Monday, March 29, 2010

Itz all about enjoying the Journey

I just had a very inspirational chat with a Palliative medicine consultant today. Being in Oncology, we do tend to work very closely with the Pall Med team. And they are extremely nice people, absolutely befitting the profession they have taken up. She came into the room after reviewing one of my patients and I was summarising a patient's notes for mortality presentation. N so we started discussing about the patient and eventually the conversation steered towards what I applied for in the next mopex and so on. I've always felt very comfortable with her hence told her about how I didnt get through to Paeds and how my decision to apply for BST was delayed by that. And she started talking about her experiences and how itz not the end that matters cos the end will come anyway but itz the journey and the experiences during the journey that matter more (of course, not forgetting the caveat that itz provided that there are no major commitments in life at this point in time). Which is so true..... To be very frank, I never really felt the urge to rush through exams n get on with specialty training. I've always believed that it is important to be ready and feel confident about your own capabilities before moving on to the next stage in the career. I was surprised at the breadth of postings that she had completed before making the final call. And the fact that she had enjoyed every bit of the journey, even in the midst of a competitive crowd of colleagues who were aiming to reach the end faster. I guess, to be exact, there is no real end..... N there shouldnt be an end, or else life will stagnate at one point or another.

So, moral of the story: No matter what the results may be tmr, just gotta take it as part of the wole learning journey ;) Haha

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I dont know why I am letting this affect me so much but for some reason it has.....

So it was another one of those crazy days. Exit ended around 7 and after that I had to do a procedure for a patient. Called my boss for assistance and he said he was on his way. While waiting for him, another patient's daughter (in the bed opposite to the one i was doing the procedure for) approached me and asked if her mum could eat (the patient had just came back after a procedure n i had to review her n give the go ahead before she could eat). Initially I told her to hang on for a while as I was in the midst of this pt's procedure (and waiting for boss to come) but subsequently decided to go have a quick peek at the other lady's procedure report n give the go ahead as she had been fasting since morning. HOwever, as i went to the other pt's bedside to quickly eyeball her n give her the go ahead for dinner, her daughter started asking about her condition. Just then, from the corner of my eyes, caught my boss walking in to the other pt's bedside for the procedure. Hence tried to give a quick summary of that pt's condition to her daughter n headed back to assist my boss.

After the procedure, i walked out with boss n sister of the ward walked up to me to ask if i had any problems with the daughter. I said no but she went on to explain that the daughter had expressed unhappiness over my replies to her n was clearly unhappy. Boss was there. I didnt get reprimanded but he just dropped some tips n went off.

I just stood there feeling absolutely drained for a while. But after that picked up the phone and called the daughter up (she had left the ward by then). She said she was upset n felt that I tried to brush her away and not answering properly about her condition. APologised profusely, answered her queries and at the end of it she said thanks for calling her back.

I guess, admittedly I did sound rushed as I was talking to her because I was trying to get back to the procedure left halfway. N in the first place, the reason why I deviated from the procedure for a while was because the other patient had fasted the whole day n i just wanted to tell her if she could eat or not. Didnt expect to be ambushed by the whole list of qns esp since i had explained more than half of them the day before when I spoke to her.

This kind of situation is not uncommon in the sense that a lot of times patients do complain about doctors due to misunderstandings. I've had patients complaining to me about fellow colleagues and even bosses and im sure many others had similar experiences. But today in particular i was very disturbed by it. By the time I settled talking to her n trying to diffuse the situation, it was too late n i couldnt get a medicine for my sister n something my mum wanted (as pharmacy had closed. ANd this is not the first time it's happening. MAny a times I do realise that I neglect my family, friends, meals, sleep and rest for my patients. N hence it does get upsetting when people forget about everything else that has been done n focus on that 1 thing that goes wrong. Itz just a very crappy feeling. N In the very first place, it was out of empathy for an old lady who was starving the whole day that I attended to her first.

Just read my friend's blog yesterday where he was talking abt how healthcare is not and should not be seen as a service industry where people come in and demand things to be done. N worse still come in n demand that nothing be done to them (why come in then in the first place?) I certainly agree with friend's comments. Trying to do a 'service providing' job + dealing with the patient's health at the same time can just simply bbe very draining. I do not deny that being on the flip side of the coin, one can have a lot of anxiety n concern about their relatives' condition, n it is that very concern n anxiety that sometimes transforms into anger.Afterall, I have been on the flip side of the coin as well.....

However, there are many times when i have wondered why patients n families dont look at us doctors as fellow human beings too - human beings with the same blood n flesh n emotions just as much as each n everyone of them do.....

N i have not gotten an ans to that as yet.....