8.05.2006

but i'm only human

[braindump alert] - be warned of random ramblings. it's hard to concentrate on anything nowadays when my academic future is still hanging in a limbo. that would also explain the anti-social and pms-like behavior of late.

jj used to tease me about starting up a daycare center with all the little 'uns i pick up, esp through tibs. nowadays, i have yh teasing me about my geri-club with all the cute old 'uns i pick up in the wards. *sigh*

it's hard drawing personal boundaries sometimes. it's a good thing i'm more headstrong than heartstrong in a way in this respect i guess. a few weeks back, i was telling my mom how hard it was to restrain myself from giving a patient hugs sometimes just because it would be inappropriate. complete strangers, they are.. crossing paths only because of unfortunate circumstances, yet i'm always amazed at how much impact the ripples of collision make.

***
how do you tell the person whom you've been having daily chats with, the one you wave hi to every time you pass their bed. how do you tell him he's got bowel cancer that's spread to his lungs and liver when all he knew just a second ago was that he came in with diarrhea? damn heartbreaking to wave hi to him a few hours after he found out, only to receive a wholehearted attempt to smile and put on a brave front before catching his face fall out of the corner of my eye as i turned to put in a cannula on another patient.

i wish i could've given him a hug and tell him it'll be ok, everything will be fine.

***
how do you make the dear little widowed german immigrant in the corner bed by the window feel better when he's down with a nasty bout of pneumonia and tells you he's been sleep deprieved for the past 3 days? he's in with 5 other ppl in the same room and half of them are "pleasantly demented" - they rave and ramble at all hours in perfect bliss. he's got emphysema and his lungs aren't doing too well. temazepam won't do. we never got around to trying out the efficacy of antihistamines on him. he passed away with his family by his side, frail and exhausted from battling the infection. exhausted from struggling to breathe. exhausted.

i wish i had the power to give him a single room so he could get his much needed sleep. then he might have recovered well enough to flash me his little smile as his way of saying hi. after all, the overweight man huffing and puffing across from him at the time was in a worse state than him but managed to recover in a matter of days and leave the hospital alive. i wish my little german immigrant could have done the same.

***
how do you not feel sorry for the little old lady who is so insecure and desperate to belong that she starts crying when we tell her she's well enough to go home, the paperwork's all ready. "but my daughter will only be here at 4pm doctor" she whimpers. "someone else must need my bed, i understand you're all very busy. will i get to sit in a chair somewhere to wait for her? " she beseeches. the poor dear thought she was getting kicked out of the hospital and hence the ensuing display of waterworks.

i wish there was a way to make her feel secure all the time, to make her realize that her family does indeed value her very much contrary to her beliefs.

***
it's hard not to start treating the patients like one's children when you see them on a daily basis. it's hard not to feel some sort of attachment when you've seen them go through some of the worst times and then see them recover. it's hard not to feel like a proud parent after knowing their personal life stories and see them go home knowing they've fought bravely and won the round this time.

it's been 5 weeks into this general medicine rotation and i've absorbed many lessons and moments that can never be taught. it seems not so long ago that i had the fiasco regarding my results. that still hasn't been resolved - no news from the appeals committee yet but it's slowly fading into distant memories. i'm more than ready to bury the emotional roller coaster from those weeks under 18ft of dirt but i'm scared of letting go. letting go means that should the news be bad, the emotional roller coaster will rise thru all that dirt with greater force and speed than before. i'm not quite sure if i can handle that.

one of the GPs i saw in year 1 was an alumni from this university, from this very same course. she had asked how i was coping and if i had wanted antidepressants. it's normal.. a lot of students, especially 4th adn 5th years were on them, she explained. i still remember thinking "what the hell would i need those for? crazy lady, i think she's the one that needs random meds" five years later, i understand. i totally understand although it seems that antipressants may not be enough. i think a drug cocktail would be more apt.

i wish someone had warned me of what i was getting myself into five years ago on orientation day. i love the clinical work and some aspects of the course, but man... i am so ready to get outta the system! (but i heard it's a case of "out of the frying pan and into the fire")

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