can't really remember what we said after that. The conversation stopped around that point.)
And he almost ignored me throughout the whole 2-hour session. He just talked to me twice.

I realize that I was partly at fault for being late, as when I came out from the toilet I should have just gone to the reception and asked about Z's whereabout, instead of assuming that he wouldn't have gone in within the 2 minutes I spent in the toilet. It's my judgmental error and I should really have done better than that.

However, I couldn't stomach the judgmental attitude he cast upon me. The way he looked at me ludicrously and almost sneered at me when he replied to my excuse, showed that he thought I was telling a very bad lie, or some sort of bad jokes. The remark "you don't have to come if you don't want to" was put in an extremely bad taste too. Just imagine, having stood and waited patiently for someone for almost half an hour, and all you get in return was a mean remark of "you don't have to come if you don't want to". Let's talk about intention and outcome, eh? We need more communication, doc.

Sigh. It's lucky that the majority of the doctors I deal with aren't that grumpy. Many of them are willing to share their knowledge enthusiastically and patiently. I won't keep this in mind for long, but I just hope that there will be less judgemental people in the world. Getting worked up for an innocent misdoing, and being judgemental towards people, is bad for oneself and for other people.

Update: After some considerations and some inputs from friends, I do think that I might have been responsible for the whole episode. Despite being innocuous, what I should have done was to say sorry when he first said "You are late" (which I didn't say until the second or third verbal exchange). I didn't say sorry at first because I didn't assess it as something requiring apology when he worded it, and also because of my recently acquired defiance of not apologizing when I reckoned something was not done intentionally. And that defiance has misfired badly, despite my apologizing later when he was already frowning upon me. For Z, I could have seemed like a delinquent student who's not apologetic despite being late, and hence deserved a good reprimand. And it's my fault for not showing my sincere, innocent, lovely facade. :P I shoulder the responsibility, admit my error, and would learn to say sorry in the future.

Image credit: 2point Portfolio


day-dreamer said...

Dr. Z did sound a bit 不讲道理 to me.

Hope your mood is not too affected by him. :)

crushedguava said...

he sounds like Professor Snape in books 1 - 7.

but Snape was actually a *gasp* good guy!

just joking haha.

not that i don't understand your predicament, but i just couldn't resist it.

i apologise.

sophisticatedsoul said...

This will somehow sound like a generalization. But I notice most of the time it is the specialists who act this way. I do not know what is fuelling this though - their self-assumed superiority or eagerness to teach medical students better?

Feeling said...

it must have been a bad day for u! anyway...

be happy! =P

youngyew said...

Hey thanks for the consolations. I am alright now. :)

sophisticatedsoul: I am quite sure the grumpy doctors we see today met grumpy doctors when they were students too, and wished that they do not become grumpy in the future. But a bad thing about getting old is when you are behaving improperly, there's no one to advise you - Just like if an emperor is being horrendous there's no one who dare to criticise him.

For my case though, I could have been at fault. So it's not necessarily the doctor's fault.