sometimes it is good to get a bit of recognition. if you don't the job can sometimes slowly erode away at your spirit. so recently i got a boost and i think my spirit may be good for a few more calls.
one of the state hospital doctors invited me out for a casual get together to celebrate his birthday. most of the guys i work with when i help out there would be attending so i thought it should be fun. the night started off slowly. i sat with the man of the hour and his girlfriend and two of their friends from the real world (not medical). i concentrated on their conversation, sedately sipping my beer. i was the outsider and i didn't want to draw attention to myself. then the doctors started dribbling in. the senior guys came over and greeted me. the house doctors would occasionally nod an acknowledgement and move off. in the hierarchical medical system they were used to they weren't sure how to relate to a real live consultant in a social setting, so they sheepishly avoided me. i started wondering if i'd made a mistake by coming along.
then someone came in that i didn't know. i asked my friend who he was. turns out he was a house doctor that simply hadn't rotated through surgery yet and therefore i hadn't worked with him. being a house doctor i expected him to avoid me like all the others had done. but just as i didn't know him, so he didn't know me either. he came over.
"hi, my name is g." he said warmly extending his hand.
"pleased to meet you." i replied. "i'm bongi."
"bongi? the legend? i've heard so much about you and now i finally get to meet the man himself!" i was taken aback. i wasn't sure what to say. i couldn't just leave it at that.
"what do you mean?"
"well i hear you always help despite the fact that you don't get paid and that you ruthlessly rip the house doctors to shreds when you're operating." (the hospital sometimes does pay so that is not entirely true. also i think i may tease the house doctors a bit, especially about their universities of origin if their anatomy is not up to scratch.)
as it turns out all those nights going out at all hours to help the skeleton staff who are desperately trying to keep things together on the sinking ship that is the state hospital has made an impression on some people. i felt good.