Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween night!

Halloween Night! Afraid, be afraid! I returned to work early this week, doing day shift for a week after being absent for two weeks for a supposed study leave. It has been comparatively quiet at work, strangely. For the past 4 days most of the cases were minor injuries. I can’t remember how many times I had to endure the unpleasant smell from patients’ feet while examining their injured ankles. I don’t know why so many people twisted their ankles this week, and none of them actually had a broken ankle.

Today, there were many patients came in after involving in RTA (road traffic accident). I saw about 5 patients with neck pain from RTA. I was not really surprised with the statistic as it was a very cold day and it was raining making the road icy. One girl who was the driver told me all the sudden her car skidded and spun several time before the car side hit a lamp post. To make matters worse another car hit her car on the other side. Luckily, she only suffered a whiplash. Another pretty girl (yes! She was very pretty....and a drama queen), walked in and started to tell me how her car was hit by another car. “Any pain”, “No, doctor, no pain, perhaps a bit sore here” pointing to the area below her shoulder blade. I pressed the area “Now, any pain here?”, “No, doctor, just a bit uncomfortable”, After series of questions with ‘No’ as the answer, and physical examination was unremarkable, I asked her “Anything that you are concerned about that I probably have missed?”, “No, doctor, I think I am fine, I just want to get checked, I will take neurofen (a painkiller) if I have pain later on” “Sure, come back if you have any problem”....but in my mind “You! Now get out! Waster!”......and I did smile back when she smiled at me while leaving the cubicle...Ahhh, you sweet devil!

Tonight is the Halloween night. I don’t envy at all those who work night shift tonight in A&E. It is going to be a mad night, having to deal with many stupid drunken people with injury related to the Halloween party. I remember the last time I worked on Halloween night last year I couldn’t believe the type of injuries I have to manage. Many with head injuries either from an accidental fall or being hit by someone, all alcohol related. I remember a guy, a non-national, was beaten badly on the head while sitting on the side of a field watching a bonfire. He was kicked and punched without provocation by a group of drunken youths. They also stole his wallet and his shoes. Another fella had a burn on his face after it caught fire when he was throwing gasoline from a bottle to make a bigger bonfire.....great party huh!

I have been invited to two Halloween parties. I really want to go but I have to be at work tomorrow from at 8 am to start my 12 hrs shift a day for 9 days in a row.....well, next year, maybe. I will dress in a French maid uniform. That would be a gas!!!!!!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Needles, threads and wounds!

Gosh! Finally the course is over. On the way now to Edinburgh Airport, coming back to Dublin. I thought Dublin was cold enough for me but Edinburgh is even colder. Despite the fact that Edinburgh is a beautiful city I just can’t wait to be back in Dublin. Emm....strange to say that.

I swear to God, for the past 2 days, I have done sutures so much that I feel sick looking at needles and threads. For nearly 8 hrs a day I was sitting on a chair, looking at wounds or pseudo-wounds. I did sutures on sponges, wires, pig legs and feet, turkey thighs and probably rabbits bowels. Pulled up, pulled down, tied and tied, cut and cut for 8 hrs. I started to have a neck pain. A Nigerian female doctor sitting beside me chuckled when I said I felt like to vomit, sick with the same thing over and over again. She smiled when I said that this reminded me of my late mum when she spent her free time weaving a mat from rumbia leaves. Thanks God I am off for a week next week so I don’t have to see anymore needles, threads and wounds. Another female doctor from Glasgow laughed when I said this. She thought I was kidding but I was being serious. She laughed more.

I have to say though that it was an excellent course. The demonstrators were very helpful, and they made sure everyone got a chance to do the practical parts. The director of the course was not only a brilliant teacher but he also had a wicked sense of humour. The only problem though he really liked to talk a lot. Many times while I was busy concentrating on my suture practice he would come to my table talking about something that had nothing to do with the course, like he was talking about Scottish traditional food, one of those is a boiled pig bowel, stuffed with sausage and pig stomach....emm, delicious!, I think not!

He also told me a story, when he was in China with his wife few yrs ago (why everyone assumes I am from china? M.A.L.A.Y.S.I.A!), he was asked to eat fish eye balls as an honour, of course he didn’t eat them. Instead, he offered the big fried eyeballs to the host wife as a return of the honour, and she gladly ate them. I thought that was brilliant, a smart move but I forgot to mention to him that I also like fish eyeballs especially the ones that deep-fried. Another story from him was, he was so horrified when a chinese vendor cut off the legs of a chicken when it was still alive after he agreed to try a chicken leg meal...well, only happens in china. He also mentioned that it was true that there was a legal brothel running in the building beside the campus, and he made a point that he had never been there.....emmm..I still can’t see the funny side of this story but few participants did laugh. Perhaps I just didn’t get the joke. Whatever!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

FRom Dublin to Liverpool to Dublin to Edinburgh

At the airport the very moment, going to Edinburgh to attend a 2 days basic surgical skill course at the Royal College of Surgeons, starting from tomorrow. It is an essential course for me in order to secure a 6 months job in surgery as part of my training to qualify as a physician in emergency medicine.

After 4 yrs in psychiatry which I found later was not for me, I decided to change speciality. At the beginning I was a bit lost 2 years ago, not exactly knew what I should be doing after leaving psychiatry as I always wanted to do psychiatry during my intern year. I was interested in learning human behavior, their actions and responses to situation. I wanted to know in depth why they behaved in certain way in certain circumstances. I wanted to know what was the line between normal and abnormal. Therefore I signed up for 4 yrs training in psyhiatry with Dublin University Rotational Program attached to Trinity College, a prestigious university in Ireland. During those 4 years I had the privilege working under the supervision of the country's top psychiatrists like Dr. Anne-Marie O'Dwyer , Professor Brian Lawlor and Dr.Conor Farrell. I was also given an opportunity to teach medical students when I was a tutor during my last 6 months in the field. So, why changed? So many reasons. Although I had learned and experienced so many things during the period, i also discovered that i was doing it for wrong reasons. At the end i realised that partly it was for personal gain which nothing to do with psychiatry. From this point my interest slipped down the hill, nearly lost my faith in psychiatry itself. To preserve my insanity i opted out.

"What is next" I wondered. Taking into account my experience in psychiatry i decided to pursue a job as a GP. Along my journey to achieve my initial plan i found emergency medicine. So far, for the past 2 years I have enjoyed it so much (well, most of the time!), and it suits me so well. Having said that, I still have so much to do- study, conferences, courses, researches, audits, teachings - to be fully qualified as a physician in emergency medicine.

This week has been hectic to me. Only yesterday I return from Liverpool after attending a 2 days course in Paediatric Emergency Medicine course at Alder Hey Children's Hospital. It was an intensive course and at the end I was struggling mentally to retain all the life-saving informations and facts. Although most of the time I deal with adult emergency cases, every so often I have to deal with paediatric patients particularly if they are presented with traumatic injuries. For medical problems, they will go directly to a Paediatric team, or in some hospital they have a paediatric emergency team. I have to admit that I have little experience with children/paediatric group, hence the course was quite beneficial for my post.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Confession

Enough is enough! I can't do this anymore! It is disgusting. It is self destructive. It is not worth it. Now, it is time for me to call it a's about time...

Well, some may wonder what all the ranting above is about. I will tell you now. Finally, I have the guts to spill the bean. For 12 years, it has been with me. For that 12 bloody years I have been battling it, to stop or to continue, always lost the battle when I thought I was winning it. Now I am ready again to strike back, with my will power as my armour.

I suppose I have an addictive personality. I must admit that I have many addictions, some I like, some I don't, but the addiction I despise most is my smoking habit. To b honest, I started smoking about 12 years ago. I remember vividly the first time I smoked a ciggarette. At that time I was working part time in a fast food restaurant during my student years. I did a night shift and everyone was smoking. During my break, with my rebellious instinct, I bought a pack of malboro and started smoking. I just wanted to try how it felt like. It was one of the biggest mistakes in my life. Well, to make the story short, I enjoyed it and was hooked since.

Funny enough, when I was in high school, I hated smoking. I hated the smell, i hate people smoking it. I was an anti-smoker. I thought innocently that it was one of the roots of evil. My dad was super anti-smoking when we were kids. He used to say to us "If any of you are caught smoking, I will lash your back with rattan until it bleeds". Ironically, all the boys in the family ended up as smokers, me included, and no lashing occurred.

For the past few years, particularly after my graduation, I have tried to stop smoking. I havent enjoyed it as much. As a doctor, I am also a health educator, so I have been burdened with a huge sense of guilt everytime i smoke. I dont do what I preach, that's the shame.

I have tried different methods to quit the habit. I have tried nicotine-containing chewing gums which had disgusting taste. I have tried nicotine-containing inhalers but they did nothing to me. I have tried nicotine-patch but I developed skin rash from it, which lingered for many weeks. Few times I went cold turkey but somehow I managed to find an excuse to started smoking again. The longest I was off cigarette for the past 12 years was 4 weeks.

Why now? What is the difference now? I don't know. I suppose I have to try again. I believe, with the support from my friends, including from FB, I can do it. I am ready to fight it again. I know it wont be easy. Like any war, sometimes you win the battle, sometimes you lose but I hope I will triumph.

Last but not least, I want to offer my apology to those who are disappointed with the level of the revelation as it is not as scandalous or spectacular as one may expect. A confession is a confession, right, no matter how small it is. Thank you anyway to those who were waiting for my confession (wink! wink! mrmanager, wink!wink Al-Razes). I am also sorry for failing to confess sooner. I should have said 'the next post' rather than 'tomorrow'. Keep smiling and please give me the support I much need. Selamat Hari Raya. Maaf Zahir dan Batin