My college buddy was asking if I could give her some additional raket while she waits for her stint in Palawan next month. I jokingly told her what she needs the additional raket for when she's got more than enough. To which she replied, "Mura bya ta'g artista - 'No show, No business'" ('Cause you know, we doctors are like celebrities - No show, no business.)
Then I thought, exactly.
Photo from www.namaste.doc
Apparently, we share a few more things with celebrities. The comparison may put you in awe, but please do take note, that while celebrities are busy with the performing arts, we physicians are dealing with life here.
1. No show, no business. Doctors do not have bread if referrals or patients stop pouring in, or if we do not go on duty, or skip clinic hours - meaning not spending time to sit at the clinic. Being at the clinic itself is a waiting game all by itself because you simply have to - yes, you got it! - wait if a patient walks in. Pretty much like celebrities who won't earn a buck or two if they do not have any project or booking.
2. We are judged by appearance. In the third world, doctors occupy a high socio-economic stratum and therefore most people would expect doctors to dress in clothing that is top-of-the-line, don extravagant jewelry, and drive the latest car model. In a way. doctors have to look very good, the way celebrities strive to look good. Like them, we are selling ourselves and we are our own advertisement. In the third world, doctors occupy a high socio-economic stratum, and it follows that people would expect doctors to don top-of-the-line clothing, wear extravagantly blinding jewelry, and drive a flashy car. Doctors have to look very good the way celebrities have to look good. Like celebrities, doctors are selling themselves. Long before doctors open their mouths to explain the patient's condition, the patient or the patient's family already has an impression of the doctor in their midst. This is a reality because somehow, patients trust their doctors and look up to them. Even if a doctor is the best and brightest in his or her specialty, but he or she dresses like a pauper, eyebrows may initially be raised and the doctor may have to wade through the sea of first impressions to prove that he/she is an expert in his field of specialty.
3. We are not spared from chismis. Chismis is the Tagalog slang for rumors. Every celebrity holds a dark secret just like most of us, and doctors are not an exception. No matter how busy it is in the hospital, it would only amaze one to know that the people in it will still have the time to spread and feast on juicy talks about hospital staff, and doctors are not an exception. The interested ones try to dig deeper or peek through the white coats. Interestingly, chismis is quite a hospital culture. It keeps everyone in the hospital awake during unholy duty hours. In fact there are two topics that keep hospital people awake specially during wee hours of the night, when surgeries are performed at the operating room -- chismis and talks about sex. Food is a close second.
4. We work long hours. Yes, we do., we do. If celebrities spend nights to shoot a movie or tape a show, finishing only in the morning, we doctors can go on 24-hour duty for ten or fifteen days. During the evenings of our duty days, we alternately slip into wakefulness and sleep since patients come in such an unpredictable manner. Others come in early while some would choose to come in after midnight, or at dawn - sometimes for health complaints which bothered them for months. As we wake up and go back to sleep, we also alternately turn our brains on and off as we wring it to come up with the correct diagnosis for a patient who, let's say, came in for consult at 3 a.m. in the morning. Sometimes, even sleep is not completely ours to enjoy when we are on duty. Doctors are probably the lightest sleepers in the world for instantly waking up once the phone rings.
5. We are thriving in a dog-eat-dog world. Well, I guess I need not say more about this.
6. We gain sponsorships. An inherent reality in a dog-eat-dog world is to scratch each other's backs. If celebrities endorse a product which they trust, doctors do that in a way when we prescribe medications. I think there is nothing wrong with this as long as the doctor believes in the product that he or she is endorsing - that it is the appropriate drug that could cure and control the patient's condition - and is not merely doing it for the perks that come with it.
7. Everyone at work has to know our whereabouts almost all the time. This is for the sake of our patients, and in the case of celebrities for the sake of their fans. fans.
8. We have to schedule our vacations way ahead of time. Doctors would not want to compromise their patients' welfare so we could not just go on a spur-of-the-moment vacations and instantly decide to fly to Timbuktu the following day.
9. We strive to sharpen our skills. We keep on moving forward. Celebrities join workshops to hone their acting skills. Doctors attend conferences to update their knowledge regarding trends and developments in health care. Medicine is an art and at the same time a science that is continuously evolving.
10. We are not perfect. Of course, doctors are still humans. Just like celebrities, we trip and fall along the way, but we always try to get up and pick up the pieces, take with us the lessons that life's circumstances have taught us.
Then I thought, exactly.