Yellow paper, or Hippocratic Oath

RettungSome time ago in group of Austrian unemployed I participated in anonymous psychological test on personal wishes and dreams. Living on allowance, people dream mainly about money.
If to go to Amazon with idea to find most popular self-improvement books, it will be books how to become rich.
It seems there is no sphere of life free of common monetary passion. But even in the midst of race for more everybody would agree, there is always at least one point of higher importance for us – our health.
Circumstances were so, that recently I came in touch with Austrian health care in the role of patient.
My health self-insurance in Austrian institution GKK was automatically canceled because of mistake one of the clerks in district social office made. After a lot of fuss between Social office and GKK, the first unwillingly produced sheet of yellow paper for temporary free medical help. The simple resolve of problem with insurance filled my heart with euphoria. I thought: “All these years were not in vain, I live in truly advanced social state and even can use free medical help!” Soon it came the chance to try my new yellow paradise ticket.
As all things in the world have fatal duality, so is the case with my sensitivity, which turns in everyday life in vulnerability and falls upon me in form of allergic reactions.
When I appeared in Allergy center with blocked nose and cheerfully produced yellow scrap of paper to receptionist, she looked puzzled. Then she offered me to pay for visit, or to find aid of other practitioner in two-weeks time. Why other doctor may solve problem which doctor of the center could not solve, was not clear for me.
I directed my slightly inhibited walk to physician, who was so nice to me one year ago during routine procedure of ear cleaning.
Again I produced yellow paper with caught breath expecting to witness phenomenal focus-pocus of its hypnotic influence.
Nurse retreated to doctor’s room and after certain amount of time returned and handed paper back to me. She told paper didn’t belong here, but I still could see doctor if I wanted.
I entered the watch room, which I remembered so well from my previous visit. Everything was the same. But demeanor of former kind doctor of medicine magically changed. She hardly paid a look at me, rearranging items at her table with air of peevish irritability.
Then she abruptly pointed me where to sit, and feeling myself bold and shameless beggar who expected to get medical advice free of charge, I crossed the room and clumsily landed myself in the chair, brushing against instrument box, which fell on the floor with terrible bang. Practitioner sprang to her feet and rushed forward and then back in state of uncontrollable fury. She kicked my bag, that I stupidly dropped directly in the center of passage.
I mumbled apologies together with complains, but they didn’t reach the woman whose attention was switched off by overload.
“Was wollen Sie von mir?”- exclaimed she pathetically.
I could not reply, because now I wanted only one thing – never see her again.
She handed me receipt for nose-spray and wished me good-buy.
I was leaving with feeling of loss. As if I lost friend.
Perhaps all focus-pocus was that value of my well-being dropped in exact ratio to my social status.
Medicine is also business. And as in any other business, heads of physicians, as heads of sun-flowers turn toward golden sun.
I forgot my scarf in reception and came back to fetch it. Passing the mirror I
swiftly observed reflection of confused woman with sheet of yellow paper clenched in the hand.

*The Hippocratic Oath is an oath traditionally taken by physicians on ethical practice of medicine.
The last postulate of Oath says:
I promise to keep the good of the patient as the highest priority.

Galina Toktalieva

Kyrgyzstan-born author residing in Graz, Austria

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