About 3 years ago I went under the knife and the experience forever changed my perception about doctors.
I think the incident qualified me to be the proverbial “horse” and now you can hear it straight from the horse’s mouth.
I was wheeled into the operation room at exactly 7.00 am, on 20th February 2014. From the arrangement of the brightly lit theatre room, I knew that the team of about 8 doctors might have arrived there an hour or so earlier, to put everything in order, study the MRI scans and share notes on the important task at hand. They all looked set to start the delicate spinal operation.
The doctors were very friendly as they engaged me in a brief tête-a-tête, while connecting my nostrils to some tubes. One of them told me to inhale deeply. Only then did I realise that they were switching me off and sending me into deep slumber. Their voices slowly started waning and began sounding distant, as my mind wandered off into nothingness.
I wasn’t sure what my fate could be, but one thing I was absolutely sure about was that, my life was entirely in the hands of this team of physicians, and my God. They were all Asian. I was an ocean away from home with only one next of kin (my younger bro) seated in the waiting room.
When I came to, after what looked to me like a few minutes, I was met with the sharp glare of the bright theatre lights. I momentarily thought that I had finally arrived in heaven.
My face was swollen like that of a boxer who had taken a bad beating from a brutal opponent; probably because of sleeping on the oxygen mask face down, for long hours. I peered around with half open eyes expecting to see God on His throne any time. I did not see God. Instead I saw happy, masked brown faces staring down at me smilingly. I thought they were angels. All their faces were full of compassion and warmth. I could tell they were really glad that I was finally awake.
I quickly processed the situation and knew this was a sign that all went well; a fact they confirmed to my brother as I was being wheeled back to my ward. The sharp pain in my lower back confirmed to me that the exercise was over. However, I couldn’t understand how they managed to finish the operation so fast, only for my brother to tell me that it was way past 5.00 pm.
I couldn’t believe it. Those doctors were on their feet for over eleven straight hours, meticulously navigating through very vital nerves in my body, in order to extract a small benign tumor lodged in the lower end of the spinal cord. The little imp had caused untold suffering to my person. They definitely hadn’t had even a drink. but they still managed a smile! That is just a typical day’s work on a doctor’s diary. The following day, they could still be on their feet for equally long hours, or even longer, saving another life! I had new admiration and respect for all doctors.
I still remember the compassionate faces staring down at me, as I lay on the operating table. They looked genuinely happy and relieved to have accomplished their mission. The burden of carrying another human being’s life on your hands must be a heavy one. They deal with life and death situations on a daily basis. One can only imagine the emotional turmoil this portends.
The doctors were not related to me in any way. They were Asian, I was African. They were just doing their part of healing humanity. You have to go through such an experience to fully understand what doctors experience in their daily work. They sacrifice alot. When some people work 8 hours a day while seated on a swinging chair and still complain, doctors do their work on their feet, frantically moving from ward to ward. It isn’t easy.
You can now understand why I personally feel agitated to see doctors being treated badly. Yesterday, I saw a policeman hurl a teargas canister at doctors who were demanding for their rights. I then asked myself, if this cop was to fall sick when he went back home in the evening, whom will he turn to for medication? But then again, I realized policemen are only attack dogs operating under orders. You can only blame the gov’t that they serve.
When you see occurrences such as doctors being teargased for demanding for their rights, they can only signify gross system failure. The center can’t hold any more, and if I can borrow Chinua Achebe’s words; things are falling apart in the clueless Jubilee gov’t.
When a government becomes unresponsive and utterly insensitive to the needs of those it governs, civil disobedience and defiance against the same government become a rational option for the oppressed populace. With the open theft of billions of public funds going on in govt, while the majority of Kenyans suffer, the Jubilee gov’t is likely to face a level of defiance never witnessed in this Country before.
Our governance system is so warped that all our priorities are utterly upside down. What can you make of a gov’t that pays MCAs far much better than its doctors teachers, and university dons? These are guys who think that their main work is benchmarking in faraway countries and impeaching the governor any time he stands between them and county funds!
Under Jubilee’s watch, we have seen a salonist register 20 companies at once, get awarded tenders to supply ordinary air to the gov’t, and then go ahead to withdraw over 100 million from a bank, using sacks, within hours! This are things that we see in blockbuster movies, but they actually happen here in Kenya.
Dubious tenders have been awarded to the rela-thieves of those in power. Payment of such tenders is normally expedited. Never mind that these tenderpreneurs normally deliver unnecessary contraptions like the container clinics that are rotting away in some junk yard at the coast. One of those contraptions cost a cool 10 million!
How then can anybody tell the doctors that there is no money to implement a CBA signed three years ago? Kenya is a rich country where politically correct operatives become millionaires and billionaires overnight. The doctors should not be intimidated through the courts. They must dig in for the long haul.
Just stop this nonsense and pay the doctors so that they can go back to their work stations. Innocent Kenyans are dying each day the doctors’ strike is prolonged. We need them back. Lipa chap chap. #LipaKamaTender.