The jump, the shake, and the whole dance at Hospitals

A close relative was at the hospital for a few days recently, and I ha to spend a good amount of time visiting and supporting.  During this period, I saw a lot of weird “dancing” rituals.  I call them dancing rituals as they were exactly that; a mix of dancing and acting, to impress the target audience, who are usually the target patient and relatives.  Right in the hospital.

The act is carried out by an individual or a group of the patient relatives.  They show their concern for their patients by becoming belligerent with the “bad guy” character in this drama.  This evil character is a relative, a doctor, or it can even be a porter.  The goal is to point out the negligence and poor performance of this evil person.  Then make a drama out of it.  The purpose of course is not to help the patient or improve hospital service.  The purpose is to show selflessness and love towards the patient.  And more importantly to show that they are doing their “duty” towards this person, not by doing the right thing, but by SHOWING others that they really care and are concerned.  I say showing, because the key is showing, as it is what really matters.

There are a lot of fancy and basic moves to this dance.  One of the basic moves, is to look concerned, sad, and overwhelmed.  This is the least one can do, is to SHOW concern.  another basic move is to dish out advice to the patient and his or her relatives on what to do and what not to do.  but it is far from that.  One of the advice is to not listen to the doctor or nurses as they “do not know what they are doing.” That is a relief, given the patient’s circumstances.  Then, there is the advice about what to do or not to do in front of the patient, and how to show the patient your love and care.  This is of course advice to the close relatives.

Then there are the fancy moves, only known to the advanced dancers.  One is to tell the doctor and nurses what to do and not to do.  honest.  I have seen this.  Part of this fancy move is to get angry at the doctor and questioning his or her judgment.  Just when you think it cannot get any fancier, wait there is more.  There is intimidating, the doctor, nurse, and hospital management, for their “poor performance” and not being up tot he standards of Mr expert who is dishing the advice, or performing the dance.

It was like a dancing contest; lots of fancy moves, but no real valuable action.  This strange ritual is, in fact, a way to prove self worth.  The dance is supposed to show others strength, value, agility, but in reality, it is in itself worthless; There is no value whatsoever. No one  is immune from slipping into performing the “dance.”

I saw relatives of patients right in front of the patients’ rooms, bad mouthing the doctors, and putting down the efforts of doctors and nurses.  It is a dance.  See, this pessimistic action does not serve anyone.  How would it help to question the judgment of a doctor when he is handling a critical situation.  “Are you crazy?” is the first thing that comes to my mind.  I mean this guy needs a clear mind to deal with the pressures of handling patients well being.  Even the relative that they are concerned about will be hurt one way or the other because of the lack of focus of the doctor who is not sure whether to focus on the patient, or on the idiots, excuse my french, who are busy with their “dancing ritual” of proving their love to their patient.

There are some who cannot control their emotions.  I mean someone whose son or daughter or mother or father is suffering.  Of course they will be emotional.  But a lot of the motions I saw looked fake.  How do I  know? I do not know for sure but to me it looked so fake.  I mean, I saw a lot of actions that prove insincerity.  I saw people who look OK and fine and like they have no worry, and start acting up as soon as they feel one of their “target audience” is watching.  That is a sure sign of faking it in anybody’s book.

There are others who perform this dance because, for some reason, they think intimidation will make the doctors and nurses perform better.  I am not sure where this notion came from.  IF anyone knows where this idea comes from please help.

I have to admit, I was amazed at me getting drawn into this emotional roller coaster.  In a way, I felt guilty for not showing emotions as others are showing them in their dance.  I started noticing myself participating with some “basic moves.” It is funny yet sad.  I started caring about others seeing me concerned.  I mean I was concerned but I usually have my own way of dealing with my worries and concerns and emotions.  However, I found myself changing these habits and ways of dealing with my emotions to “dance” with the other “dancers” trying to look concerned.

Maybe this is what is happening to the other dancers.  Maybe they too are dancing to someone else’s tune, so to speak.  They are also afraid of how others will see them, if they do not dance.  So all of us are dancing the negative and destructive dance, just to show each other that we are concerned. I am not happy that it happened to me, but I have to be honest: this is exactly what happened.

Does this happen in all cultures? I have seen hospitals in some countries that were so quiet, and comforting to patients and their relatives alike.  However in some other countries patrons are not so fortunate.

Comments (2)

  1. Dear Ammar,

    It’s a curious thing you mention, but one I have also observed within my culture (Spanish), which is a collectivist culture. As you know, these cultures place the group interests above the individual, so people are often overly concerned about what others will think of them if the do such a thing or fail to do such a thing.

    My education is in psychology and I work as a counsellor in a multicultural city in North America and have observed how collectivist and individualist cultures differ in what they consider important. I have noted there are some things I value from both. For example, collectivists provide more support to each other, value family a little more, and are generally more expressive emotionally. Individualists respect each other’s choices more, tolerate more differences – even though they may not share affinities, and tend to make lines/queues and respect order a little more. Drawbacks of collectivists seem to be that hypocrisy is a little more prevalent, more control is exerted over the individual’s desires and choices, less innovation or healthy deviation is tolerated, conformism is more prevalent and people cannot truly be fully themselves in the presence of others. Drawbacks of individualists seem to be substantially less family and social support for a person who is suffering, greater indifference to individual harmful behaviour and harmful deviance, a focus on excitement as an ideal over social harmony/connection.

    I am glad to see you too are an observer of human nature and reflect upon your surroundings. In my experience that is, unfortunately, rare. Thank you for your YouTube videos also. I share in many of your interests, including understanding and dealing with manipulative people, as well as narcissists, sociopaths and psychopaths.

    Be well and thank you again.

    1. Salam Miguel,
      Thank you for your feedback. Very valid and valuable. Your input took me away from work to take a deep breath and clear the mind. Thank you.
      Observing surroundings is the most awesome thing one can do. In Islam it is an important form of worship. The Quran urges us to “Look.” Even though we seldom “Look.” 🙂
      For example: I cannot get over the fact that there is “depth” in the universe. The 3D effect I mean. That alone leaves me in awe. wow. Even now when I think of it. This creation is marvelous.
      My email is if you would like to share more thoughts / ideas.
      I wish you well.

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