October 14, 2008

Adventures with Delhi doctors

JNU runs this Health Center which magnanimously provides free treatment to its students. Pretty noble for India, I thought. So recently, I fell ill. Ill enough to want to go to the doctor. And since everyone who looked at me asked me - Have you gone to the Health Center, I decided it was worth a dekko.

I went there and realised I did not possess the "booklet", where doctors would chart the trajectory of my ailments. No problem. I paid for an OPD card, at the ominously named "Injection and Dressing Room", where injections are administered by a guy in sleeveless banyan. Now now, I have no prejudice against this naturally air-conditioned form of dress, but he didn't even have six-pack abs...more like a six kg stomach. So after "injection sahab" finished doing whatever he was doing to a girl behind the curtain, she looked quite hapless and thin, may I add, he came to attend to the business of my OPD card.

"Ab tak aapne OPD booklet kyon nahin banvaaya?"
"Health Center aane ka mauka hi nahin mila."

No appreciation shown for my humour, he asked for my ID card, filled the OPD card up and told me where the doctor was. Off I went. Outside the doctor's room, it seemed rather quiet. So I peeked into his chamber and saw he was attending to a patient. I waited, patiently. Very soon, the beleagured patient emerged and it was my turn to go in.

Seeing that Bappi Lahiri meets failed Abba aspirant meets Michael Jackson fruit salad, I knew I was up against something very unpleasant. He barked, "Close the door." I promptly followed orders. Then he made me sit on a really tiny bar stool and asked, "What's wrong with you?"

Me: I've had a fever, headache and stomach upset.
Doc: How do you know you have a fever. Did you check?
Me: No, but I know...
Doc: What do you mean you know. You can't play guessing games with your body.
(Pulls thermometer out of cleansing solution with a flourish and shoves it in my mouth. Turns the clock on the table towards me)
Doc: One and a half minutes.
Me: (Still struggling with thermometer jabbed into mouth) Mmm...hmmm.
(Meanwhile, he returns to a small brochure on Abba. I have nothing against those tall and gorgeous singers, but hellooooo, you're supposed to be working. There is something called a work ethic!)
(Time passes. He removes the thermometer.)
Doc: (Triumphant look covering his face slowly) You don't have a fever. You're completely normal.
Me: No but it keeps coming and going you see.
Doc: (In the tone of a petulant child) But you don't have a fever.
Me: But...
(Interrupts me icily)
Doc: Open your mouth. (Peers in) You have a cold. Stomach upsets can happen when you have the common cold virus.
Me: Ok, if that's what you say...

After two more doctors, two thousand rupees and near heart attack moments, I realised I had typhoid. So much for the common cold virus. I'm beginning to hate Delhi. And fear suitcases.



Hope you are well now.
At least you didnt faced a needle this time :D.

Ranjana Dave said...

well, i came back to bombay n had a blood test. watch this space for a full blown report.