Saturday, February 21, 2009

Goals and dreams

Two events recently passed me by without incident. The first was my twenty-eighth birthday, where curiously enough I was on-call. The second was Valentine's Day.

So why do these two days have any relevance to me? When I was in my teens, I had many goals and aspirations I wanted to achieve. Yet very early on in life I knew I wouldn't accomplish any of these dreams. I didn't take sixteen GCSEs or six A-Levels, although I got pretty close. I didn't get into Cambridge (but I'm in some ways I rather glad I didn't). At this stage I'm pretty sure I won't win the Nobel Prize in Medicine & Physiology or receive an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, even though there is still plenty of time for me to start on that screenplay I always keep in the back of my mind.

There is still one aspect of my life I haven't mentioned. I said to myself I would get married by the time I was twenty eight years old. Even though I technically I have a year left, I don't think I will be achieving this in the next twelve months or any months after that.

I know I whinge and blog about this subject constantly but I have to face the facts. I have a very small social circle, mainly consisting of doctors. I don't really want to marry a doctor, mainly due to the fact that doctors only talk about medicine. I do want a life outside of the medical field and can't face the fact if I go home I could be faced with my medical small talk. Neither do I have much time to date either. I rarely go out to pubs, nightclubs, social occasions or parties, so the opportunity for even a one-night-stand is not remotely even in my hemisphere.

What makes the situation worse is my criteria. I wouldn't say I'm picky or particular. I'm not like most men who want a lady with beautiful looks and a great body (although that would be nice) or is extremely wealthy. Unfortunately the lady I want is not your typical Hong Kong woman. I would like a Western upbringing and the ability to speak English fluently. I want an open mind in all areas. Yet the ability to find a lady like this seems to be difficult if not non-existent.

I really have given up. I have resorted to living the rest of my life as a bachelor.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A week of hell...

I'm glad I'm on leave for this, after the ongoings of the previous seven days. I don't know where I should begin describing a week's worth of bad luck.

One of my medical officers is on leave and added to the fact one of my fellow interns was also on leave, the workload rose like the world's recent hatred for bankers. Having to be on-call three times in six days doesn't help focus your mind either, especially when one of those nights happened to be an awful piece of bad luck. Usually there are only three to four male admissions per day whilst I admitted eight men who clearly were unlucky or not careful enough what they were doing.

On the same night or should I say in the early hours of the next morning there were two emergency operations which needed to be performed. The first operation, a closed reduction of an elbow fracture, was simple enough. The other operation was much more complicated - an above knee amputation for a demented elderly man who has severe leg contractures at his hips and knees. It required me pulling the patient's legs apart so the main surgeon could get access to his whole leg for nearly an hour before disaster struck. Whilst trying to put his scalpel back into the kidney dish, the surgeon accidently cut my finger.

Simply cutting your finger in normal life is not really much of a fuss but don't forget I work for a government organization. That means one thing - paperwork. I had to report the incident as an injury on duty and get myself seen to by a doctor even though I could have cleaned and dressed the wound myself. I had to get my blood taken and get it taken again in a few months time, just in case I get infected with a blood borne infection such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV. Even though it is unlikely, since the patient has no history of these infection, it still has to be done. Working in a bureaucracy means everything has to be noted, reported and catalogued. People working in hospitals don't dread the complications of surgery, they just dread the administration afterwards such as the extra forms which have to be filled in or having to report the findings in the next meeting.

I'm just glad I'm on leave this week. I hope my fellow interns are coping without me. I tried to help by typing up progress notes for a majority of patients on my last day before I left for my break but I happened to be on-call on that day as well and could only do some of the male patients as well as all the female patients. Hopefully for their sake nobody has to be discharged so when I get back I get to do it.

Nowadays I'm just relaxing at home whilst sorting out my own life's administration - filling out my intern logbook, sorting out photos I have taken, filling out my residency post application and so forth. It's a bit pathetic when you are so busy you have to perform these tasks whilst you are on leave. Yet when I'm working I'm just too tired to sort out these details.

Right now I'm just enjoying myself at home, playing Lexulous online and trying out new recipes...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Stuck in the middle of you

One of the most amusing things has passed me by this week. One of our medical officers is admitted to our ward as a patient for an injury. I cannot say anymore due to confidentiality issues and my fear of being beaten up by the aforementioned doctor but at least he's getting the best attention.


There is a lot of tasks during internship which I don't mind performing. The clerical work is fine, such as typing up discharge summaries and writing prescription orders. I even like blood taking & intravenous catheterization, probably due to some sadomachoistic tendencies I have.

Yet there are some tasks we interns do not like. Performing ECGs are the prime example. ECGs take a considerable amount of time to perform, entailing numerous leads which seem to tie themselves into knots and requires the patient to lie completely still for one single ECG reading. That is difficult if the patient is a child or mentally unsound. I had this problem with a granny who came in with a fracture of the hip. Unfortunately she also had dementia and every time I put the chest leads on the patient, she kept pulling them off. It is the same with kids when I was in my last rotation - the buggers could stop squirming and crying.

Another task I hate performing is liaising with other doctors. This happens when I have to book any urgent investigations or consult other departments for their expert opinion. Unfortunately the house officers are the middlemen in the situation, having to convey what his/her medical officer wants from the other doctor. Sometime this entails a good amount of guess work since the medical officer doesn't write/state why he/she orders the investigation/consultation or the house officer doesn't think the investigation/consultation is necessary.

Then when the investigation/consultation is conveyed to the other side, the house officers get chastized for ordering a ridiculous investigation or consulting the doctor for such a minor problem, even though it was not their decision to make.

Please don't shoot the messenger for bring the message. Shoot the person who wrote the message.