When I was a little intern doing Orthopaedics, I had a very scary Reg. (registrar - doctor who's specialising). His name was J, not Dr J, just J. He was bald, he was never without a cigarette and he was mean. So mean, he even made me cry. He prayed on weak, little, white girls, destroying their confidence within mere seconds. I had the priviledge of being on call with him for a WHOLE weekend.
We were sitting in the tearoom having a break, when the ward phoned me to say,
"Dokotela, you must come quick!"I had learnt quickly, to not race to the ward, as it was often only a minor thing that was needed such as a signature on a death certificate, but luckily in Orthopaedics, no one died, or infrequently.
"Is it a patient?"
"Yes, it is Gogo X. You must come quick!"
Gogo X was a 80-something year old Gogo, who had broken her hip and was awaiting a hip replacement, which could sometimes take weeks. She was in the ward until then, bedbound (or so we thought).
"Is Gogo X still breathing?"
The usual response is "No she is GAAAASPing!"
"Yes," the nurse admitted.
"OK I'll be there in 10 minutes."
J had overheard the conversation....
"Right let's go see what it is," he barked.What? He never troubled himself with minor things such as ward work. Why did he want to come with? I put it down to sheer boredom.
I headed for the stairs, as it is was only 2 flights up, but J NEVER took the stairs and would wait for a lift, no matter how long it took, even for one floor. So as his junior, I stood next to him whilst we filled the silence with awkward toe-tapping and thumb-twiddling.
As we finally walked into the female orthopaedics ward, nothing could prepare me for the sight we were about to witness.
Gogo X was standing! Yip standing. On a broken hip. And she was wielding a crutch. Around her were about 9 "security" guards fanned out in a circle. (I say "security" because if you've ever worked in a government hosiptal, you will know that these are the most useless fuckers around! The only time you ever need them, is when restraining a patient and then they miraculously vanish. They are almost as useless as the lab "receptionist".)
Anyway....she was swishing her crutch around trying to hit the useless fuckers. She was ranting something in Zulu, and quite frankly looked completely off her rocker, which is common in the 80-something category. J marched up to her and grabbed her by the neck of her hospital gown. He lifted her effortlessly with one hand and plonked her back in her cot bed. I meanwhile had got a syringe of diazepam, to knock Gogo X out, before she fractured her "good" hip. J restrained her, whilst the security guards looked on, completely amazed. I quickly applied a tourniquet and was injecting her as she turned to me....
"Haai voetsek!" she screamed at me as she spat in my face.
Yip. She. Had. Just. Spat.In My. Face.
Before I knew what was happening, J had grabbed her head and turned it to face him.
" Don't you EVER f*%king spit in a doctor's face! EVER! She is trying to help you!" he roared.
He instantly spat back in her face. Not just a small bit of spittle, but a proper honk-it-up-from-within-Zulu-style spit. As if it was a completely natural thing to do in return.
He frog-marched me out of the ward and back to the tearoom and made me a cup of tea.
And that was the day that the mad-bald-spitting J, became my hero.........