Friday, February 22, 2008

Day One in a Traumatologist's Life

i guess i enjoyed myself in A+E yesterday, working the 3pm-10pm shift. i woke late, read newspapers, chatted with grandma, wrote and read a bit, and all this before lunch!

it was fast-paced and you did see a huge variety of cases, from conjunctivitis (they should NEVER clog up a busy ER) to heart failures. not a whole lot of dirty trauma from accidents and stuff, but they'll come to me soon enough. some prisoners come, a lot of kids, some weird conditions that i don't even know how to diagnose.

the most interesting case yesterday was an obese 12 year old primary school kid who was stereotyped into playing shot putt. you know how it goes all over the world - tall kids play basketball, skinny kids run, fat kids play shot putt. but this kid was picking up shot putts, when he was hit by a flying shot putt, smack at the back of his neck!! nothing was broken thankfully, just some pain. maybe i was a bit cruel, but it was quite funny, and was a welcome relief from the fast pace!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

yet more changes

it's a long time between posts these days - when i come home i'm very happy doing other things, and not sit at the computer and write. maybe i should have some discipline and a routine, but i think i deserve a lawless period for a month or so before i become disciplined and a bore again.

quick responses:
1. palmdoc, please feel free to take the MoH picture and poke fun at it! :-)
2. guy-with-the-same-birthday, i think it's really cool that we met, and how we share that day and all! what's your blog address?
3. girlfriend of guy-with-the-same-birthday, they weren't kidding when they said guys loved toilet humour, huh? :-)

and my rapid-fire observations again:
1. CNY came and went, but this year i felt more like an adult than a kid. no interest in angpows, and it was a net loss for me this year - i gave angpows to my mother and grandmothers and pay for various household items, and totally wiped out my own stash, plus had to dig into my bank account. the worst part is, i'm not even married yet! it's a no-win, and i never want to grow up.

2. i had a lot of friends over for CNY, which is good, because last year there wasn't anything going on on account of me working throughout CNY. some came for lunch, some came for dinner, some we went out for drinks, some i met in ipoh - everyone seems to be in good health and enjoying success in their lives. i'm contented.

3. birthday came and went, slept in late, watched two movies on telly, had some texts and calls and one present. i'm happy i don't have to sing a birthday song and blow out candles. :-)

4. so i continued working in OPD taiping in a brand new Arctic-cold building. settled into a routine of having the weekend off, and working office hours, though the variety of patients i saw was remarkably thin. until a certain extent, there wasn't much else learning to be had. but i had to stay there for 1-3 months before my transfer to Internal Medicine was approved.

5. which is why it was a huge surprise when suddenly mum texted on the morning of Feb19 and said that i was pulled back to the hospital! so i'm spending tuesday in the clinic, and wednesday in the hospital! i tried to ask for Internal Medicine, but there were full up, so i'm in the Accidents and Emergencies Dept now.

6. before i left the clinic, i managed to do two very interesting things though - i was in a HIV/AIDS clinic run by a Family Physician, and later that morning went into the Taiping Prison to witness a flogging. an eye-opener, both, and worthy of a lengthy post by themselves. later. maybe. i guess. hopefully.

7. so i'm in Traumatology now (i think it sounds way cooler than A+E or Casualty or ER). cool as it may sound, unfortunately i'm the first-line doctor that you'll be seeing if you're in an accident, or had an asthmatic attack, or requires surgery or some sort. i have to know things i didn't know before, and decisions have to be both correct and fast. i'm working shifts now (kinda like pekerja kilang), 8am-3pm-10pm-8am, and we take turns being on shifts. spend 3 nights and you get 3 nights off - sweet! but it's kinda stressful, so i'm back to studying again, this time for Traumatology. i hope no one has to die in my hands.

8. it's been a fantastic Year of the Rat for me. on feb15, a few days earlier than i had expected (and psychologically prepared for), the results of an exam i've been studying for for a long time, was released. it was Part 1 of the Membership of the Royal College of Physicians, an exit qualification to specialise in Internal Medicine and become a physician. it's the first of 3 parts, each one successively harder. i passed the first part! :-) God's grace, dad's grace, a lot of work.

more observations in a week!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

i'm unburdening!

i haven't written anything here for nearly a month. i've been busy with a number of things since Jan16:

1. an examination which was much much tougher than i had anticipated.
2. my last two houseman calls ever. i'll never have to do a houseman call again!
3. a gorgeous weekend in Langkawi - a bit of swimming and a lot of thinking-about-nothing.
4. finishing 18months of housemanship and moving from a hospital environment to a clinic environment. i'm now posted to OPD Taiping, and we have a spanking new building (with ambient temperatures at a freezing 15 Celcius) just opened on Feb4. i'm seeing a wide variety of patients - coughs and colds, MC hunters, warfarin and Parkinson's, diabetes, hypertension, kids who cry (sigh...).
5. spring-cleaning for CNY, and learning how to have a normal conversation with people again (i've been a little anti-social while preparing for the exam)

throughout the last 3 weeks or so, and especially in the last two, i've had a lot blog-worthy things happen to me. i've not had the opportunity to write my thoughts down, but here are bite-sized nuggets of stories, which range from:

i met this prisoner who came to the clinic. as a ritual, i ask them how long they've been there, when they're due for release, and why they're in there. this guy, due for release in May08, he's in there for CBT of uh, $56m. and there i was trying to give him my phone number right in front of three armed guards with stern smiles.

this old uncle stays with his nephews, after being effectively abandoned by his children. comes in almost faking a headache, asking to be admitted, because CNY is coming, and he doesn't want to spoil anyone's happiness by being there, a blip in the midst of new clothes and yeesang.

another old uncle stays alone, also effectively abandoned by his children, refuses a small angpow from yours truly - "i will not accept money from anyone, even if i starve to death" - then almost has tears in his eyes.

when someone from HINDRAF who was imprisoned under ISA in Kamunting decided on a hunger strike, he only lasted 3 days before he became so weak he had to be admitted. the treatment details are sketchy, but i'm sure he was on 5 different IV drips. if he passed, the fallout would have been enormous! luckily, he pulled through, in large part due to these guys, i'm sure (i still think they should've gone on a hunger strike instead of a vigil):

the day after the Chua Soi Lek's resignation, this happened: