Saturday, 7 February 2015


I encountered two patients who could only communicate with us through pen and paper today; one of them a lady, was both deaf and mute while the other, a man, was deaf. When I had to direct the lady to the pharmacy, the silence was never at any moment deafening or awkward, we communicated with mutual understanding, through hand gestures. It was a minor encounter I would say, but nonetheless somewhat of a triumph, a triumph of being able to surpass a barrier.

The man who was deaf had approached me for help to request for a medical certificate, and he had it in ink on a piece of paper. I replied by writing on that same piece of paper. And as I stood next to him while waiting for the doctor to be disengaged, unthinkingly examining the contours of my phone, he whipped out his own iPhone 6 plus and put it next to mine, thereafter offering a thumbs up. It made me smile. Later, before I handed over the relevant documents over to this patient, I had written on the piece of paper again, "Done! Have a nice day :)" To which he then clasped both palms together and gave a slight bow, which was heartening to experience no doubt. 

I find it rather queer that despite being quite socially inept, talking to people who walk in and out of this place has become almost second nature to me. Perhaps it is knowing that they (most probably) will not remember me or the fact that I will only be working there for a short period of time that prompts me to go all out and communicate freely. But I guess communication and socialising are still a tad bit different, like how communicating doesn't always necessitate investing the same level of emotions? That aside, a kind of self-realisation hit me - while I get along well with everyone in general and may even seem to be more outgoing initially in the face of new people, I eventually start to withdraw into myself and feel lonely coupled with some frustration and regret that I never got to forge a deeper, greater connection which I value so much, so much that I tend to be really bad at the necessary, small talk that starts friendships. But how do others seem to handle this so easily? I can't decide for sure if this is simply part of my nature and yet I can't compel myself to change because it would be so unnatural. 

Being a human can be such a mess and miraculous a thing. 

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