Commandment : Love your neighbour as yourself.
Question : Who is my neighbour?
Answer : The stranger who changed your flat tyre.
doc in private practice venting steam....because life is more than just stethoscopes, syringes & getting woken up at unearthly hours.
Some one took the trouble to create such a day. I wouldn't have known about it had not someone posted on FB.
Not sure how to celebrate it, if at all. For me, all I want is for the patient to leave the operating room alive and healed.
That alone is reward enough.
My orthopaedic colleague in another hospital is ranting.
Every time he sends patients to the Xray department, either
1) the queue is long,
2) the report takes ages to be issued
and worst of all....
3) the report is unreliable, inaccurate or inconclusive.
So, imagine you are the patient. You arrive at the clinic at 9am, see the doctor at 10am, go to the Xray department at 10.30am to see a long queue before you, get the Xray/scan done at 1pm, & wait for the report which is issued only at 4pm, and go back to the clinic only for the doctor to tell you that the diagnosis remains uncertain.
And you may need another scan.
You spent the whole day & loads of cash only to return to square 1.
You are upset, the doctor is upset and the cycle repeats itself.
No wonder my colleague is ranting.
It's often proclaimed that wherever we are, whatever we do, it's for a reason. Like if we had not gone there, then ...... or, If we hadn't done that, then...........
If you are religious, you'd feel it's even like a divine decree.
Last Wednesday, I was at such a place and time. My scheduled case didn't not take place & at 4pm, I was just walking pass the surgical ward, getting ready to change & go off.
I got an urgent call from that ward that one of the patients I had anaesthesied earlier that morning was having a convulsion & was not conscious.
I was by the bedside before you could say Code Blue. With the help of the nurses, we proceeded to do CPR. Although the heart momentarily stopped beating, we managed to restart it because prompt action was instituted early, which is the essence of CPR anyway.
The stay in ICU was quite stormy, and we weren't sure if the patient has suffered brain damage because he remained unconscious for 2 days after that. But on the 3rd day, as we scheduled him for CT scan of the brain, he suddenly opened his eyes & started to respond to instructions.
All I could say was Hallelujah. It felt like a religious decree that I was at that place at that time.
The patient was discharged very much alive from hospital today.
In a way, looking back, I felt I was indifferent at best & negligent at worst.
The nurse called me last night about a late admission. This patient was supposed to have surgery this afternoon & I would usually see & assess on the morning of the surgery. Not knowing any detail of this patient, I refrained from giving any medical advice over the phone, lest it was inappropriate. Besides, once I start getting involved, I know the nurses will call me for every discomfort the patient may complain of throughout the night.
Therein lies my predicament. I am a doctor and yet I want a good nite of uninterrupted sleep, because I am not on call.
At my age, I dislike, & try to avoid, on-call duties, because I am on my worst behaviour without sleep.
It's time for the daughter to pick the hospital elective posting for next year.
Her 1st choice is a popular district hospital 160km away because there are more hands-on & practical experiences there. She will have to find new accommodation in the district & may be on the road often.
The 2nd is the city hospital only 12km away & 25 mins by train. On top of that, she already lives near the train station. For logistic reasons, being a foreign student, I much preferred she remained in the city.
As it turned out, she was allotted the city hospital. I was glad. And I forgot to mention that had she been posted to the district, she planned on getting a car & driving the 320 km round trip every week.
Having worked at the hospital for 25 years, from a shoplot practice to a new independent medical centre, and then to be part of a major healthcare chain, you'd think she'd be missed when she finally retires.
Truth be told, I can't remember the last time I have worked with a nurse so obnoxious, I just dread if we had to assist surgery in the same theatre.
I won't miss her. Seriously. Honestly.
In my 1st job in the UK, I was waiting for the hospital transport to get me to another hospital. As the van stopped in front of the lobby, a middle-aged gentleman in a full suit, coat, tie & all, disembarked from the vehicle. Trying to be friendly, I approached him.....
Me: Hi, is this the van to the WH hospital?
Him : Yes, indeed it is.
Me : By the way, I am Dr T & I am the new SHO. And you are Dr........?
Him : I am Ray & I am the hospital porter.
Lesson #1 : in the UK, most men in the service industry, from top down, wear full suits.
Lesson #2 : Introduction is commonly by 1st names.
Therein, began my memorable 4-year sojourn in a foreign country.
My friend's daughter is having her wedding reception dinner tonite. I am going to be late. I am thinking about the peer pressures of the modern day matching of life long mates.
I sensed that my friend was a bit disappointed. You see, the bride is a dentist and it would be expected by some quarters that she would pick someone with a similar honorific, e.g. Dr. Whether she wouldn't or couldn't doesn't matter, at least to me. I played table tennis with the guy last week and from that brief encounter, I was impressed with his soft spoken manners & politeness.
Doesn't matter if he's just plain looking or just an architect. He's in for the long haul. A successful marriage goes beyond looks & vocations. They both love God & that counts for everything.
And love is all they need.
Congrats, Ivan & Yen.
I've always thought that I have fostered a blood-is-thicker-than-water bond with both my kids.
It's our (the boy's & mine) ritual to have breakfast on Saturdays when we have no commitments - he, to the school and extra-curricular activities, & I, to the hospital. Usually we'd have either the chicken briyani or tosai/canai. Yes, we're that set in our ways. So when I asked him today if we are OK for breakfast at 9.30am tomorrow, he said it depends if he could wake up on time.
His response rankled me a bit; if he really enjoy having breakfast with me, he'd make every attempt to get up by that time, as I would. Besides, 9.30am is not that early by any measure.
I know when kids grow up, they often have their own circle of friends which they would want to hang out & chill out with, at the expense of the family
But I'd rather hope he'd choose dad over sleep. We'll see.....
Made this decision in 1979 & never looked back since.
Through thick & thin, sleepless nites in the four seasons, forgoing social activities & staying beyond appointed working hours (what's that?), in life & in death, the Lord sustained me.
I have found my calling.
This is a malignant growth of the ducts that connect the liver and gallbladder to the small bowel. These ducts deliver bile to aid digestion of fatty food. Diagnosis is often late & the downward course is often rapid.
My colleague's brother had it & he just passed away today. This condition struck a resonant chord with me because the very 1st patient I had as a medical student in the surgical ward (circa 1982) was this cheerful and obese middle-aged gentleman who was admitted for jaundice.
Mah Hung was his name & how I can still remember that, I don't know ...... maybe it was because he was my 1st surgical patient & I saw him every weekday till he finally passed away.
But I will never forget his kind words to me during one of our meetings. He advised me to work hard to be a good doctor and hoped that I will be a specialist one day.
Dear Uncle Mah, you are long gone but your kind wish did come true. I was touched then, just as I am today. Thanks for being my patient & my teacher, for who you were, what you had & what you went through. May your soul rest in peace.
Yesterday, the drug rep invited the 6 of us out for dinner. 3 of us couldn't make it, so the senior colleague, on his own accord, invited a few nurses to take the place of the absent doctors.
In the end, 5 nurses turned up & 1 even brought her grown-up daughter. Even though the dinner came under company expenses, I felt it was highly inappropriate for my colleague to invite the nurses for what was clearly an invitation for doctors only. And to bring your daughter for a department function spoke volumes of the lack of etiquette & common sense.
I felt sorry for the rep. I wonder how she is going to explain to her boss about the extra (non-medical) heads for dinner, at RM85 net per pax?
This is the Big Event of my year so far. Last August, my walking buddy told me of a vacancy in his group going up to Mt K in April this year. Having been mulling about doing the climb for some years, I jumped at the opportunity to realise this dream.
We started training by climbing the local hill (vertical ascent 140m) & despite carrying backpacks of 7kgs, it was far short of the 8km trail & 3200m vertical ascent of the real thing. But it was better than not hike training.
There were 6 of us in this group. They had originally planned for 2015 but the earthquake put paid to that. So, after a 2-hour bus ride from Kota Kinabalu, we finally arrived at the park HQ in Ranau, which is already 1800m above sea level. We will spend a nite here & the adventure starts the next day.....
It's been 2 years since my last entry. This morning I had a brief chat (read: 2 sentences each) with an ex-classmate from 6th Form & she persuaded me to reconsider blogging. So here I am.
I think I was more diligent previously because there were stuff I wanted to share.
But I stopped because I felt it was time consuming, to fire up the laptop, to draft & rewrite the narrative, so that it sounded credible, with punctuation in the right places & tenses correctly emphasised.
But mostly because the smartphone was a gadget from Mars & I hadn't subscribed to a data plan yet. That all changed now, & I can literally blog anywhere, anytime.
So here I am. Feel free to welcome me back.
i must be going soft.
i've been watching reruns of grey's anatomy & and ally mcbeal & there were 2 episodes that got me all mushy.
grey's anatomy : the one where denny suddenly died shortly after he got his heart transplant. lizzie, the intern who fell for him like a ton of bricks, cried buckets. a cautionary tale for health workers not to get too emotionally involved with the patients under their care but denny was such a charmer, even i can understand why lizzie was besotted. :P
ally mcbeal : billy has been acting strange, what with his blonde hair & entourage of robert palmer type leather-suited girls. as it turned out, he has an inoperable brain tumour. Married to another fellow lawyer, he did confess to his old flame Ally that he still loved her all of his days & with all of his heart. He then collapsed suddenly in court & died. And Ally too cried buckets.
*this post was drafted in 2015 but time has not lessened the impact of death on me*