To eat and be treated… I only trust my intution


March 12, 2011
I trust my intuition when I need to choose hospitals and eateries. No word of mouth or over-the-top advertisements or star campaigns can lure me enough. I need to see people around. Not a few rather a crowd.

I prefer hospitals and clinics where I’m told the appointments for the day are full. And I’ll patiently wait my turn to meet the over-worked and tired doctor and invariably feel better by the time I hear my name or token number being called out a couple of hours later.

Similarly, I like to walk into neighbourhood restuarants and spent sometime on my feet looking for an empty table. And then continue sitting, looking at others eat, waiting for my orders to be taken, than to be ushered in by a dozen waiters into a deserted interior and bulky menu cards handed over even before I take my seat.

Elitist may call my paranoia ‘budget culture’. To them I will say, “Thank You. Sneer at me if you please, but I will stay put.”

A few years earlier, when I was in pink of health my back decided to turn red. To be more precise my lower back decided to call it quits. I did give it ample time to reconsider its decision, meanwhile, as a prudent and haughty manager, I started looking out, telling myself: ‘No one is indispensable! If either of us had to laugh, I will have the last laugh!’ So I spread the word around and did my own homework and zeroed in on the three most recommended doctors.

Called up hospital A and was told appointments for the whole week for that particular orthopaedic were full. However, I could walk-in any day. Next called up Hospital B and was told I could go anytime between 5pm and 9pm except Fridays because it’s the doctor’s weekly off. Something in me said, check Hospital A again. Called up and asked for Friday. “Friday is the most busiest of days, madam. I suggest you do not walk-in on Fridays,” cautioned the receptionist.

I still walked-in on a Friday (those were the days I worked 6-day weeks) to Hospital A and waited until my patience parted ways. A cool four hours. When I walked out I decided never to return for the follow-up five days later as advised by the doc. The efficient self-manager that I am, I had the last laugh, or so I thought then. Didn’t require a follow-up. My back got its acts together and returned to serving me submissively within two days.

However, a couple of years later, the back began protesting yet again. Had a quick word with patience and invited him for an evening out. He outright denied. Anyways, had an option. Research comes in handy always. Walked into Hospital  B. Was greeted by the recptionist and was ushered to the doctor’s room in barely 10 minutes. Wow!

The doc spent an hour with me. First enquiring about my discomfort, then diagnosing, later instructing the nurse and prescribing treatment. Of that whole hour I barely spoke for two minutes. The diagnosis, prescription and instruction took another five minutes. But when I got up to thank the doc, I was asked to take my seat. For the next three-quater of an hour she advised me of how to live a stress-free life. I was somewhat, yeah somewhat, intrested. Sort of liked her, too.

But this time I had to return for a follow-up as I didn’t feel better. Again I got an audience within 10 minutes of walking-in and spent an hour with the ‘philosopher doc’. At the end of the sermon, I was offered an Amway product with a running commentary of the benefits of the herbal powder. The doc was one of the local agents of Amway – a direct selling company and manufacturer that uses network marketing to sell a variety of products.

I discontinued the medicines immediately and opted for Hospital C.

There I was escorted to the orthopaedic within half-an-hour. I briefed him about my history and while he sat examining my records (of Hospital A & B) I couldn’t help but notice the Lucky Bamboo on his left, a water fountain behind his chair; a large ruby encrusted in silver on his middle finger; a yellow sapphire on his index finger; an emerald held within a glittering gold ring on his little finger…

Before I could study more, his voice called my attention. “So what did the other doctors tell you?” And I vomited all that I was told by the other two docs. “OK. You first get an MRI scan done and we’ll take it up from there,” he said. “Is it something serious,” I ask? “You are asking me this. You know your own diagnosis better than me. Nothing to worry.”

I thanked him. Didn’t want to be rude so took the prescription and walked out never to return to that street. I should have walked out the moment I noticed the assorted stones on his fingers. Superstitious doctors! I just can’t fathom.

With restaurants, I never had the nerve to experiment. “Let’s try out a new place today,” said the husband one weekend. “Tired of the same joints every week.” And we called up to book a table. We were escorted to our place upon arrival and had one waiter at our service immediately. Enjoyed the meal listening to the light music playing in the dimly-lit interiors. Had to remind my child to lower her voice several times, for her voice literally echoed in the place. There was just another family beside us. Placed our generous tip and drove out.

That night we took turns visting the toilet. Luckily, my child who stuck to her standard menu of yoghurt-based dishes was spared.

I’ve nothing against starry joints. They do serve well and it digests well, too. But no matter how many stars they display, I make it a point to peep in first to see if the place is full before deciding to eat there.

Nisha Sanjeev

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