Sweet bitterness

Came into contact with the human embodiment of bitterness today. This guy has a long history of personal tragedies dating to the time he was involved in a horrific road accident which left him paralyzed from the waist down. He was then diagnosed with HIV and since then relations with his wife has been strained to say the least. The wife has more or less washed her hands of him. He was admitted to a state-owned hospital for a urinary tract infection more than 3 months ago and it looks as if he may never leave.

Before going into the hospital, he has been shunted from one long term care facility to another. When asked, the caregivers in these centers said that he was a ‘trouble maker’. I often wondered what kind of trouble a man paralyzed as he is can cause. Lately I have come to realize why they said what they did.

In his opinion nothing is good enough for him. He never misses a chance to complain about things around him. Every small little thing will set him off on a pointless rant. He verbally abuses the staff and a day never goes by without him getting into an argument with them. He demands instant attention from the staff refusing to wait even when they are attending to other patients. He will complain about how difficult it is for him to get to toilet which is a valid point in his condition and how the government can buy this or that equipment for his use.

There are 2 types of healthcare in Malaysia. On one hand you have the government hospitals and on the other you get the private centers that will costs an arm, a leg and then some. The government hospitals run at a loss because the patients pay a small fee (as low as USD 1.50) for specialized consultation and medications. If they are admitted to the wards, a daily fee of USD 0.85 is charged and this is inclusive of meals. As far as treatment and procedures are concerned they amount to nothing much and for government servants even more fees are waived. I remember the case of my neighbor who was admitted for a medical procedure after which he gleefully showed me the hospital bill which came up to a grand sum of USD 0.85.

There is also something called the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act which amongst other things waives all hospitalization fees for persons afflicted with any condition which is considered of potential infectivity to others in society. Examples would be Tuberculosis and HIV to name but 2. Which brings us back to our malcontent. If he leaves the hospital he will have to pay nothing. Zilch. Nada. What does he do? Complain about the service provided and the lack of a potty with a big enough hole for his fat ass. Honestly that was his pet rant of the week.

All day he sits in his assigned bed and gets into one altercation after another with the staff who would as soon strangle him if permitted to. As such they have to keep their cool and bear the verbal barrage. Its as if the whole world owes him and he has come to collect. He never pauses to think about what the people around are trying to do for him. They are total strangers and I feel like asking him where his family is in all these. They are certainly not there to clean him and clear the scatological mess he makes everyday, sometimes more than once per day. All he does is lie there and complain.

A small part of me feels sorry for him for all that he has gone through, although I have to admit that its getting smaller by the day. In its place is an indignation that this guy deserves everything that has been dished out to him. I do not pretend to begin to understand the pain this man is harboring inside. All I know is that his attitude is not helping matters. He is digging himself into an ever deepening hole.

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2 comments on “Sweet bitterness

  1. I know someone exactly like that. He behaves the way he does, to seek for attention. An act of kindness he is unable to show, thus he resorts to childish complains. You’ll be surprise if someone who has the patience and high tolerance level, sits and listens to him, the man’s attitude will change. Difficult part is, to find someone who has such patience and tolerance level !

  2. this guy really grates on my nerves seeing that they are rather frayed as it is at this moment. to each his own i guess. i just hope that his negativity does not rub off on me!

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