by carlocmd

it was an intriguing proposition.

he consulted the clinic because of the feeling of warmth that seems to creep over his abdomen.  it would happen gradually, no provocations.  there were no other alarming symptoms.  after describing the need to investigate with a colonoscopy (he was 70 years old, after all), its risks and benefits, he agreed.  we scheduled at a convenient date.

he had multiple colonic diverticula, which we had previously described as a possible source.  but he also had a colonic polyp with a long stalk, likely a tubular adenoma.  this was completely removed during the procedure.

he was happy that there were answers to why he was feeling that way.

then, he said, “doctor, thank you for taking good care of me.”

“you’re welcome,” i said.

“please consider this:  may i invite you to practice medicine in our country?  we have a big population needing care.  you have shown me why Filipinos make excellent health care providers.  i know many people in my government, especially in the embassy, and they would surely be glad to be of service to you on this matter.”

he said it with such profound graciousness.

the memory of the past few years flashed back to mind.  the gruelling medical training… raising a family on just P8,000 a month… the endless studying… the thankless task of making sure other doctors’ patients are well cared for… eating just a cracker for lunch because we had to save money for milk… traveling to india for training while incurring debt… the restless nights of uncertainty, worrying about tomorrow’s food…the praying and crying at nights when ends do not seem to meet…

getting deeper into debt just starting a practice in the hospital… buying shares, renovating the clinic… populating the shelves with books to read for passing time waiting for patients to come…

taking good care of the few patients that come your way…

and the exponential explosion of patients from referrals of other patients who share their experience in your hands…  suddenly the clinic is full and bustling… the books stay on the shelves unread… the inability to eat a proper lunch because of the clinic load… the increasing number of medical procedures… the ability to spend time and well earned money for my children… finally being able to save in the bank and other financial instruments… securing your immediate needs, protecting yourself from harm, and preparing for the future… cutting free the financial umbilical cord called “supplementary credit”…

“doctor,” he said, “you do not have to decide now.  we will talk about this again on my follow up next week.”

he stood up, shook a firm handshake, and smiled.

now, how do i tell him that the grass is greener here because we made it so?