It was 8 p.m. I was attending my evening duty at hospital. I just visited his chamber, and he was visibly busy with some pending works. As I entered his room, he smiled and welcomed me to sit on the chair. I sat on the chair across his table, opposite to him. He, with his trademark gentle voice, asked as to what he may do for me. I said I am visiting him to get some information about him because I wanted to write something about him. As soon as he heard what I said, he went blank and speechless. I, at first, thought that he didn’t like what I said for some reason. But it wasn’t the case. He slowly started to talk and shared some of the most daunting challenges he has faced in his life up until now.
He came to Bhutan on 2nd August, 1975. This year is his 40th year of active service to our nation. He said that when he came to Bhutan, there wasn’t a simple medical laboratory services available. For him to start a good laboratory services in Bhutan was a big challenge, he explained me with the smile of satisfaction on his face, Bhutanese were not fond of the profession because they had to handle patient’s stool, urine and blood, he said. He was accompanied by one Indian laboratory technician and one Sikkimese helper. Their work was to examine stool for parasites and to perform blood grouping since there was no required equipment to perform other parameters, he said.
First three months of his stay in Bhutan were the toughest. He even thought of going back to his country as nobody was ready to take up the laboratory works having to deal with human faeces and urine. However, after some time, people realized that that laboratory works are also a field of profession and there was a good scope to get employed there. Gradually, people came forward and wanted to learn from him. He has trained countless Bhutanese health personnel and still continues to guide and train the trainees of GesarGyalpo University of Health and Sciences of Bhutan. Thanks to the tireless work of this old man, today Bhutan can boast of many qualified laboratory technicians. He says he is happy to see the seed he sowed many years ago blooming and eventually giving such healthy fruits.
He is a patient’s Doctor in the truest sense!Early in the morning many patients take advantage of his time because other Doctors turn up to their office at 9.00a.m. He comes to his office at 8.00a.m. Every day to complete the pending works but many patients can be seen lining up to meet him at his chamber. He never lets any patient to go back without checking. He always checks the patient, go along with the patient to drop the sample to be tested at every respective chamber and never let patient bear the trouble of locating and submitting the samples. He checks many patients, collects blood, stool, and urine sample of the patients by himself, and then collects reports and always monitors until he/she is alright.
Because he can’t refuse the patients his help and service, he is not able to finish his work during office hours mostly. He stays back at his chamber till 8 p.m. every day relying on the snacks when he feels the need to eat something.He is workaholic. He works 12 hours every day and even weekends are not free for him. Every single day is a working day for him. Being under the same department as he is in, I have learned a lot of good things from him. If I have to summarize whatever I learned from him in few words, I would say ‘pure dedication to work our assigned works’.
His employment contract expired in 2013 but the Government of Bhutan extended it for two more years. This year is his last and by December end, he will be leaving Bhutan for good. I asked him whether he would continue working here if his contract was given another extension. He said he would happily do so because he would take it more as an obligation than an extension of his employment. I hope he will continue to contribute to Bhutan is some ways. Bhutan would lose a great contributor if he decides to leave the country that has been his home for so many years.
In a befitting conclusion to the words of wisdom he shared with me, he said, “My religion says that if we do our work whole-heartedly and not half- heartedly, then we will attain Nirvana when we die. I always try to follow my religion.”