and when she speaks
Friday, August 07, 2009
I went into one of the longest standing patients' room on my team the other morning; to check on him-
He's been in there for weeks on end. And things haven't really taken a positive solid direction into heading out of the hospital it seems... discussions have been running back and forth.
The medical student who was taking care of him was so passionate in trying to get him out before his 80th birthday at least; but that was a week ago. In retrospect I saw myself in him just like when I was a medical student. All hopeful and optimistic. That medical student brought in a balloon for him and a birthday card, and the team almost sang him a birthday song. That was a happy day, which definitely brought him a couple of smiles. That day, his room was filled with balloons and birthday cards.
But this morning; the atmosphere didn't seem so bright and cheerful.
I looked at him; as usual he'd have the baseball channel on; and his eyes were looking out into the window or at the TV.
According to notes, he has never once looked at the colostomy he has on the right side of his belly; spewing out feculent specks of poop; or more stool and gas into the bag. I guess he has chosen to ignore or deny the existence of the stoma by not accepting it...
He has recurrent colorectal cancer; and he is basically in palliative care.
I asked him how his day was; and he didn't answer.
You can see the general progression of his spirits -which have dampened markedly over the past few weeks since I've started- and I haven't been on this team for that long yet...
He used to be all sarcastic, witty with his dry humor every morning; making some of us laugh; making some others peeved for those who never got his humor.
Now he barely answers when we come in and ask how he is.
And that morning I went to see him; I looked him in the eye; and saw one tear drip down his left eye. He has a tracheostomy as well; so it's a little hard hearing him speak sometimes. But he didn't utter a single word.
I saw the tear; and my heart went out to him. I knew he had been thinking about his situation before we entered the room.
I knew he was feeling hopeless and depressed.
How can you not be when you've been lying in a hospital bed immobilised for weeks and your family is unable to provide the care that you need at home?
Thursday, August 06, 2009
This was the day before I left home for chicago where work as a doctor beckons :)
This is why I love my entire family so much-for all their support, love and encouragement :)
My best friend wrote me such a heart-warming sms to me which greeted me in the early morning hours when I stepped foot into the train around 6am for work:-When you are happy, there are 4 foot prints on the beach.When you are sad, there's only 2 foot prints on the beach.Thats because,When you are happy, I will walk with you.When you are sad, I will carry you on my back.She added this on her own mischief :P"So try to always be happy k cos' I don't have much energy to carry you on my back :P"Thank U :) you lit up my day :)And mummy, thanks for always reminding me to eat.and sleep.and not work too hard.*laughs*I had a great call night last night; with good companionship.My senior Ami is lovely. And I had a great co-intern Kurt randomly bursting into a song at night; serenading me. And my intern partner bought cookies :) And Jyoti kept on getting distracted coming by to say HI; also failing to resist the lure of the ABP pastries ;p My staff doctor is pretty cool too *laughs* ( how can he not be I guess; it's a definite yes when you get patients' daughter adding you ON FACEBOOK within a few minutes of meeting U *laughs* )I went through old photo albums, being post-call.I still haven't gotten my SSN yet- meaning still no pay cheque; and no proper phone line :( I miss travelling. Miss meeting up with friends for good food, conversation, laughter, music and movies, birthday parties. Not that I'm in 24/7. It's just reduced to a good outing once a weekend? *laughs pathetically* I miss taking pictures. I miss having the free time to TRY & cook/bake *hehe*Yes- I have been forewarned, starting working life is exactly like that. ONLY you need to put in more effort into going out and having a life outside of work :)I know I can do all that *hehe* I'm just making up excuses. And I don't want to miss out on too much sleep either :PI looked back at BALI photos with family before I came to Chicago- and I want to get pampered in a spa for a nice back rub and body massage. I want to take photos of scenic CHicago. I want to hang out with my friends-both med and non-med. I want to get to know those that I just met better. I want to lie under the sun on the green grass in Millenium Park like I did during my gyn clinic rotation :P just enjoying the beautiful atmosphere. I haven't really spoken to my friends ( or FAMILY!) on skype; and updated them.AND SO- I am going to:I am going to arrange for a dinner with friends- since I get a day off on Friday before my next call on Sat. Vietnamese noodles? Indian dhal and roti and tandoori? Mediterranean shawarma and hummus? Chinese authentic dinner? =) I'm going to book my flight for a weekend in NYC - I promised them. I need to get that down pat :)I'm going to call up my other colleagues whom I haven't spoken to for awhile now. Apart from the 20 seconds conversation exchange in noon conference before you run off after getting paged :P I'm thinking of starting that salsa/Latin dance class - I had that conversation with Rachana- and I'm super keen.Man. AND I need to do laundry. And grocery. Presto. -.-' Back to sleep amigos :)- I asked Ami the other day; " Am I a workaholic for going home and checking up on Epic on all my patients & double-checking on whether their labs are being drawn or not?"She laughed. And she replied "I know. I was on Epic last night and I saw your notes being addended in the evening! I was like 'what is my intern doing on epic at home?'" *laughs*Then she exclaimed 'Then, my housmate told me - you're doing the exact same thing too"*laughs* So it is confirmed. I am not a workaholic. I'm normal :) This is an indication of a good doctor, just being responsible ;) Apparently, Kurt does it too. So we knuckle-high fived each other - on his little ganglion cyst :)
Monday, August 03, 2009
Christine looked at me with bloodshot eyes this morning - she was up all night being on-call; and passed on the update on overnight events on all my patients *laughs*and I was shocked she still had the energy and humor to mock me.She looked at me *evilly* and said 'Here, your patients Sue.... *and shakes her head in disbelief* I exclaimed *sorry* guiltily; thinking she must have been paged like crazy on my patients overnight *laughs*Turns out there was this big baby drama queen of a big young guy-tattooed all over; who tore into this exaggerated drama on how his girlfriend of 9 years broke up with him through his secretary; and then, he complained of chest pain; and you can only imagine how this went on...finally; he asked for a sleeping pill :) *big sweat of relief for my dear colleague* The bigger problem- *Christine had warned me about this; to discharge him as quickly as possible -since he was already medically cleared- she thinks he's got like some psychosomatic issues deep underneath; which we sure don't need to deal with*SO---TODAY- so he's already been given the all-clear by the consulted service team; and that he can go home. But NO! He protested; whined; showed me teary eyes. THIS BIG MACHO-TATTOED YOUNG MAN; wanted to stay in the hospital ; and wouldn't leave. For no reason at all comprehensible. No medical reason at least anyway. My boss went to see him three times; to no avail. So that means; I'll still face 'high maintenance' boy tomorrow- that's what my other boss calls him. *laughs*A co-intern and I made a date for ice-cream this Friday; to reward ourselves for our hard work. *mmm* I love ice-cream; and am all psyched up for that :) This morning (Sunday am) I woke up as per normal at 5.30am for work. *and* I forgot totally about train line not running from my area @ Wicker park to the hospital - so in the end, after taking a bus for 20 minutes; I cabbed it to work. Costs money to cab. If I have to do this every weekend, I might consider getting a car! -.-' Had dinner at night at a Thai restaurant downtown. Had red curry chicken (which barely spiced up my taste buds) despite the waiter overhearing me saying I wanted extra spicy and giving me chopped chillies *laughs* A well-brought up Malaysian I'd have to say; well trained to take the spiciest and hottest :) Had creme brulee after that in three flavors: caramel; tamarind and ginger.To be quite honest; I'd fancy a chocolate brownie any time or ice-cream ;) *hehee*Came home; and konked til this morning :)I really like my team and my senior. She's wonderful :) And all the other co-interns on the floor. Kurt, Andrew, Roselyn, Nisha, Jyoti, Praz... it's a fun group :) I'm on call tomorrow. For some reason; being post-call the other day I still couldn't sleep despite working for 30 hours straight. I need to start getting used to sleeping in the day time.I think I'm calling it a day. Bed beckons at 5pm today :)And by the way... I'm craving for Mediterranean food for some reason: my appetite wasn't whet when I was late for noon conference; and I missed out on PITA with hummus :(I feel like sinking my teeth into warm soft pita bread with hummus; some chicken shawarma; tabouli .................................... P.S. the other day; after I came home from Sunday's stint at work; I was greeted warmly by 3 char siew baos nicely packed in a take-away paper bag; thanks to my housemates :) :)They ta-paued for me from their dim sum brunch - so sweet right? :)I heart them. and my char siew baos :)
Sunday, August 02, 2009
Dinner from Bon-Bon the other night. Brian came back stressed from work; what better way to de-stress if not by finding & enjoying good food :) I love their Vietnamese sandwiches with that extra hot spicy chilli sauce :) *mmm* :)
Movie with Christine, Ayesha and Amy- we caught 'The Ugly Truth'
I now realise I cannot do late nights (late has taken on a whole new meaning : bedtime past 11pm - means = insufficient sleep to prepare for the next day at work; having to get up at 5.30am for the commute!)A fellow colleague of mine; a bright, pretty hilarious guy- was down a few days ago; from work and from a shelling from a 'boss' as I'd like to call it; as much as I wanted to sit and listen and comfort; I had 2 family meetings to run to and 1 breaking bad news to do with a senior; but thankfully; whilst we were walking; he had shared what had happened- I felt so bad when I had to leave when he asked me so gently "Sueyi, do you have a few minutes?" whilst I was running around doing my work... So, later at night; I wrote this to him through facebook whilst he was on call:Hold your chin up and your head high;
Don't let them get to you personally
We all have those days.
We're all in the same boat. And everyone of us will get a shelling and a bad day or two.
But hey, that's what co-interns do for each other; we ride the boat together and stay afloat.
I've had my share too ... so I know what it feels like.
I just swallowed it and continued doing my job well.
So don't let anybody affect your flaming fire :)Mum was a great source of support to me when I felt the way he did; and she said this to me just a few days back-these lessons that I'm learning are great for me- because this is exactly what the real world is like. So be strong; stand up for yourself- and slather on a thick skin. You can only grow stronger with these experiences and become smarter too ;)He wrote me back yesterday; and he said there was lots of love coming from all the other interns *hehe* It's so nice to know the support system is so strong within the people working on the same floor. The support itself; knowing you've got nice backup and people who go through the same things as you- is comforting; to say in the least :) It's medicine for the soul, truly.My senior Ami and co-intern Safdar; bought me a big brownie last night from ABP- laden with scrumptious feasty nuts and big big choc chips :) *hehe* DAMN BAD LAH! but I love it anyway :) I bumped into rachana (my old senior) at dinner time; and I asked her about having enough time during intern year to go for dance classes- I WANT TO SALSA or LATIN DANCE :) Im not going to make an excuse of lack of time; because there'll always be excuses... She said she did it; in intern year- she took up breakdancing for a month AND on top of that; during general medicine floors! :) Im so DOING it.Now, onto finding a dance partner with great arms; strength and - I wouldnt mind a pretty face alongside with that *laughs* and great CHEMISTRY: DANCING chemistry I meant!! ;)HAPPY SWEET SEVENTEEN SYEYI. I was on call that day and night; but I managed to slip away and make an overseas phone call right before it was past twelve midnight that day :) I love you so very much. May your dreams come true; may you grow up to e the confident, talented and brilliant girl that you are- and that you find love and success in all you do :)*muacks* LOVE U lots :)
First GMF General Medicine Floor call down.Was surprisingly steady.I capped pretty soon around midnight.Slept around 2.30am; after getting lost trying to scout for my call room *laughs*I've been up since 5.30am the day before; and it's now 3pm. And surprisingly; I'm not very fatigued either. Brian went 'How come you still have a smile after so many hours of working?'I told him that's cause I felt pretty accomplished and satisfied :) I had this warm happy feeling inside me- and I hadn't yet felt the effects of POST-call; which I know I will--- soon :)The call room. Was nice and peaceful. Then about an hour into a deep sleep; my roommate came in; answering a page for quite awhile. Then, I fell back to sleep- and woke up again; cos this time; I was freezing under my blanket. This is with me-wearing a thick singlet; a long-sleeved back shirt and a scrub shirt over! I curled up; but found it too cold to sleep.One of my patients - an 88 year old lady who loves walking up and down the corridor with her IV pole; and searches for any of her doctors- ie m.e. ; came up to me and said 'Can you please please make sure I get to go home early tomorrow morning, please?' with pleading eyes. She held on to my hand; 'I've got this reunion; where ALL my grandkids, nephews and nieces- some whom I haven't seen for 20 years; coming from all over tomorrow- and I've got an appointment with my beautician to fix my hair, you know. I'm 88 but I want to look like I'm 20' and she laughs at herself. The next couple of hours; she has repeated that to me; 3 times.And the nurse has not failed to page me 3 times either asking about her discharge. *laughs*I went to see her again. She said to me 'Oh you're a sweetheart. And you're so pretty.. Do you have a boyfriend?..'I almost laughed. Later in the evening, I saw her taking her beloved son around the floor for a tour. It was so cute. I walked over; introduced myself- and kept him updated.Early in the morning on the day she was getting discharged, she freshened herself up; and told me to come see her after she was all made-up. Later, she had her red lipstick on; with a bright green fancy blouse; beautiful earrings and necklace on; and she gave me a big hug :)She's so cute. I'm glad she's going home happy and healthy. And all her grandkids, nephews and nieces who are going to see her; are going to see a glowing old grandma :)You know, just by being with your senior - you automatically absorb all the knowledge that they have- you really do learn it by doing things. I felt so proud of myself- *I know this sounds so big-headed* but learning and knowing what steps to take and how to manage your patients in situations in which you probably would have panicked and stressed out over just a week ago; makes you feel pretty darn good and accomplished- especially when you can do it; without doubting yourself; with a certain confidence.I really like it :)PLUS; my team is pretty amazing too :)