My Friend Alexa : Rant post 2 – Doctors are humans too

If you have read any of my posts, or follow me on any social media platform, you would know that I have a doctor for a husband. As batchmates from school, best friends, and eventually a married couple, we have explored the joys and sorrows of life for more than two decades now. Yet, nothing prepared us for the most difficult phase of our lives that began in March 2020.

After the pandemic hit, his posting took him to one of the Government hospitals in a faraway district of Bengal. My father, who travelled to our home town just before the pandemic struck, couldn’t return because of the lockdown. My in-laws, who had come for a month’s visit to Kolkata, had no option but to stay back. It was a tough time becoming the primary caregiver to a five-year-old son and ageing in-laws while balancing the MFA course.

As we grappled with the new normal, my husband’s work schedule went from bad to worse. They were working round the clock, without a break. The fraternity of doctors, nurses and primary healthcare workers were fighting like frontline warriors. Yet they also had another fight to get the requisite number of PPE kits, N95 masks, sanitizers and other essential items.

Doctors are humans too

Within a couple of weeks, I saw people banging utensils to show appreciation for the fraternity, helicopters showering flowers to show gratitude and a top Bollywood actor re-releasing a song comparing the dedication of doctors to men in uniform. Although I could never stop worrying about the risk his profession carried, I felt proud of his service in this crisis.

The facade was short-lived. A few days after the thali-banging ceremony, one of my husband’s seniors from college was asked to shift by their residential complex society because his duty exposed him to the deadly virus, making him a threat to other residents. They didn’t have the common sense to think that the same doctors would risk their lives to treat them from Corona. Thus began the discrimination against doctors.

Violence against doctors is on a rise. In Bengal and the rest of India, there are very few days when one doesn’t hear of friends/relatives of patients beating up doctors without any provocation or reason. Last year, one of the junior doctors in Kolkata was hit by a mob in such a brutal way that his skull cracked. Every profession has a few rotten apples that bring their line of work a bad name. Then why is it the doctors who are at the forefront of facing such violence and discrimination as they risk their lives to save that of others?

Despite their selfless service, there are instances where doctors haven’t received any payment for months, they were asked to vacate rented accommodation, and have faced the falsified allegations of medical negligence. They go through such trauma at a time when most of them haven’t even seen/met their families for months at a stretch. Even when they return home, they keep themselves isolated for days before embracing their child or hugging their loved ones.

I refuse to agree with the age-old belief that doctors are second to God. It puts them on a pedestal with an unnecessary pressure to be capable of performing miracles. What we need to understand is that doctors are humans too, battling health and wellness issues, as put their problems behind to cater to the needs of a patient. While they continue serving the citizens with care and compassion, the least that they deserve is our respect, kindness and gratitude.

For the last nine months, I had a tough time explaining to my son about why he gets to talk to his father mostly over video calls. I heard the panic in my in-laws’ voice whenever they called me to check on their son’s schedule. I saw the concern in my father’s eyes every time he hears about my husband skipping meals to attend to his duties. And I have been trying to push away every negative thought from my mind as I grapple to hold the family together. And, I am just one of the many families who have lent their unrelenting support to a doctor/doctors in the family.

As a doctor’s wife, I am proud of the way my husband and his fraternity has been on duty during this crisis period. As a thinking and opinionated individual, I also want to scream out at the apathy of those in power and the blood-thirsty mob culture that has become a threat to the sanctity of this profession. None of us signed up for this level of unnecessary tension and stress. So, please stop considering doctors equivalent to God and expect them to have magical healing powers. I would rather request you to treat them as a fellow human with the same dignity and compassion that an individual deserves.

“I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s My Friend Alexa 2020″ campaign.  Stay tuned to read my third rant post in this series.

Author: Sonia Chatterjee

Who am I? An erstwhile banker turned blogger/writer/author. Any qualifications? A Post-Graduate degree in Chemistry followed by a second Post-Graduate Diploma in Management. I completed a one-year MFA in creative writing course from the Writer's Village University, U.S. in Dec 2020. Though I must admit that I am still trying to figure out how and when I can connect all these dots. Have I done any real work? If two years in market research, six years in banking as a branch head, three-plus years of blogging, writing, and publishing a book can be considered as real work, then yes! Where do I live? After spending life like a nomad for sixteen years in Delhi, Bangalore & Mysore, I am back to where it all started from - Kolkata. My favorite things - Books, coffee, travel, food, and my five-year-old son. What is this blog about? Through Sonia's musings, I intend to explore writing in various genres, create social awareness, spread laughter, and give words to emotions. Anything for readers? You can check out my book 'Deal of Death' on Amazon Kindle. If you like fast-paced thrillers, this Detective fiction introducing the woman sleuth, Raya Ray could turn out to be your perfect weekend read.

23 thoughts on “My Friend Alexa : Rant post 2 – Doctors are humans too”

  1. As a citizen, I am ashamed of how Doctors are treated in our country. I am glad you wrote this, Sonia. As those who have no empathy should read it and know that doctors are humans with other responsibilities, loved ones worrying for them, and bills to pay. Not paying Doctors their salary is the worst thing in the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You probably know how much I’ve fought for doctors in India over the years and especially to break this ‘doctors are God’ myth and put a real face to the profession. We have a long way to go before the system normalizes but during this pandemic, it has been horrible for doctors. I don’t know about your husband but almost every doctor I’ve talked to (myself included) has taken a salary cut often by 50 percent and yes, in some cases, no salary for months. It is the most demoralizing thing when we are risking our lives during a killer pandemic.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rightly put Sonia. We all need lessons in basic empathy for our caretakers. The problem with us is we take everything and everyone too much for granted. It is shameful the way the medical fraternity is treated in the country. And then we complain when people choose to work in other countries. We need more dignity of labour here.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As a Society, we have all failed in learning our lessons about Empathy and we are teaching the worse to the next generation. I think your article would be a wakeup call for this. I keep telling myself and others that it’s a passe, but passe has become the new normal, which I am unable to tolerate honestly. Liked the sentence, “I refuse to agree with the age-old belief that doctors are second to God”, which is my strong feeling too…we need to treat them as human beings just like us.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The medical profession always holds a high position in my eyes. Respect, kindness, and gratitude to all medical fraternity who are 24 hour working for healthy and happy humanity. Feels sad for how they are treated. We certainly need to understand that Doctors are humans who sacrifice their time and family for saving others. Empathy and support are much needed, instead of taking them for granted. They are humans with heart and soul and people should understand this. Hugs to you for sailing lockdown without him around can fully understand.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Even though I’m not related to any doctor closely, the way they’ve been targeted despite their selfless service makes me feel terribly sad and angry. Many of them have lost lives in their line of duty yet we haven’t fully realised the extent of their sacrifice of staying away from safety and family. You’ve been extremely brave, Sonia. I hope you’re all hale and hearty together as a family very soon. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Coming from a family of doctors – my aged dad retired recently and my bro is one – i can get your rant!
    Selfish apathy from people and the governments add to their woes. I fail to see why the doctors have to risk their lives for some people who flout rules and act stupid.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You know what I’m losing faith in people of India – the bunch of cowards that we are. most of the health sector tragedies are a direct result of negligence of the government that invests so little in the sector. Doctors, nurses, frontline workers are all overworked and underpaid by the government. The mob won’t hit the streets or protest at local mla’s house for justice. they will show their power on those who are actually helping them. That’s because in the former there’s a fear of consequence, in the latter there isn’t

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I completely agree with you being a doctor’s wife myself. My husband would always say – no doctor wants to lose a patient. People expect that a patient will be miraculously cured if taken to a hospital. Doctors are not gods.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Being a doctor I can empathize with you. There is no “humane” left in humans. I wasn’t eligible to work as a volunteer or post on duty in Corona ward due to my maternity phase but my colleagues had worse experience those were on duty. They worked round the clock, waking up in the middle of the night and still are unpaid. And still people blame on doctors.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Coming from a family of doctors myself I totally relate to this. My uncles and cousins are front liners and their experiences are on one end so amazing and I feel so proud but some of the ground realities like you shared are very disturbing and just not acceptable.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Your post hits so close to home, I’m a doctor & belongs to a family of doctors too. I’ve always seen that doctors are given the status of being next to god and then expecting them to save everyone. when that’s not possible, people become aggressive and violent. Overall to some level govt promote this behavior by negative comments too… i wish someday things would be better.

    Liked by 2 people

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