We arrived on shift at 4pm last night with twenty patients already waiting to be seen, and a constant stream of ambulances pulling up outside the trauma unit.
Dr MB and I had still not recovered from this recent weekend of nights:
Friday, Saturday, and, Oh-my-God-shoot-me-in-the-head Sunday.
The reason Sunday night deserves adjectives is because our new Registrar, Dr KL, ALSO had a needlestick injury and unlike me was developing nasty side-effects to the ARV's. Knowing what it's like to be sick and at work, we sent the poor man home for some TLC from his wife.
HOwever, this meant that just MB and I were left to man the unit on a Sunday night, on Halloween weekend, on the end-of-the-month-I've-just-got-paid-and-will-thus-get-smashed-and-stab/shoot/beat-someone-close-to-me weekend.
40 severely injured patients later,and by the time the Monday morning ward round rolled around, we had both, understandibly lost our minds.
MB attempted to stay awake during the round by performing strange, sporadic,forward leg lunges .(Don't ask). I was so tired I did not know whether to cry or vomit, and so to prevent both, I focused on ridiculing MB enough to spur him into some sort of retaliation. This usually involves hair tugging, pinching or "reminders" about his superiority and general world dominance. Sometimes I respond with a witty comment. Sometimes my response is to stab his testicle with my pen. This is how we help each other stay awake. We literally fight to survive the long shifts.
Anyhow. That recent weekend of horror was the reason we were still exhausted when we returned to work for the Tuesday 4-midnight shift. As expected, it was insanely busy. Why wouldn't it be? And in the middle of the shift three policeman walked into the unit and informed me that they had brought a very violent and aggressive psych patient for admission. When I asked them where he was they said that they had left him in the van outside and that I should see him in the back of the van.
This already pissed me off. I weigh 52kg. I am not particularly strong or tall. These three policemen had biceps bigger than my waist. What in God's name did they expect ME to do with a very violent psych patient in the back of a police van? I demanded that they bring the patient into the unit where we could, with their help, immobilise him on a bed and thus facilitate proper sedation. They strode off sulkily, obviously not happy with being told what to do by a little lady doctor.
They returned with the violent young man in handcuffs who was complaining bitterly about being manhandled by the police, and shouting obscenities at everyone.
I took a deep breath and approached the patient. I noticed that he was bleeding from his leg.
"Oh you poor man!" I began in my sweet, soothing, comforting voice,while stroking his hand," You have been so badly hurt, how terrible. I'm sure you must be in a lot of pain, will you let me take a look at that and give you a nice injection to make it better?".
This is my sneak attack tactic when it comes to psych patients. They do not expect someone to be nice to them and are then usually caught completely off guard, and thus more amenable to cooperation. Destroy them with kindness. Being severely lacking in the brawn department, the only weapons I have at my disposal are my smooth tongue and powers of persuasion.
"Let's ask these nice policeman to uncuff you so you can lie on the stretcher comfortably, hey? What do you say?" He nodded his head obediantly. But the policeman refused.IDIOTS!!! Could they not see that I was busy working my magic here? Play the game with me you brain donors! I eventually managed to communicate non-verbally to the policemen that the cuffs need to come off so I could sedate him. Which I eventually did, with 20mg Valium and 10mg Haloperidol. The poor patient started swaying after 30 seconds at which time I informed the policemen that they needed to help me get him onto the bed properly in the next minute before he collapsed on the floor.
They jumped into action immediately by... staring at me with blank expressions. I caught the damn patient myself when he fell, and was assisted by the elderly aunty of a radiographer who happened to be walking by at that moment. The two of us struggled to pick the patient up off the floor and put him on the bed while the policemen played with each other's assholes.
Yes, I'm all for the empowerement of women, but why should that empowerment and chivalry be in competition?
Sometimes a girl just needs men to act like men.
Then again,how silly am I expecting those pigs to behave like men?
Like Bonnie Tyler said, in one of my favourite epic 80's rock songs:
"Where have all the good men gone
And where are all the gods?
Where’s the street-wise Hercules
To fight the rising odds?
Isn’t there a white knight upon a fiery steed?
Late at night I toss and I turn and I dream of what I need
I need a hero
I'm holding out for a hero 'till the end of the night
He's gotta be strong
And he's gotta be fast
And he's gotta be fresh from the fight
I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero 'till the morning light
He’s gotta be sure
And it’s gotta be soon
And he’s gotta be larger than life
Larger than life!