OPD day again. As always, an OPD day should start early, so that this struggling Cardiology fellow can cram all activities into one 24-hour day, 8 hours of which, should be dedicated to pure, undisturbed sleep. There were conferences to attend to, consultants to talk to, the leptospirosis epidemic to take advantage of (research-wise), students to deal with, referrals to see, residents to get mad at for the unnecessary referrals (oh, i wish i can do this!). And there's OPD.
Despite my resolve to start early, my post-duty status hampered me from accomplishing my planned daily schedule right on time. A consultant suddenly wanted to go over our pile of TET reports that has been waiting for his corrections for the past 5 months, so I had to take this opportunity and not allow the moment to pass. I suddenly had a surge of inspiration to create my data-collection form for my emergency ECG changes in leptospirosis study and I had to grab that chance too.
So at 11 AM, I was already one hour late from my OPD responsibilities. I called up the nurse and told her to instruct my patients to have lunch. I'll be there in 30 minutes, I told her.
So I typed and I typed and after 30 minutes, I was still in front of my computer, with my data collection form near completion. Suddenly, came a barrage of text messages:
Patient 1: Gud PM dra alcobar. san na kyo? dami nyo psynte dito antay sayo. gutom na kami. bilisan nyo na punta na kayo.
Patient 2: Dra. psensya na. Paubos na oxygen ni inay. bilisan nyo 11 na leyt na kyo.
Patient 3: Pupunta k ba bilisan mo dami dito antay syo
Ahhh ganun. I was so tempted to send these people text curses. Worthless, impatient, good-for-nothing, ingrates! Just who do you think you are? You don't pay me a single cent and here you are commanding me to come to my own OPD clinic! Darn you, people!
But I told myself, "Hey, be patient to your patients." I was able to keep my cool and walk to my OPD with my composure intact.
Almost three hours later, after several apologies, and smiles, and unnecessary explanations for my tardiness, I was able to finish my OPD with my patience intact.
Then another text message came. This time, it was from a patient I was trying to help to have his mitral and aortic valves replaced:
SMARTAlert: 09215419288 is requesting you to Pasaload P5.
I was just stunned. And then came that warm fuzzy feeling. Whaaatt?!?!? WTF?!?!?! What do these people think of me?
But then of course, I had to be patient. After all, perhaps that's why they're called patients. They probably have every right to teach their doctors a lesson on patience everyday.