This incident I am about to narrate happened during my house surgeon days. I was the usual adolescent with “I-know-it-all” attitude back then. Blame it on age. This incident greatly shaped me in my medical career. It is about an old woman who taught me a valuable lesson in my life.
The incident of an accident
There was a government convoy and an elderly man got hit by the convoy. He suffered head injuries and was admitted to the government hospital, where I did my medical studies. I was house surgeon back then and I had been on my usual night duty that very day. Like everyone who works in the night, I was carrying the usual restlessness a night shift can give, though remaining vigil as demanded by our profession.
The care of the old woman
The old man who was admitted with his head injuries was given appropriate treatment. His condition was stable and was recovering. I was aware of his condition with the report available along with the X-rays of his head. The old woman who was his wife stayed in the hospital with him as a caretaker. She kept asking me if there was anything serious to her aged husband.
I was a bit annoyed and I just handed over an X-ray from the pile of X-rays to the old lady. She grabbed the x-ray and looked into it and said, “Yes I think he is fine”. I was amused by her response and I sarcastically shot back asking her how she concluded that the x-ray belonged to her husband. I chided her and said that I just grabbed one x-ray randomly and gave her. How could she ever get it right that the x-ray belonged to the old man? When I verified the name records, the x-ray did in fact belonged to the old man. I was perplexed.
The moment I felt humbled
The old lady shot back and said that her husband adorned a gold ear stud which is typical and the x-ray image had captured the image flawlessly. I was suddenly taken back by her sharp observation sense. My sarcasm crashed before her. I confessed that I had taken an x-ray randomly and had in fact been trying to make fun thinking she was ignorant because she was not literate. The old lady made me humble and brought me back to my senses. As a matter of fact, I apologized to her for my attitude. That was indeed a golden day when I told to myself not to underestimate anyone in my life.
The takeaway for me was everyone in our society deserves respect, no matter they are educated or not. More importantly it instilled a responsibility inside me to probe my patients and the family member more on their ailments. They will have valuable information which can serve to help our investigation. After all life is full of lessons and we all are students learning valuable takeaways at every stage of our life.