all ears!

so this is it.. four weeks of emergency room madness and it's all done. just got home not too long ago, just saw them all not too long ago and yet, i already miss them. no, not the patients. forget all that touchy feelie empathy crap. we've had enough interactional skills sessions to satisfy a lifetime and half of it. i'm talking about the staff... i thought i like my ortho regs well enough during the last rotation but this bunch of people in the ED topped 'em. to think that i was dreading my ED rotation! continuous long cases didn't seem too enticing at first. i forgot to add the people factor to the equation.

yes, i've had the internship crap to deal with and it was a pain organizing anything from that far away. yes, the daily 40-min journey to and fro were a pain in the butt and i've had many a near miss with crazy speed demons swerving in and outta traffic. yes, there have been times when i catch myself willing the clock hands to hit 10 or 11, just so i fulfilled my weekly hour requirements. i come home dead beat, cramming in 12+hr shifts.. but i come home contented that at least someone's gone home feeling better.

it's been one of the few rotations where there was a sense of belonging. inside jokes, random bantering at everybody and anybody's expense, having random conversations ranging from medico-legal gossip to types of cars good for racing (abs, you would've sooo loved the convo. you would've gotten on well with the RMOs.. maseratis were mentioned!) getting called to see the weird and wonderful.. and a nearly tearful last day. all that's still tugging at the heart strings.

how often is it that one gets acknowledged, let alone spoken to as a lowly medical student by a consultant? it was awfully embarrassingly heartwarming when the consultant in charge held everyone back after handover to announce that it was my last day and thank me for helping out these past four weeks. i guess that bringing in a large fluffy chocolate mousse cake might've contributed to the flow of good words and appreciation too but still.. it was kinda nice to have one's efforts acknowledged once in a while =)

memories of tiny sick tots who leave the ED smiling and babbling in incomprehensible baby talk, sweet little old patients who so patiently explain their complaints for the hundredth time, those who wait ridiculous number of hours for their turn to be seen but still gratefully thank you afterwards, the suturing, the xray reviews, the dozens of neuro and ear exams, the "oh shit!" moments shared with senior staff, the new-found "hi, how're you?" buddies i've made outta med and surgical regs and rmos, the nurses defending and protecting me from "mean nasty doctors," the radiologists taking time out to explain both results and politics and most of all, all the weird, wacky and wonderful patients encountered over the past month .. they all remain but memories. sadly, all i've got to show are ears and more ears.

yeah, i'm rambling like i always do but just indulge me for a wee bit! i just want to savor these warm fuzzies for a while more before returning to a reality clouded by the looming exams. can't wait til they're over!


little annabelle and the field trip

Sometime last year, Noelle had called up Isabelle for some advice about how to deal with Annabelle. Li'l Anna was different from the rest of her classmates, you see. She was slower than them, she needed special considerations. Noelle wasn't sure if Annabelle would be able to go on this field trip next year. Isabelle assured Noelle that everything would be fine. Li'l Anna signed up for the field trip.

She was estactic.. she would be able to join her friends, even though she would be joining them late. Nevertheless, she would be able to go on the field trip! Li'l Anna wondered about how she would get there if she was going late. She went and talked to Jill, who seemed to know lots. Jill reassured her everything would be taken care of, don't worry. Now mind you, li'l Anna might be slow but she was still able to sense potential roadblocks. She was also a tad obsessive and was a worrier so she went to speak to Isabelle. After all, if Noelle was getting all her information from Isabelle.. why shouldn't Annabelle do the same?

Isabelle reassured li'l Anna all's well and whoever was in charge of the field trip would have to sort out the problem of transport. It wouldn't be Anna's job. After all, Isabelle said Anna could go and therefore, Anna will go whether the field trip manager was happy or not.

As it so happened, the field trip manager turned out to be Chloe. She had a twin called Catie, who was filling in for her. They had mischieviously switched identities for the time being. Li'l Anna didn't know this so she spoke to Catie, thinking she was Chloe. Annabelle wanted to make sure that she would have transport to get her on this field trip. Catie didn't know much about her twin's job anyway.. and was scared to make the wrong arrangements so she also turned to Isabelle for some advice. Isabelle was happy if Catie was happy. Catie, unfortunately, wasn't happy and didn't want to let li'l Anna go on the field trip. That was the easiest option for Catie because it meant that she didn't need to find out how to arrange for transportation. Catie didn't like new things very much, nor did she like meeting new people.

Isabelle, now being sick of being the shoulder to cry on for everyone else, decided that li'l Anna couldn't go on the field trip either. She apologized for giving out wrong advice in the very beginning and as compensation, li'l Annabelle could go on the field trip if she could work something out with Catie. Catie was still unhappy, even after Anna told her where to go find cars and buses. Without Chloe's knowledge Catie went and told Isabelle she couldn't find any cars or buses for li'l Anna. With that information, Isabelle could only conclude that Annabelle wasn't able to go on her field trip after all. She would need to wait until next year to go with the other kids in the year below.

As slow as li'l Annabelle is, she is still able to feel frustrated and very sorely disappointed at not being able to go on this field trip. She's not sure what to do - should she wait until Chloe comes back and bad Catie goes away to ask to go on the field trip again? ...or should she just resign herself to the decision of going on the field trip next year and twiddle her thumbs for the time being?


aint daddy's little girl no more

i've managed to have my first decent conversation with my dad a couple of weeks ago. one that didn't involve any teeth gnashing. one that lasted more than 5 minutes. one that involved no monosyllabic replies. looks like we're back to square one again.

called up my parents last night to tell them i might have to cancel my trip back to taiwan if by some miracle, i'm allowed to sit for my exams early to meet the intership start date. i ended up bawling my eyes out. my mom understood. "you're just tired of it all, huh?" she quietly commented. what about my dad? "don't get distracted, concentrate on your current rotation and do your best. always do your best" i was miffed, but it wasn't too bad. i just threw a "how do u expect me to fully concentrate when i have this frickin' internship situation to deal with at the same time?" again, he told me to just concentrate. i let it go.

at some point in the conversation, i went on to whine about not knowing what awful karma i must've incurred to keep getting random roadblocks thrown my way. i mean really.. in a batch of 14 applications versus their usual hundreds, they managed to commit an administrative error and let me "slip through"? my mom just laughed, highly amused at my warped train of thought. my dad's response was "you're not working hard enough."

oh boy. that did it. i clammed up. a voice inside me was throwning a tantrum. it went something like this... "don't you dare tell me that i'm not working hard enough. don't. you. dare. who the hell are you to make that call? who the hell are you to judge? were you were to witness first-hand all that's happened in my life for the past 5 years? frickin' hell." seriously, i don't know my dad anymore.


just plain cruel

i'm sure you've all seen those scenes in movies and whatnot where the protagonist is already in a miserable condition where everything seems to go wrong and then in the middle of the journey home, the rain starts to pour. you get the camera zooming in as the needles of rain continue to pelt the protagonist and the scene fades to black to the wailing of "why meeeee...." as the protagonist throws arms up and collapses on the knees.

that was me today. well, not as dramatically as that but there were at least more than a dozen cells that played the miserable protagonist today. especially the ones in my heart. they sank to a new low. personally, i think that's a pretty reasonable reaction to getting a cryptic msg on the voicemail telling you there's been a problem with you intern application and to please call back.

call back, i did. it's nice to be told that because of when i graduate, i was technically not able to start more than 1 term after my intended mid-year starting date with the rest of the guys. because of that, i was technically not eligible to apply for a hospital allocation in the first place. as a reward for my honesty in stating that, and to make up for their administrative error, the allocation people are allowing me to start anyway. the catch is that the hospital would prolly push for me to start in january 2008. the reasons were:

  1. lack of support in a new environment (fair 'nuff, but they haven't met me yet so that's an assumption on their part, no?)
  2. the consultants will think i've already done 4 terms and expect more, putting me in more stress than necessary (like anj said.. you think i don't have a mouth to tell them i'm a mid-year graduate??)
  3. you can't get the paperwork done in time (told them i could gather everything needed.. like criminal record checks, certified documents etc.. so that the application for a new visa will be ready to go. as for registration with medical board, the forms are due next friday so all they gotta do is say ok. it's not like they wouldn't have processed it by august. the lady didn't get how i could prepare for something if i wasn't eligible ie. "but u can't apply for ur visa yet beacuse you're not registered so you can't prepare for it!" eh??)
i don't see what the fuss is about. all that crap about support, about paperwork. excuses i tell you. "why the hell should we lift a finger to help you? who do you think you are" attitude is what it is. in a way, there's more strength in numbers. i keep forgetting that i have to stop straying away from the herd. you know, like how the lame wildebeest straggling away is the one that becomes dinner to the hyenas? one would think that because it's just me, people would have less hassle making an exception compared to a group of fifteen. instead of 15 exams to grade, 15 sets of registration papers to fil and so on, there's only my set. apparently, that translates to "well, it's just one person, i'm too lazy to do it. they can join the main group next year" from faculty to governmental allocation units.

seriously. i don't know why i bother to stick it out when i have no ties with this bloody place. right now, i'm cursing more than that red light camera fine from 2 years back. much more.


my head hurts =(

i made it home alive, headache and all. the half pack of starbursts squirts i gobbled up helped. the idiot who's drilling goodness-knows-what 8 fllors down somewhere on the street at this bloody time of night isn't helping.

first day of ED rotation today. i was all gung ho about it and packed in two shifts back to back. 8am - 10.30pm. now that the adrenaline rush has died down a tad, i'm sitting here reflecting on today's events. it was all pretty basic stuff that came through today. despite it all, i've forgotten what acute medicine was like and was still very much stuck in the mindset of a med reg, but about 50x less knowledgeable and slower. being thrown head first into a mishmash of problems today has pretty much scared me shitless, even tho i know i'll get the hang of it during the four weeks. still, it's a very uncomfortable thought to know that i'll be out there in a few months' time doing this as a job. with responsibility. i hate responsibility.

today, not only was i stumped by ECGs for the umpteenth time, but the smell of ... well smelly feet will be forever engrained in those smell sensors of mine. good gawd. i had no idea four year olds could have stinky feet that rivaled the nauseating stench of an 80 year old's feet. now i do.

tomorrow, not only will i get there by 8am.. i'm insanely contemplating pulling another 2-shift day so that i can be another 14 hours closer to fulfiiling my weekly quota of hours and overtime. three days in a row of this.. and i can get thursday off! =D



now's a good time as any to say thank you =)

the influx of msgs and calls yesterday and today pulled at the heartstrings a tad. some, i had looked forward to. others completely threw me off.. pleasantly of course. like my dad's sms. it was a very "awww" moment. apparently, he was so proud of sending off his first international sms that he was waving the phone in front of my mom's face as he sent it off with a huge grin. he also later called to ask if i got his sms. aiyaiyai. my mom wasn't much better though. she let me a msg on msn with her usual spate of smileys. she has also set this to "amy" and now, that's all that shows up when she types my name. i've been reduced to a smiley. anyway, she too calls up to ask if i've received what she sent. took a few minutes to figure out that she didn't send an sms like my dad, but that she was talking about her msn msg. aiyaiyai times 2.

in the madness of everyone's daily lives, i was pleasantly surprised by a lot of you. i'm not the best when it comes to keeping in touch - i try and usually manage, but i also get hit with anti-social periods and those can last a while. i know everyone goes through something similar at some point in time so i was really touched that you guys made the effort. i don't mean to go all soppy, but really.. u guys made ma' heartstrings wobble hehe. the good sorta wobble. made me reflect on how good i've had it despite my constant whinges and rants.

groupmates, workmates, seniors, juniors, old friends, new friends and most of all, surprise friends.. the ones whom i thought had no idea i existed... thank you for indulging me, for putting up with me, for being there for me and for helping me get through my daily ins and outs. thank you for caring =)