Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Where is the heart…

The double door of the ward swings open. In comes the guy in the green overalls, pushing a 6 feet long cart in front of him. On top of the cart lies a scaffold that was shaped like a house, covered by a green canvas. In fact, it is a house for the dead.

The guy strides across the linoleum with brisk purposeful steps,  pairs of curious eyes followed his every move, necks craned to see where he will stop. Once he reaches his destination, he takes up a piece of white linen, swiftly and efficiently wraps the now lifeless body from head to toe, and transfers it into his cart. Then off he goes to where he came from. Just a chore he needs to do daily. The frequency may change, but the job is the same.

People die in the hospital wards all the time. When they do, the ones they left behind weep. Some wail. Some silent with shock. Some stand passively like a stone. People do react to death differently.

Death is a norm in a big hospital. It is normal to to find out that someone whom I had spoken to a few days ago were now a piece of lifeless flesh and bones. Someone who was happily telling me that he will  go home soon  really did go home,  just that it is in a coffin.

It is hard not to be affected by death; but then after so many deaths, somehow I became desensitised. When people die, no emotion flows through me. No tinge of sadness. No guilt of what could’ve I done better to save him. I feel nothing.

I am fast becoming like the man pushing the cart, viewing death as just a part of the job. I am scared I am fast losing my heart, fast becoming a cold and soulless person, but I can’t help it…

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sometimes life is just unfair

The impetus to write is just not there. Along the way, work and other perceived more important stuffs took central stage, devouring the time that should be spent writing, cooking and doing something I like.

Sometimes I wonder is work the central theme of my life?

Today I got some time to sit down and reflect. A virus had finally got to me, and for the 2nd time in the entire year, I was forced to take a leave.

This week will be the final week of my provisionally registered pharmacist year. Come Friday, I will have officially finished one whole year of tutelage and be primed and ready to face the challenge of being a fully fledged pharmacist, most likely in the district area.

Come what may, a few people had wondered why I was reluctant to appeal and try anything whatsoever to stay in Sarawak General Hospital, or somewhere else in Kuching. Wouldn’t it be easy and convenient?

It may sounds stupid and crazy, but I staunchly believed that it was people like me, sponsored by the tax-payer’s money who should be the first to raise a hand and say “I will go”. It should be a honour to go to the rural district, serving the people there who needs our help most.

People who where sponsored solely by their parents, especially those overseas who were forced by the rules to work in compulsory service for four years, are those whom I think should be given the choice of cities they want to serve in. Forcing them to serve the government is already an encroachment of their freedom, and further forcing them to serve in the district? Standing from their shoes, it is hard not to see how unfair the whole situation is. Their parents paid the most taxes, used up half a million ringgit to finance their education, and instead of being cash cows, they were forced to spend the prime of their lives in district hospitals. I felt sorry for them.

A lot of fellow provisionally registered pharmacists are also thinking of ways to go back to their hometown or at least be given a place in a hospital where there are easier flights to get home. Of course I agree that home is where the heart is. But well, we are in the health profession. We are supposed to be compassionate, to be self sacrifying, to reach out to those who needed us most. Well maybe we all have different motives...

Life is so unfair. And to make it worse, we have too many people who only thinks about their own benefits.

My two cents worth.