Sunday, January 31, 2010

My grand reception.

Tuesday evening, 7pm, finds me freshly showered, and frowning at my closet. What to wear? What to wear???
I'm not usually the type of person to disturb my equilibrium over such, semi-mundane matters, especially since my body has long since lost its former glory. (Thanks to a fair number of offspring!). But, damn, why didn't I go on that f%^#&$* diet????

Hospital admin was kind enough to arrange a sort-of, informal, get- to- know- the- new- doper, meeting at 8pm. Must say I felt rather chuffed at the idea of meeting all the surgical colleagues at the same time. I could therefore spare myself the agony of going from doctors rooms to doctors rooms, handing out my snazzy little business cards, and feeling like a glorified call girl/ rep/ idiot.

Eventually, I look at my reflection and think, not bad... not bad at all. I don my killer heels, that don't actually show beneath my pants, but make me feel like some exotic chick with hidden powers, kiss my family goodbye, and present myself to my favourite receptionist (yep the very one I mentioned in a previous post) with 5 minutes to spare.

With a confused, yet sympathetic, "they are not here, but perhaps they are late", she continued whatever she was doing. Should of known then that something was up.

I am strictly punctual, but this is an island ... and apparently you can only call yourself a true islander once you have proudly mastered the art of being late... Very late...

Exactly one and a half hours later, my mood something akin to soured cream, I get a call. "Sorry got caught up with something." No kidding. " It's quite late so maybe you should come to my rooms, just outside the main hospital, to the left." Piss off. By now I just want this joke of a meeting over with so I follow the directions, and come up with... wait for it.... nothing.

Back to the receptionist who explains that said rooms are to the left of the hospital, but that Dr Prick forgot to mention that they were about a kilometer down the road!

My mood now resembling curdled cream, I stomp down the road, expecting at least one hell of a stiff drink for this minor inconvenience, and very worried about my heels. Island pavements seem to be as twisted as island doctors.

At last, Dr Prick in the flesh, lounging against the streetlamp, having a smoke and chatting to Dr X.

"You guys are late and where is everyone else?" I ask. "Two minutes please" is the reply. WTF!!!!!

I'm ashamed to say that I actually granted them their precious two minutes. I was so flabbergasted, that even if I had come up with some acid one-liner to shove them back into the creepy hole they had crawled out of, it would have eluded me at that moment.

What happened afterwards is barely of any consequence, suffice to say that my first impression had been well and truly cemented into my brain. These people sucked!! And I had to work with them!!

Well ... I can always still diet.... doubt whether much can improve for them, poor sods...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The DIRE emergency.

It was my second on-call in greener pastures.... The first one had gone off without a hitch, but yet a mixture of anxiety, fear and excitement was twirling around inside me. What would the day bring my way, and would I cope? Not only was my comfort zone very far away, it was quite frankly, totally shot to hell! Nevertheless I acted as though all was well and butter wouldn't melt in my mouth....

As expected, the inevitable call came. A DIRE emergency!!! Theatre stat!!! Shit!!!

All I could get out of the receptionist (due in part to a language deficiency on my side, and an information deficiency on her side) was... MVA (motor vehicle accident), emergency, get here immediately.

Well that was enough to unleash the formula 1 driver in me. Man it was so cool!! I put on my hazards and made a twenty five minute journey in about eight minutes. They didn't call me Villeneuve back in varsity for nothing!! All the while mentally reciting adrenalin dosages, c-spine considerations, the protocol for low tidal volume ventilation blah, blah, blah.
I screeched to a halt, as only a woman driver can do, and dashed into the hospital, making a beeline for said receptionist...

"So where is he? Still in the ER or in ICU?"

"Oh he is waiting for you up in the ward doctor."

"No not that one, the one you called me about, you know...the DIRE emergency!!! Where is that one?"

"I just told you, he is up in the ward waiting to see you."

Ok I was not getting anywhere with this poppie, and besides she was looking at me like I was half mad and I had just wasted about five minutes! The pixie dust in the golden hour-glass was seriously running out...

I ran up to the ward only to be told that the particular patient was in room 226. Nobody seemed very stressed by the situation and I was getting more and more worried. What the hell was going on here? Surely I was missing some vital part in the equation??

Revved-up and ready for whatever was awaiting me, I entered room 226.

Imagine my surprise when I found an old man, grinning from ear to ear, and hardly able to contain himself as he excitedly relayed the events of a few hours ago leading to his badly fractured humerus. Oh and he reckoned that he was absolutely starving and yes his whole body was sore, and were we going to sort him out now?

Well, I felt myself deflating faster than a pair of silicone boobs on a concorde! For a few blinding seconds the disappointment threatened to overwhelm me... Then I smiled, did the old toppie's premed and continued with the dire emergency, saving my little giggle for later.

Friday, January 29, 2010


One thing that I learnt very early in my training as an anaesthesiologist, and that still baffles me to this day (10 years later!) is the almost irreconcilable differences between us and the surgeons. Allow me to make it very clear from the start, that this is by no means a generelization. All surgeons are gems, but some are certainly more polished than others. It's the unpolished, rough diamonds I wish to get off of my chest today. So all of you brilliant cuts out there, just sit back, relax and let me vent.

We survive in a symbiotic environment whereby surgeon needs anaesthetist and vice-versa. Yet when in close proximity of a "roughy" as I like to call them, one would swear that we and only we, are the parasites! As a registrar I mistakenly believed that this attitude problem was due to the torture the poor surgery registrars had to endure, both physically and emotionally.
Couldn't wait to get into private practise and enjoy decent, fun and equal relationships with the gems ie discussing the patients together, cracking the odd joke in theatre (across the blood-brain-barrier) and most importantly trusting each other.

Luckily or unluckily for me, I am a cross between an idealist and a realist. So everytime my parade gets pissed on, I just clean it up and start again! But sometimes even my mops get saturated and this is where my story actually begins...

I am a recent expat... That in itself is quite a challenge. So here we are... new country, new life, new hospital, new job, new colleagues, but (thank God for small mercies) same DATEX machines. Due to my above-mentioned personality flaw, I really thought that the transition period between "new" colleague and "regular" colleague would be difficult, but manageable.
I was even almost excited (amidst my fear) and couldn't wait to do my beloved job again!

Enter roughy...

" are the new one..." Yes, that would be me, pleased to meet you. "everytime they get a new one, I get stuck with all the problems. I've tried them all around here and not one can give me what I need. Let me tell you that in my long and prestigious career, the 3 sole haematomas I've had where unmistakeably due to the anaesthesia" Really, I'm sorry to hear that. "It's always up to me to tell them what drugs to give, where to position their tubes and even where to stick the tape. What am I going to do with you?" Well you could give me a try and if you find me lacking, no need to use me again, how about that hmm? I actually adore my job, and am quite good at it too, so I might even be okay. What do you think? Should we give it a shot and see what happens?

Exit roughy...

I kid you not, he just looked at me with total contempt, shook his head, turned around and walked off mumbling under his breath. He had never seen me before and this entire session took place in the recovery room in full view and hearing of half the theatre staff.

Out came the mops in full force!! Mop, mop, mop!! Mop, mop, mop!! Mop, mop,mop!

I am a firm believer of the saying, "how someone treats you is their karma, how you react is yours" ,by Dyer. So now I have a bit of a dilemma... Do I lower myself to his unpolished standards? Do I follow my gut feeling and tell him to go get screwed? Bear in mind that he is about my dads age and honestly I still do have respect for my elders! Do I just keep mopping my parade clean and smile? Do I dope for him and prove myself as a worthy anaesthesiologist? Do I swear on my life never to share a theatre with a common little rough pebble like that?

Perhaps I should fall back on the age-old concept of the blood-brain-barrier! Roughy the blood, me the brain and the screen draped over the patient, the barrier...