Wednesday, February 27, 2013


I don't know what I was thinking. 

There's not even a 0th of February.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Man of mystery

We have a patient at the moment who I am really struggling to get my head around. I think he came in with diabetic ketoacidosis because of sepsis, but I'm not sure where the sepsis came from.

It doesn't help when ward round conversations go something like this ...

Registrar: "do you have pain in your chest?"
Patient, "sometimes but then we bought a special bed"
"Does it feel like someone sitting on your chest?"
"No its a special orthopaedic bed"
"So ... No chest pain recently?"
"If you ask my wife she'll tell you what sort of bed it is"

Yup, he's a real mystery.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Medicine and Love

Last year, my boss busted an elderly female patient reading this trashy hospital romance novel on the ward.

At first he thought it was terrific because this book featured a handsome physician rather than the brutish surgeons our patient usually read about (my boss was a cardiologist). He even photocopied the cover, hence the black and white pic above.

Then he discovered some sage advice on the cover. From that day forth, whenever we came across an attractive fellow medic (it might have happened twice), he would stop and wisely remind me, "medicine and love do not mix".

Wouldn't find that in a textbook.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

To Mr S

You came from home, a fit old man who had lived on his own for three years after his wife went into a nursing home.

You were as deaf as post, even with your hearing aids in. Deaf, but not silly. You had loved your school days, although they were cut short because you needed to work to support your family. You told me what you knew about the heart, how it pumps blood to the body, how it pumps blood to the lungs to collect oxygen. You weren't silly.

I could almost pronounce your name right - you corrected me until I could do it, and you liked that I tried.

You came to us because you had trouble breathing. The X-ray showed the fluid in your lung space, and before we could drain it your old heart gave out. By the time we discovered your cancer the next day, you were gone.

Gone too soon perhaps, or gone on time to save yourself from more pain. Either way, may you rest in peace. I liked you.

Monday, February 11, 2013

My student

I love having a student on the ward.

For the first week, I used him as a tour guide because I was new to the hospital and he'd already been there a week.

And I appreciate his presence on ward rounds because the consultant always bombards him with medical questions, which leaves me to act very busy because usually I don't know the answer.

And, like many of my colleagues, I love teaching. It's not entirely altruistic. It makes me feel smart.

Like today.

He'd never taken blood before, so after going through the theory I let him practice on me before setting him loose on a patient. Ego-boosting success all round, and he barely left a mark.

I also took him with me for the solemn task of verifying a patient's death. I told him my most important tip (turn on the lights), and let him see for himself how hard it is to say for certain that a patient has absent breath sounds.

As I drove home from work, I thought about how good I'd been,  taking this young student under my wing.

And that's when I got his text message: "I reckon I might go home now if that's cool. Anything for me to do before I leave?"


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Dog Tears

Tetley the teacup chihuahua loves our Mum.

In fact, Tetley loves Mum even more than it loves my sister, its rightful owner, which of course breaks my sister's heart.

Yesterday Mum came to visit and after she left, Tetley sat by the door waiting for her to return. Sat there for hours as the sun went down, in an ever-growing puddle of dog tears and sadness.

Rejection all round.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Lost: one female doctor

Day 3 of my new job today. I've gone from "intern" to the far more responsible-sounding "RMO", and from a small country hospital to a much larger hospital in the northern suburbs.

The job is going well so far ... except I keep getting lost.

I feel like a mouse in a maze, but not a mouse that's good at mazes. I'm the mouse that gets lost every single time and spends half its time back-tracking and turning around on the spot, trying to figure out where it is.

I can imagine the posters ...

Lost: one female doctor.

Last seen on ward 2B wearing pink stethoscope, said she was going to staff cafeteria. Not answering pager; possibly unable to locate phone. Approach with caution a may become more disorientated if alarmed.

Kindly return to medical team.