Saturday, February 28, 2009

Imagine that!

Once upon a time, in the never-never land of my imagination, I thought that one day, I would be the coolest Dr in the world. My imagination and I fancied excellent scenarios of awesome doctorness...

*entering into my imagination now*

Nurse: Oh Doctor, I would love to comment on your brilliant Doctoring, not to mention your fabulous sense of style, but I don't have time as we need you, quickly!

Me ( the fabulous one): Anything for you my dear, I am, without hesitation, always ready to save lives and rock the world with a simple swish of my white coat. ( swish swish, off I go)

Nurse: Well we have this patient, she just tried to commit suicide. She superglued her eyelids open and tied herself to a chair in front of the tv while the Ricki Lake marathon was on.

Me: Good God! that's the most horrific suicide attempt I've heard of! Did she survive?

Nurse: Yes, but she's barely alive, and refuses to talk to anyone. Can you help?

And then *drum roll and fan fare*....I simply walk into the patient's room, and with a swish swish of my coat, the laying of my healing hands on her forehead, the melodious sound of my voice and my phenomenally mad medical skills, I heal that chick. inside and out. I teach her how to want to live...and she goes on to become an astrophysicist.

*exiting my imagination now.*

I hate him, my bastard imagination. My imagination is definitely a man as he is the worst of all the terrible cheating boyfriends I've ever had. This guy, lies to me ALL the time.

What really transpires, at work, is not. that. at. all. Here's what happened yesterday in the trauma unit...

Inbetween the heart attacks, strokes, stabbed chests, and the likes, I get a 16 year old brought in by the ambulance.
Let me rephrase that...dragged in by the ambulance. Dragged in screaming and crying. I immediately hated this patient. I didn't let it show, because that is unprofessional. But I couldn't help it. Inside I hated her and I hadn't even heard the diagnosis.

My few years of government service have taught me that the silent quiet patients are the ones in real trouble, and that if they're well enough to put on a screaming performance then generally,they're full of shit, and not really in as much pain as they profess to be.

Like Malcolm Gladwell, I blinked, and in a second I knew that this one was full of shit and I hated her for bringing this unecessary shit into the trauma unit.

Turns out she was actually full of TIK ( crystal methamphetamine) and experiencing all the nasty self-induced side effects that go with it. ( abdominal cramps,sweating, agitation, perceived shortness of breath etc...)

Now hang on a second. Before you get on my case about the socio-economic circumstances of drug addicts contributing to their habit, let me please tell you that I KNOW. OK!?! I KNOW all of this because I see it every day. And it is sad. really sad. And I believe it.

However, I am not God. I'm a human. I get irritated.

I tried not to judge. So I went over to her,politely introduced myself and asked her how I can help.

She responded by screaming in a manner unlike a stabbed warthog, spat at me and then used colourful swear words involving my mother's nether regions to describe what she thought of my treatment. I tried again, using my gentle voice, the kind you use when trying to calm down a rabid animal. I got the same response. Eventually I called security to hold her down while I injected horse tranquilisers, I mean benzodiazepines, to sedate her. What I really wanted to do was suture her mouth shut for saying those things! I mean,she doesn't even know my mother!

So much for my healing hands. So much for trying to heal the world. This place needs a social worker on call, not a doctor!

Stupid cow didn't even notice my swishing coat....

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Danger Pay

Christ, it's one pm and I haven't gone to sleep yet.

Was on call last night, again, in the trauma unit. (necessary weekly shopping this morning and insensitive banking hours got in the way of my beauty sleep)

The powers that be are very generous after a night on call. When your shift ends at 7am, they force one final EFF YOU down your throat and make you see ANOTHER 20 patients before they release you from the torture chamber. This, besides bordering on illegal, greatly increases the risk of killing yourself, or others on the way home. I frequently do illegal things driving home out of sheer sleep deprived stupidity.

  • I consider picking up hijackers...I mean hitchhikers. stupid stupid!
  • I mix up red means stop and green means go. As if i'm colour blind.
  • I close my eyes when stopping at robots or stop streets for a five second power nap before driving on. I pray that the nap supports my melted brain until the next traffic light. Nutty, I know.
  • I consider having an accident just to prove to everyone that this system of working us to the edges of our sanity is WRONG WRONG WRONG. I think my death might be revolutionary in health professional circles. I imagine them toyi-toying outside parliament in protest to our long working hours...eventually succeeding in a better future for all and the alleviation of poverty and the realisation peace...

See, really retarded behaviour when I'm post-call.

Basically, we should get danger pay. that's all I'm saying.

Quick little sweet story about last night:

Police rush in four MVA (motor vehicle accident) victims. They insist that the patients be seen ahead of the 30 that are already in the queue. I ask them why they're in such a rush? They inform me that the victim in the other car, that died, his family are outside the trauma unit, and are waiting with guns to shoot the driver for killing their brother.

Eager not to get shot myself, I heed their advice, examine them and get them the hell out of there.

Happy to report I have no bullet wounds this morning. I'm on again on Monday so maybe then? I'm so post call right now I'm considering getting shot just so that I can get some time off.

retarded mumbo-jumbo again.

Must sleep.
will try to dream about kittens and puppies.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"and I stayed in my pee pants all day!" (Taledega nights)

Who gives a wedding on a Wednesday night? My crazy English friend having one of those "destination weddings" in Cape Town, that's who. Needless to say, it was fantastic, and I forgot all about my mom's warning that going out on a school night, and only getting four hours sleep before your ten hour trauma unit shift the next day, WILL result in horrific rectum-loosening consequences...

like when your first patient of the day thinks your jeans would be just that much more interesting with their urine splashed generously down one leg. Why did he do this?

Because of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer made him do it! Poor guy, the cancer decided to push up against his urethra and cause a blockage. He couldn't pee for two days. This hurts. So I decided to help the man along and insert a catheter. But some sadistic genius shithead at the catheter packaging company decided that it's best to leave the catheter bag open when packaged. So my elation at hitting his bladder, and seeing golden yellow fluid gush into the bag, quickly evolved into nausea when I felt the warm caress of urine flow out of the open bag, down my legs and into my shoes.

It was 7am and I had to wear those steaming pee pants all day.

Sorry mommy,next time I'll listen, I promise!

Things I learned on a Thursday in the trauma unit:

  1. Always check that the catheter bag is closed.
  2. Patient's can suffer from a condition called "athletic feet". I prescribed a pair of Nike crosstrainers.
  3. If you have a psychiatric condition, like schizophrenia for example, do not take the treatment plan we gave you to keep the voices away, instead, treat yourself with TIK. I missed this lecture at medschool. Perhaps this works because the scary voices also get high and then the mental confusion becomes one big party?
  4. If you are a 5ft5, skinny male, and you want to prove that you are really hardcore, get a tattoo on your forehead that says: "If you fuck with me I will kill your wife" (with a little drawing of a hangman next to it).
  5. When you want to propose to a 14 year old girl, and you declare your undying love for her, and then she says no, stab her in the thigh to prove that you meant what you said. (seriously, this really happened. The guy had a ring and everything.he was serious.)
Just some pearls of wisdom that they never taught us at medical school...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

This way to your suite doc, mind the cockroach.

It's unusually quiet in the trauma unit tonight. For a Sunday night call, in the middle of the Cape Flats, this is peculiar because Sunday night is a very popular night when it comes to Hospitals. Sunday night visits gaurantee a sick letter for work on Monday. As a result, we have stocked up on those. But tonight is quiet. And I, Dr S, exhausted from three years of government service (slavery) post med school, is always on the look out for sleeping opportunities.

YAY! SLEEP! I allow myself a few secret minutes of elation as I walk to the room the hospital has graciously allowed us Community Service Officers to use. It functions as the Termination of Pregnancy room during the day, and is apparently haunted by the sounds of a screaming fetus. But I am not frightened, a sleeping opportunity trumps even a disturbed fetal ghost, so I carry on walking...terrified only that the sister will run up behind me with the news that I need to return to the unit for a resuscitation attempt.

Phew, I made it to the room unhindered. There is a three thousand year old bed in the corner. I don't think the sheets ever get changed as the funny brown stain on the pillow from last time is still there. Furthemore I know immediately that I will not be sleeping alone as a giant drain-dwelling cockroach scuttles across the floor. I quickly weigh up my options: return to the trauma unit, or take my chances with the stain and the cockroach. I figure that the cockroach probably is less dangerous than some of the gangster patients I've seen, so the decision is made, and I crash.

Two hours later, I wake up with an army of ants merrily marching across my face. ANTS. plural.

I'm too weary to complain. So I just brush them off and go back to the unit. It's beginning to get light outside...a symbol of hope that my call is soon coming to an end...The sister unexpectedly brings me a cup of coffee. In my delirious state I nearly cry about this small act of kindness.

One hour until the next dr arrives to take over. I'm counting the seconds...


Related Posts with Thumbnails