Sunday, August 23, 2009

Horror at the Hospital!

My application form to University read as follows:

Application to read for the degree of:
1st Choice: MBChB (Academia. Medicine. Doctors. Patients. Studious. Saving lives)
2nd Choice: BA Film and Media.(Actress. Glamour. Oscars. Broadway. High heels. Fabulous)

No jokes.
Those were my two career choices.
Of course, I was more than fully qualified for both, being both studious and superglamorous.

However to my drama teacher's dismay, and to my hard-working parent's delight, I swapped Broadway for a different kind of theatre, the operating theatre.

And where my actress colleagues were cabaret-ing down the path to stardom, I was dragging my weary feet up and down hospital corridors for hours on end.

"Don't worry darling," my mother cooed, "You can always sing and dance for your patients! After all, they're the ones who need the entertainment the most."

*Which I've tried to do! For more info see my post entitled TLC*

A truism indeed,dear Mum, but not one which will bring me closer to my dream of making out with some hot Hollywood male lead!

Sometimes, when I get particularly nostalgic about being on stage, I go on a little journey into my mind to that happy place where I was adored by applause at the end of each show.

And sometimes, when I'm alone in the eerily quiet front room, it truly does seem that I'm involved in some kind of hospital horror flick...

*Insert MGM theme tune here*

Based on a true story...
The shocking blood-curdling tale of...


Three am.
Graveyard shift.
Dr MB and Dr K are snoring in the tea room.
Things are unusually quiet.
Most of the patients are sleeping and the psychs are still heavily sedated.

A lonely little doctor keeps watch.
She sits forlornly at the large desk situated in the middle of the unit.
The temperature is bordering on freezing, so she has wrapped one of the blankets normally reserved for patients around her shoulders.

She can forget about closing the windows.
With the scourge of Tuberculosis ravaging the community she serves, it is better to risk hypothermia than catch TB by closing the windows and concentrating the dreaded germ in one space.

From her position she can spy on all parts of the front room, except for the small, dark chamber at the back of the unit where the psychiatric patients are kept.

Bad things have happened in there. Very bad things. Things the hospital has forgotten about yet which are still talked about in hushed tones, behind locked doors.

Suddenly she spies movement at the entrance to the psych patient chamber and an involuntary reflex forces her pretty head to look in that direction.

What she witnessed will forever be burned onto her retina.

A dark, vile creature had emerged from it's slumber and was crouched on the ground staring menacingly in her direction. Saliva dribbled incessantly from it's fangs and bubbled with each threatening growl.

It stood up, and stretched out it's arms. Gnarly filthy talons pointed in the small doctor's direction.

It spoke.

"Woman!" It hissed through its rotten mouth. "Woooman! Wooman!"

The beast took one giant step forward in her direction and began thrusting its festering groin in what could only be interpreted as a beastial mating movement.

"I want woman!" it screamed as it lunged in mad lust for the helpless beautiful health worker!

But luckily she was possessed of some mad ninja-type skills which greatly assisted in her evading rape by a psychiatric patient.

She managed to awaken her sleeping colleagues who took great delight in tackling, and maybe unintentionally eye-gouging, the beast to the ground, whereafter she got her own revenge by sedating it with 30 mg of Valium and 10mg of Haloperdol intravenously.

Suck on that, you psych beast bastard!!

Nobody get's near my goodies without my permission!

That was a true story, and not the only one involving narrow escape from physical bodily harm by psych patients.

The "beast" was a bona fide, hypersalivating, utterly psychotic psychiatric patient,namely Mr MX

The "two sleeping colleagues" were played by Dr MB and Dr K, who enjoy nothing more than a bit of psychiatric tackling sports.

And of course, the protagonist, the "stunning lonely doctor" played be me,Dr S.

*And...bow. Smile. And...bow again.*

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.

(W.Shakespeare, As you Like it)

Screw being an actress!
My reality is way more entertaining right now.
Who needs the flashing paparazzi lights when you've got the flashing ambulance siren signalling an incoming life-threatening emergency?

Theatrical emotionally draining diva's? I've got soul-sucking whiny still-smoking-asthmatics to deal with.

Drama, Comedy, Horror, Romance? Why, I can get all of that and then some in one patient alone.

Perfect Hollywood endings? Well, we don't always get those. Most of the time our endings are tear-jerkers.

But sometimes, we watch patients who were rushed in on stretchers on the brink of death, walk out of the hospital smiling.

And that's all the applause I need to ensure that I keep coming back to work, shift after shift, after show, after show...


Geraldine said...

It was a tough choice for you, but I forsee a Grey's natomy spin off in your future one day...

Julia said...


Dr S said...

Geri: I am Addison Montgomery - I hate all the other characters in Grey's, she's the only cool one.

Oh, and McSteamy of course...

Julie-babes: It's actually "wooooman" like I typed it. I typed it like he said it. Scary-like.

Stupidosaur said...

We believed his comment of yours was false:
//My best bits are those from the tip of my nose down to my shoulders,the rest is utterly HIDEOUS! Horrific. Ugly. Mortifying. Repugnant.

Its clear now that its true. Not that comment, but our belief ;)

"....closer to my dream of making out with some hot Hollywood male lead!"

There's still hope. Even if you don't go back to the other dream profession of yours. Ask your husband to become some hot Hollywood male lead.

"...shift after shift..."
for a moment there I missed the 'f's. Sorry.
The Godfather doc is cool
You chose a noble profession.
I didn't. I knew I didn't want to. Not that I loooove the current one.

deluded said...


he wasnt a student?


just wondering.........

some of us here are........

Boefie Bronkhorst said...

There's no business like show business...

Ketan said...

No wonder, I suffer from an insurmountable stage fright--both theatrical and worldly.

Why don't you employ an equally psyched vooooman as a decoy to protect yourself from those vile vermins?

If you don't starve yourself and suffer from protein deficiency in the process, I don't think TB bacillus should actually be able to infect you. Also, most of the pathogens entering through the respiratory tract have a predilection for cooler nares. Shivering could cause you to lose glucose faster (subsequent protein breakdown) and also increase your blood costisol (further suppressing of cell-mediated immunity). So, not sure if keeping that window open was such a good idea, afterall! ;) I'd love to know what you think on this. You don't keep the psyched patients restrained? Is it illegal to restrain them? Why're their so many psychosis patients around in your hospital, seriously curious?

Interesting post, again!

And that pic was scary!

Dr S. said...

Ketan: We have the highest rate of Tuberculosis in THE WORLD.

Despite having good nutrition, wearing masks and taking all the possible protection we can muster, it is impossible for us to escape the TB bacillus. I'd say out of all the patients I've seen in the last two months, 80 percent of them have had TB, have TB currently and have concommitant HIV.

We are exposed to it in an excessive way. And our hospitals do not have the facilities to isolate patients suspected of having TB, or even those who are diagnosed with it.

Three of my close medical friends have developed pulmonary TB. They were all healthy individuals

My colleague working at another hospital contracted Multiple Drug Resistant TB and ended up having to have a lobectomy.

My medical school colleague developed TB meningitis, and died in her final year of medschool!

They say that everyone living in the western cape has been exposed to TB, which is why we never do mantoux's on anyone over ten, as it is then a pointless test.

Whenever I start showing symptoms of some LRTI I immediately go and have a chest x-ray done.

I'm totally paranoid about it!

Boefie: "there's no business like show business" - true, especially when you do it babe!

Stupidosaur: Ha ha haaaaaaaaaa! Shit after shit! Love it.
I'm working on getting my husband to star in some hollywood blockbuster, except that - if he then becomes famous all sorts of little actresses will then want to get their paws on him and then I'll have to kill them.

Deluded: he was not a student. He did say that he was a Professor of Music at the University of Cape Town. But somehow, I didn't believe him.

Pranav Kumar V said...

hmmm... Dr.S... why not?? I thought on Deluded's blog, so dropped by... Gooood I did!! Seriously??!! Are all Docs like this?? Or at least all the one's I know ARE!! Do you guys manage to get a terminal cancer patient (metaphorically) walking out of your clinics like a 6-year old kid?? I'd love to see such a thing!! ;)

And I totally agree Docs can have a larger than Holly experience!! I mean all you need to be is a little ignorant and then have a blast doing your job!! I'll keep dropping by... Wonder what it is that Docs go through to be the way they are, but its fun to hear their verdict on any damn thing on this planet!! :D

Later gater, see you when I see you... :D

femail doc said...

Good lord woman, was that in your contract? Psychos AND TB bacillus, horror indeed.

Dr S. said...

Welcome to Mad Medicine Pranav. From now on I shall call you PKV.

Glad you enjoyed the stories.
They are all one hundred percent true.

When you say "are all docs like this" what exactly do you mean?!!!

Very interested to hear your interpretations!

And yes. Sometimes we do send terminal cancer cases home...but then it's on mist morphine so that they can die peacefully at home, surrounded by their loved ones instead of in the awful hospital!

I work in the front room (casualty and trauma) departments so once I've made a diagnosis and stabilised the patients I send them on to the other doctors at the back of the hospital in the wards ( either the surgeons, medics etc...)

Hope to catch you back here!

Femail doc: It most definitely was not in my contract. If it was, perhaps I would have reconsidered! Nobody prepares you for life in the state sector. As a student you kind of have an inclination but the full force of the horror only hits you when you start working!

Take care!


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