"He who studies medicine without books sails an uncharted sea, but he who studies medicine without patients does not go to sea at all," said Osler.
Patients are interesting books to read and in that sense I read a lot these days. What follows are some of the conversations that hit my ear drums during my stay at Primary Health Centre, Pangappara and Community Health Centre, Vithura.
1)"Pani ennalle paranjathu, athinu moothrama parishodhikendey?"
(I said Fever and you want my urine tested?)
2) A 24hr duty is usually awesome, but on this rather terrific day I received an emergency call from the duty nurse.
I rushed, but this is what the patient had for me:
"Marumole kaanan vendi vannatha. Ithinadutha avalde veedu. Ivide doctor undennu kettappo onnu kandittu povannu vachu."
(I was here to visit my daughter-in-law who stays near by. Someone said the doctor is available, thought of checking out)
3) Even the moon was yawning at 2.45am when my colleague who was sound asleep in his duty room heard his door being knocked. He rises, searches for the stethoscope, opens the door.
"Staff nursa Doctorjee, urakkam varanilla. Enthenkilum kazikkano?"
(I'm a staff nurse Doctorjee, I'm not feeling sleepy)
4) "Nalla gasinte shalyama Doctor. Njan purathottu oothy vare nokki, ennittum aaswasam kittanilla"
("Severe gas trouble Doctor. I even tried blowing out air, there's no relief.)
5) Patient:"Wheezing's there Doc, nebulisation will do.
Gas trouble, antacid will do.
A slight fever, paracetamol will do.
Tiredness, vitamin tablet will do."
I : Anything else sir? Coffee?
6) My colleague notices an empty 500ml Pepsi bottle with the patient, "Enthina amme ee kuppi?" (What is this bottle for?). The old lady replies, "Oh kazinja thavana thanna chumakkulla marunnu thikanjathe illla mone. Athondu ithavana immini balya kuppeel thanna mathy". (Translation won't work here!!!)
7) A pretty young female patient walks into my colleague's OP and complaints, "Severe headache after I talked over phone continuously for 12 hours. Is something wrong?"
8) Patients and patience are what a doctor needs. I was having my dinner and I get a call from the emergency room. I run to the casualty room and finds the patient.
I : Yes?
Patient: Cold and running nose.
I : Since?
I : Now that's supposed to be an emergency?
Patient: Err...isn't it?
I could do nothing else but blast her off.
Here's one of the commonest replies that you get while enquiring for drug history:
I: Enthu marunna amme blood pressurinu kazikunne? (What medication do you have for Hypertension?)
Patient: Oh. Athoru chuvanna vattathilulla cheriya gulikaya mone (Oh. It's a tiny red round tablet)
"The simultaneous occurrence of scabies in a doctor and a nurse may mean that they have shared nothing more exciting than a patient with Norwegian scabies."