Mr Kora

It was a calm day in clinic today. Too calm for a Monday. Calm is good.

Calm clinic means I get to spend more time with certain patients especially those who needs a tad more advice and guidance in managing their chronic disease. It’s also a good time to just listen to those grandmother stories that are usually cut off (with style and grace) during other busy clinic sessions. As of today, I get to listen to Mr Kora’s story.

Mr Kora was a 63 years old Indian gentlemen with underlying diabetes. He is working as a security guard including night shifts on a monthly wage of RM1600. He came to clinic today with back pain. Understandably, the night hours for such an elderly man can be detrimental to one’s health especially when he has been in this line of job for the past 5 years. I mean, how could you not doze off once in a while, in an awkward position during your shift. Even doctors need to rest for a bit before continuing with their work. And yet, he said working the night shift is his choice as he needs his daytime to be free so that he could attend to matters pertaining to his wife and children like sending to clinic or school, grocery run and all.

I ordered him an an Xray, discharged him with pain killers and gave him a medical certificate to rest for 2 days. Whilst writing his prescription, I asked about his family, I enquired if he has applied for BPN and all. He was not sure if he had applied for BPN, so we checked his MyKad number and his wife’s MyKad number. His family after all is eligible for the B40 category. Alhamdulilah, the wife’s name is in the system and they should be receiving the financial benefits soon.

Throughout the session, he never stopped mentioning how glad he is for getting the job and his supportive immediate boss, how happy he is for his children and how, even at the receiving end of benefits, he still gives a bit of ‘charity’ to other people in his area.

What struck to me most afterwards was when he told me a story about KFC.

One day, he and his son received an SMS promo on their phones saying there is a KFC voucher you can claim to get a BUY ONE FREE ONE meal. Naturally, they were very excited with the deal and started to fill in sensitive data as required. Unbeknownst to Mr Kora at the time, it was of course, a scam.

Thankfully, due to his keen eye, he realized that the little money he deposited into his bank account were missing periodically. Sometimes it is RM40, others it is RM20. So he visit the bank and thus discovered that his bank account had been hacked. The bankers were really helpful though and reassured him that they will try to get his money back. At the same time, they created a new bank account for him. In total, about RM100 were taken from his account illegally. For a man who earns less than RM2K per month and having mouths to feed on top of bills and a car to pay, it is a significant amount.

What happened next was a moment of WOW.

  1. He was upset that the criminals took his money for he felt that the RM100 could be used to help the people he usually helps.
  2. He was concerned of those who have more money in their accounts being scammed the same way like he did. His words, I translate, being “what if that person had thousands of money, they could have taken more. Poor guy! (kesian)

There I was thinking – such an awful thing has happened to this uncle and yet he could still think of other people. In this very modern, self-absorbed and sometimes, self-centered world – it is very difficult to come across someone like Mr Kora, who being the one in despair is still concerned about the wellbeing of others. Nowadays, if the rich gets in trouble, rarely people get empathetic. Orang pandai bisnes kan, takkan takde geng yang boleh tolong. When the parent of a doctor is admitted to ICU in a foreign country during a holiday trip, you can be sure that the donation drive would be less energetic. Doktor kan kaya, takkan takde duit langsung.

Mr Kora may not have met Syed Azmi, I wouldn’t know. But it seems that they live their lives based on the wisdom of “helping those in NEED”. A person may have mansion but if what they NEED right now is RM10 for a hot meal because they have no cash at all (accounts got beku or something) then we will give it to them. A person may not be illiterate but if what the person NEEDS right now is a pencil and a book, we will give it to them.

A person IN NEED doesn’t have to look shabby, smelly or poor. It can be anybody, a person with their own pressing, special needs. Mr Kora understood that virtue in life which is why even when he have so little, he still thinks about those who have more.

I found my Patience Guru , it came in the form of a teenage boy

It was already 2 minutes to 5PM. We close at 5PM. Despite how altruistic the doctors are, to see a non emergency patient after hours in a clinic which opens only from 8 to 5 – we cannot even run a simple blood tests because the lab is closed. Hence, any emergency cases that comes after 5PM will be attended, stabilized using the drugs and equipment we have in the emergency area and then transferred swiftly to the nearest tertiary centre.

So when the boy who came for his medical checkup looked lost outside my door because he has not apparently been seen since he arrived, I felt sorry for him. He had asked a staff earlier of what to do but his questions were probably not understood correctly hence he was told to wait for his number to come up. The young teenage boy failed to realize that he first needs to put his card with the number outside the respective doctor rooms before he was called. Thus, he was never called into the doctors room because they never got his card.

And he waited patiently throughout the afternoon session. Even nearing 5PM, not a single staff at the waiting area asked him which room he was waiting on. Us in the room.. we were already swamped with whatever cards that were coming through the door, frantically writing down our prescriptions so our fellow pharmacists need not have to work late every single day and writing treatment plans promptly so our colleagues could follow up on it during the next appointment –  and now is it also our job to ask everyone in the waiting room  –

“Hi, may I ask, have you seen the doctor, are you waiting for anything or anyone in particular?”

I was disappointed that this kid had to wait that long. So I told him to give me a few seconds while I finish up on my last patient and I will see him. Thankfully, another colleague swung by my room and helped out. What broke my heart was to realize that he was there even before the afternoon session started, had his relevant tests done and yet he waited. And waited. Asked a question to a wrong person and kept on waiting. What then crushed me to pieces was that once he has been clerked and examined, he was still able to smile and utter a very sincere and grateful THANK YOU to my colleague and I.  I rasa macam nak nangis pun ada bila jumpa manusia penyabar macam ni. Bless his  beautiful soul. Bless his elderly father too for the father was also very patient, who also smiled and said a thank you.

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I take this experience as a sign from Allah that I should be more patient in my daily undertakings. The boys affairs were easily done and gotten over with in less than 5 minutes but he remained patient for hours waiting outside our doors! And was still able to be on the sunny side of his character. I felt so embarrassed of my own short fused temperaments nowadays as a Muslim. That boy, he was not even muslim. 

I pray he gets the college admission he’s applying for. I pray that Allah will ease his sufferings (if any). I pray that my Patience Guru will have success in life. InsyaAllah.