Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A doctor's firsts

Since i started my professional journey more than a year and half ago, I have never actually written a post about what it's like being a doctor. Of course, since i started working, this blog has seen a drastic decline in activity which partly explains the lack therein of any meaningful updates.

So today, I think i'll amuse you with my set of firsts.

(1) My first cardiac arrest. 
You know this one. I wrote a lengthy post about it.

(2) My first big blunder
Inserting a female urinary catheter into a man, with, as u might imagine, dire consequences. Ahh, but you'd be glad to know that the man survived.. with his genitals (but probably not so much his dignity) intact. =)

(3) My first tears at work (and hopefully my last)
I used to think i'm a strong person. Normally i handle stress quite okay but for some reason that fateful day oncall, i was pushed to breaking point by an unbelievably rude patient. Afterwards, I sat in the privacy of the staff toilet bawling my eyes out for good 15 minutes, questioning the universe why i ever decided to become a doctor. Haha. Quite the drama queen. The only good thing about the whole incident was that (without meaning to) i had sobbed loud enough for the nurses to hear, and for the rest of the day i mercifully received no bleeps from them at all! What a great way to get nurses off your back huh?!

(4) My first death
I suppose every doctor has to go through this. My first call to pronounce a patient's death happened at 3 am on a cold, chilly winter morning. I was working in this old hospital across town. It used to be a TB center in the olden days and so the hospital units where built sparsely around a huge compound. The fact that i didn't have a car and had to walk the distance of a football field across eerily empty buildings made for quite the setting for a horror movie. And then of course having to actually go into the dead man's room (alone) and poke and prod him to make sure he was really dead was a whole scary experience in itself (because nothing could be more scary than pronouncing someone dead only to have them wake up in the morgue right?). Suffice to say, it was one creepy experience.

(5) My first 24+ hour call.
My first 24 hour call unfortunately was a big disaster. I had only started working in this new hospital in the northwest for a week and was quite unfamiliar with everyone and everything, so naturally i was a bit slow finding my way. Unfortunately for me, the reg i was oncall with was (who would have guessed?) a Malay dude. And him being very typically Malay obviously was far too blunt and far too arrogant for his own good. So the story goes that i had to review a patient who complained of a pain in her leg. I promptly made a diagnosis of acute limb ischaemia, which was an emergency and called the surgical reg for a review. The surgical reg, being the typical surgical reg told me that the high and mighty man that he is does not accept any consults from a mere clueless SHO (in not so many words, of course), and demanded i get the medical reg to review my patient first, and then and only then call him. My malay dude medical reg was kind enough to come up and review her but made no qualms about laughing in my face and saying my diagnosis was totally wrong and stupid and that i shouldn't be calling anything as simple as a painful, numb, cold, pulseless blue toed foot (which if u read in the textbook is the classical presentation for acute limb ischaemia) an acute limb ischaemia. But i took it like a (wo)man and admitted defeat. And that was that.

NOT! The patient actually did have acute limb ischaemia and because it was so late before the diagnosis was made, she actually lost her leg. Go figure.

Okay, i've actually run of ideas now. I'll add more to this list in the future.