Thursday, September 04, 2014

Cast removed, and a mystery

Magdalena had her cast removed last night, huzzah!

At a check-up appointment two weeks ago to see how her arm was healing, I took note of the unique relationship between the orthopedic doctor and his nurse. Most of the nurses at the hospital, whether male or female, are Filipino or Indian. This nurse (a man) was Arab (Yemeni - I asked him later).

In addition, the power dynamic between doctors and nurses is usually respectful, but very clear. The doctors give orders and the nurses follow them. It's very obvious who's in charge.

But with this doctor and this nurse, they seemed to treat each other as equals. The doctor consulted with the nurse about Magdalena's case. They looked over the x-rays together. The doctor asked the nurse's advice about the best course of action (they ended up putting on a new cast that left her elbow free, but encased more of her hand).

It was unusual enough that as I watched this all play out, I immediately started spinning theories in my head that could solve the mystery. And the one I came up with was that the Yemeni man was probably a doctor in Yemen, but his credentials didn't transfer straight across in the UAE, so he worked as a nurse. But the orthopedic doctor knew he was a doctor in Yemen, and afforded him the respect that station deserved, even though his official job title was now nurse.

Last night at our appointment to have the cast removed, I worked up the courage to ask the Yemeni nurse about it. And it turns out that I was right! He used to be an orthopedic doctor in Yemen, but his qualifications aren't worth the same in the UAE. So he works as a nurse. And the doctor knows this.

I also found out that he has two wives, one here in the UAE and one back in Yemen, and six children (one girl and five boys) between them.

The moral of the story is that sometimes it pays to ask people questions. Where are you from? What did you do there? Tell me about your family. Tell me about your life. You almost always find out the most interesting things, and solve mysteries in the process.

2 comments:

Susanne said...

S's brother was a doctor in Syria, but he cannot get a job in the UAE so he is in the process of moving to Oman. I don't know if he will have to be a nurse though. Interesting story! I'm glad to hear that others like to ask questions.

Jen said...

I've heard lots of stories about Central and South American doctors coming to the US and working as day laborers.....(a sad situation for all of us, I think)....but in my America-centric perspective, I'd never considered how the immigration of medical professionals translates over other borders.

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