1st July is celebrated as National Doctor’s Day, but we all know that this praise and glorification for our real heroes is short-lived. You don’t even need to wait until the next day to find this out — I saw many of my friends on the same day, arguing on the virtues of modern-age doctors, and posting comments to question their credibility and morals.
As a wife of a doctor, my dear friends, your glorifying statements and respect for doctors does not make me happy. But I know that these short-lived praises and ‘happy doctor’s day’ wishes will soon fall prey to your dwindling emotions, and judgmental statements generalising them as money-minting individuals until the same day next year.
As a doctor’s wife for the past two and a half years, I have sometimes seen my husband awake for three days, not take his meals on time, and not attend to his parents’ or family’s needs in times of emergency. I know you will say this is his duty, but let me tell you, it calls for a much larger heart and a higher vision to continue working like this even after being judged by this ruthless society.
My concern is, the situation that we have created as a society for our lifeguards never fails to expose its double standards for any profession, whether it is teaching, medicine, police, politics, acting, and many more. But as a doctor’s wife, what hurts and angers me more are the ironies that surround a doctor’s life, especially when you belittle their entire life’s sacrifices and hard work by attributing it to a single day, and negating it otherwise.
The irony is that we live in a society where people are ready to pour tons of money to consult an astrologer with no qualification, or to watch the FDFS (first day first show) of their favourite heroes on screen. On the contrary, they never refrain from questioning the authority of a doctor to charge a consultation fee that they deserve due to their qualification, which he earned after slogging for years. Many blame the doctors instead of understanding that the corporatisation of the health sector is responsible for this.
The irony is that we don’t hesitate even for a minute to hit or kill a doctor whom we once held in as high regard as God, because they couldn’t stop the inevitable death of a patient, which was beyond their control. The irony is when we are ready to trust the unseen, but are always willing to question a specialist’s credibility. The irony is when we doubt a doctor’s intentions on one hand when he suggests a surgery, series of tests, or specific treatment, but blame them on the contrary when he doesn’t, questioning their efficiency.
The irony is when we climb our terraces to beat our thalis and light lamps for them, and see helicopters showering tons of flowers in their honour, but fail to equip them with the essential safety gear in a situation as grave as now. The irony is when we ostracise them, threaten them, treat their profession as a taboo, and throw them out of their homes because they came out on the battleground and dared to treat your loved ones. It does not take just a sheer sense of duty, but a much larger heart to accept such a challenge, and putting themselves and their families at risk.
The irony is when we want to have at least one doctor in our family, apartment or neighbourhood, but are too narrow-minded and mean-hearted to let them die in peace; to let them have access to a crematorium after they laid their lives, saving you and your loved ones.
Last but not the least, we treat them as God, but the reality is, they are normal human beings like all of us. A human who has every right to expect a fair fee for their rare skills, which they have developed over a period of 15-20 of their lives. They are someone like all of us, who have every right to say, “Things were not in my hands and beyond my control. After all, I am only a human and not God!”
Happy National Doctor’s Day, indeed!