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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Why me?!

3 patients come in - one elderly lady with a broken hip, one young child with appendicitis, and one young man who has cut himself 20 times with a broken piece of glass 'for fun'.

I get to see the young man. He glares at me as I clean and suture his cuts. I want to refer him to the psychiatry team for assessment but he runs out of the department after I close his last cut. I have to call the police to ask them to find him.

3 more patients come in - a middle aged gentleman with chest pain, an old man with urinary retention and an elderly lady dragged in by the policemen who was drunk in the park.

I get to see the elderly lady. She is offended by the policemen's presence and as I turn around to check the readings of her ECG (heart tracing) on the monitors, she leaps to the floor and proceeds to bang her head repeatedly on the floor, knocking herself unconscious.

2 more patients come in. Teenage boy with a collapsed lung and middle aged man with severe abdominal pain.

I get to see the middle aged man. He is rigid and pale and terribly sick with his abdominal pain. I put an intravenous cannula into him and take some bloods off, prescribe him some morphine for his pain. I go off to get hold of the surgical team. When I return, my patient has disappeared. He gets brought back in 6 hours later. He used the IV access that I put into his arm as a line through which he gave himself an overdose of heroin.

As the last few patients trickle in, (and I finished dealing with Mr 'I have Pain All Over', Miss 'I fell over 5 years ago and now I have a pain in my foot' and Mrs 'I have had diarrhoea for 50 years') I go to the chief nurse who has been divvying out the patients to the doctors.

'Why are you giving me all the toughies?', I demand, 'It's driving me crazy!'

'Because I saw the way you dealt with the young lad with the cuts and thought you were really patient,' she says, smiling sweetly at me.

Ooh, I was this close to wringing her neck.


Blogger wahj said...

Looking at the list of "either/or"s you had, I would've thought any of them would've been "toughies" to deal with!

Reminds me of what my colleague is fond of saying - "the reward for good work ..." (and he likes to pause for effect here) "... is more work"

But seriously, moving away from pessimism here, you are doing good work. That's what doctors do. It can shitty at times, but it is Good that you're doing.

(At the risk of sounding presumptuous, it's the same for teachers. Our students may be ungrateful and unco-operative, but it is Good work that we do ... it's just sometimes you wonder why it has to be so hard, and so unappreciated. Having spent 3 years on an administrative posting though, I can safely say that on the whole, being in the classroom is still better than being an adminstrator. Which is why I'm returning to the classroom next year, back to teaching)

10:21 pm  
Blogger tscd said...

wahj: The other patients were straightforward cases on very lovely people who actually bought chocolates for the nurses afterwards. *jealous* I'm glad you are quitting the paper shuffling and going back to teaching. All the good teachers always get promoted to admin eventually and it is a crying shame.

10:34 pm  

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