Friday, March 09, 2007

What's in a name?

When people ask me what I do, sometimes I lie. I say I’m a writer, or a mountaineer or a cook, depending on my mood.

Ever since I went into med school, especially when I started going on duty in the hospitals, my name instantly changed to Doc/Doctor, just like everybody else in my class. And naturally, that name stayed when I passed the boards.

Being a physician is one of those professions where you are being called by your profession– just like being a lawyer, politician, priest or a nun. You get introduced and called as Dr, Atty, Father or Sister. Not that I mind, but being called Doctor 24 hours a day by almost everybody can be torture at times. I mean, businessmen are not called Mr. Businessman or accountants as Ms. Accountant. They are called by their names.

Besides, when a person calls you Doctor, it’s like a relationship is already established and it doesn’t leave room for anything else. He becomes my patient and I become his doctor (not necessarily at the moment, it could be in the near future). A boundary is already drawn. He suddenly sees you as somebody who can cure him. At this point, I’ve memorized that facial expression when a person is actually thinking what medical/health related problem he can actually ask me about once I get introduced as a doctor .

When we go to family gatherings, my relatives start asking me about proper diet or some symptom they’ve had 4 weeks ago or if I know somebody who can help them in their more specific illnesses. I always get that question, “Ano na nga name mo Doc?” I cannot blame them because I am always introduced as Doctor. It’s easier to remember Doctor so my real name is usually dropped.

Don’t get me wrong. I still want to be called Doctor. I wouldn't hesitate to kick a patients butt if he started calling me by first name, but ONLY in the clinic when I am in fact a doctor treating a patient. But in the public market or jeepney or bus is another matter.

That’s why I appreciate my family and close friends. Until now, I am still Che to them, especially to my Lolo and Lola. In fact, I know they will never see me as full pledged MD and that’s absolutely fine with me because they will always see me as their apo.

In these rare times when I get really sick of being called a doctor or treated as such, 24/7 and everywhere, I say I’m a writer or a mountaineer or a cook. Technically, I am not lying because I am a writer, although I don’t get paid for it. I am an excellent cook but still don’t get paid for it. I am a mountaineer since I climb mountains like 2-3 times a week. I just failed to mention my most important job.

So I am hoping that the next time I run into you, call me Che. Really, if you call me Doctor, I might just cut you up so as not to disappoint you.

1 comment:

meL said...

You will always be Che to me - i doubt i'll ever get used to calling you DOC even if you really are the dakilang doktora. hehe! I just read your whole entire blog (I'm lying - yung past year's entries lang hehe!) - and I must say, I'm so proud of you mare!!! You are a great inspiration - the epitome of "PASSION FOR COUNTRY." Galing galing! Mishu Che!