When I woke, I had forgotten all the lonely thoughts of the night before. It was a new day! It was my first day as a doctor! Or at least, as an intern hoping to become a doctor.
I burst out of bed with the mockingbird’s song. I had to race to breakfast and shower before the 8:05 ferry.
For the whole ferry ride, I kept thinking about being in a position to help people. If someone’s not feeling well, I’d be able to put things right to restore comfort and health. What an honor! What a gift from the universe to be somebody that can help make somebody else feel better. I was bursting with enthusiasm and gratitude when I walked through the clinic’s doors.
The first person I met was Luna Villareal, one of the newer general physicians on staff.
“I hear we’re neighbors now,” Luna said.
“Yeah! Maybe we can take the ferry in together sometime!” I suggested.
“I work a different shift,” she said. “But maybe I’ll see you around the island? Anyway, during the times that our shifts overlap, I’ll be happy to advise or help in any way. Just ask!”
One of my first tasks was to analyze some samples. I had no idea what I was doing. It took a while to figure out the machine, and then I couldn’t make heads or tales of the charts and symbols.
Eva, the roommate/whatever of meu pai, who is my supervisor (she’s the one who got me the job, actually), said she’d be happy to show me how to interpret the results, but she got busy. I guess she gets busy a lot around here.
The receptionist called me to help admit some of the patients, and Mãe was standing in line, looking terrible.
“Mãe! You’re ill!” I said.
“I’m sure it’s nothing,” she replied. “I just… Oh. I’m just hot. And tired. And achy.”
“But you never get sick,” I told her, as I led her back to the examining room.
“I got sick once,” she answered, “when I was pregnant with you. Oh, I felt horrible then. Just like now. I had such a fever. We worried it would be bad for you, but the nurse practitioner said you’d be fine. And you were! Am I rambling?”
“Just a bit,” I replied.
She asked how my day was going. I confided that it was awful.
“I have no idea what I’m doing. I know I’m supposed to, being a Wonder Child and all that. But I’m seriously clueless.”
Mãe laughed. “No one’s born being a doctor,” she replied.
“I’m serious,” I said. “Take you, for example. I have no idea how to help you. What would you do if I weren’t an intern here?”
“Why,” she answered, “I’d drink some of Berry’s herbal stuff.”
“And would it work?” I asked.
“Oh, yeah! Like a charm! I don’t know what all she puts in there–cinnamon, echinacea, maybe licorice or star anise–but it works, and I’m sure I’d feel better soon.”
“Well, then,” I said, “That’s just what I prescribe. Go directly home, have a generous helping of Tia Berry’s herbal stuff, and call me in the morning. See? I’m getting this down!”
The rest of my shift went pretty smoothly. I managed to clean up a few messes, cheer up a few patients, and even open the door for a few people! Not brilliant, but at least I could say I had “done no harm.”
On the ferry ride back, I kept thinking about Tia Berry’s herbal remedies. I’d taken them a time or two growing up–sometimes for preventive measures and sometimes to cure a cold–and they worked. If Nature provides something that heals, then she does so in order for us to use it. I was going to have to call my tia to find out what she puts in that recipe.
Maybe, part of me being a doctor is doing things my style, with herbs, for example, instead of synthetic chemicals.