Last night, Eduardo had to cancel. It turns out that when he got home from work (I presume by taxi), he found that his brother had taken the car and thus, he was stranded. He sounded annoyed at his brother when he talked to me, and was profuse in his apologies.
Of course, I had no problem with Eduardo canceling. He had called me earlier in the day, set a time (9 p.m.) and given me the date plan. He also called and apologized as soon as he knew that it wasn’t going to happen. Take note, men of the internet! The problems don’t arise until you make plans, and then don’t show up! Or call! Or apologize!
As it turns out, my younger cousin had gone out with friends last night, so I had an available vehicle at home. I could have offered to pick Eduardo up if I really wanted to, but I didn’t really want to.
This morning, I had to be at the hospital early to check up on patients and to have my exit interview with the hospital director. In Spanish. Going out with Eduardo wouldn’t have prevented me from doing any of that, but it would have kept me up late.
Since I speak English when I’m at my aunt and uncle’s house, I decided that it would be best to check on my patients first, before going to the Director’s office, in order to get my brain into Spanish mode. I was especially nervous about my interview, though, and couldn’t even form coherent sentences. It didn’t help that I felt like Jacob could potentially appear at any moment, to see me butchering my Spanish, and saying nonsensical things to patients.
Thankfully, it occurred to me during my first patient visit that I only see Jacob in the evenings. This meant that he was probably in surgery during the day, and that it was unlikely that I'd run into him in the salas.
On my second to last patient visit, though, I heard his voice.
“Hey there,” he said, appearing from nowhere, exactly as I had feared.
“Oh, hey,” I responded shakily in English, before turning back to my patient to say goodbye in Spanish.
“What are you doing?,” he asked. “Did you just make him sign something?,” he asked, walking over to the patient’s bedside, and peering over my shoulder at the consent form that the patient had just signed.
Suddenly self-conscious, I pulled the consent form off of my clipboard and shoved it into the binder where the other study materials are.
“I like to do things the legal way too,” I said, referencing our conversation last night, in which he told me that there are two ways to get a residency in this country: a legal way and an illegal way. (He did it the legal way.)
“No one’s going to check on that stuff,” he said, confirming the fact that he knows nothing about IRBs or US research studies.
He was friendly, but seemed nervous. He kept asking me what I was doing and how “things went.” As per my earlier thoughts on this, I didn’t know what he was referring to. Did he mean how did things go with my follow-up patients? Or, with my plans last night? Was this conversation business or personal?
I eventually figured out that he wanted to know about both. So, while he (again) peered over my shoulder looking at my patient list, he explained which patients were going to be discharged and why. He pointed at the abdomen of the patient whose bed we were standing in front of, and explained that he had had a prostatectomy and wouldn’t be discharged for another few days. In comparison, he mentioned that another patient of mine would be discharged today, because he had only had a bilateral hydrocele that was easily drained.
“Do you know what a hydrocele is?,” he asked, unintentionally pimping me.
Then, we were suddenly talking about our personal lives—the fact that I didn’t go out last night after all and that I don’t mind driving here, and do it everyday. I suppose that there was nowhere else that we could have gone to talk, but let me tell you, having a personal conversation at the bedside of a patient is not romantic.
McDreamy and Meredith might make these conversations look flirtacious and suggestive, but they’re not. They’re just bizarre. When you look away from the eyes of your beloved, your gaze is wont to fall on things like…bloody catheter bags and IV drips. Also, with Jacob standing at the patient’s bed foot, and me standing at his side, the patient couldn’t help but hear everything that we were saying to each other (although, we were speaking in English). Considering the nature of the salas, it was uncomfortable having a personal conversation right out in the open.
Eventually, Jacob and I parted ways—I went to check on my patients; he went to go do something surgical.
An hour later, I was waiting outside of the Hospital Director’s office. As per usual, I had to wait forever, but when I did finally see him, I managed to (sort of) explain my findings and thank him for my time here. He also thanked me for coming and then, he asked,
“Will you be back again?”
“No,” I said sadly. “This was my last time.”
(At least for a while.)
(At least for a while.)