Beyond the suffering, pain and death occasioned by the doctors’ strike, there are lessons both for the young and old, a silver lining if you may.
To begin with, the doctors’ strike is led by young, sharp men and women who look barely 30. They are well-dressed, passionate and articulate.
They lead a small army of barely 4,000 men and women but they have demonstrated a capacity to bring the nation to a halt in hours.
That alone speaks volumes. There are many people who strut around believing they own the world. Most are politicians. Some are businesspeople with a gun stuck in their belts.
Others are celebs. They walk around telling people, “Do you know who I am?” Well, if they vanished off the face of the earth, the reality is that even their villages wouldn’t grind to a halt.
But these young doctors in leadership demonstrate something else. You will not see an elderly doctor walking around waving placards. In medicine, and law, seniority counts.
The old pros have made their pile of dough and retreated from the war-front to let the Young Turks take charge. And that is how it should be, unlike politicians who want to be drugged from office to the grave.
Thirdly, that doctors go on strike year in, year out over lousy pay should teach kids who gush “I want to be a neurosurgeon” food for thought. There is (dirty) money in politics and church. I know a beautiful female doctor who is a carpenter – okay she does interior design! – and judging from her bubbly looks, she is not broke.
What I’m saying is that when you are the most brilliant chap in your class, you mustn’t be a doctor. There is money in farming. You can make a hell lot of cash as a plumber. And you serve mankind all the same.
Being a doctor is a circus. You spend your life in very depressing environments, surrounded by pain, heartbreak and death. Many doctors drink more than they should, smoke a lot of tobacco and occasionally sniff, inject and swallow prohibited substances.
Even when they pay you well, you are so busy running from one clinic to another cutting up people that you barely have time for yourself. When you are getting cozy with your better half (assuming you found time to ensnare one), the phone rings and you jump out of bed and race away.
Meanwhile, the very same politicians who created this mess are shooting drinks surrounded by a harem of well-endowed blondes in a dark pub on Ngong Road, as a train of wheeler dealers pop in and out to pay alms.
That time, your long suffering doc is stuck in a surgery at Kenyatta National Hospital, waiting for patients whose legs have been mangled by hippos, drunken drivers and randy boda boda riders to pop in screaming their lungs out.
But you know the worst thing about being a doctor? If you screw up, they jail you. A teacher can get away with being incompetent. An engineer can supervise a building that comes crashing down.
But you try forgetting a hankie in a man’s scrotum after a vasectomy. We will jail you, my friend!