Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Mardy Bum

I got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning. I looked in the mirror and thought: “Jeez, what the fuck happened there!?” After half an hour of trying to rearrange my face and my hair into a vaguely passable shape, I gave up and stumbled out of the door into the harsh winter light. I arrived at the end of the road just in time to watch both of the buses I needed to catch to work speed away from stop. As I waited in the perishing cold, it started to rain and I felt a silent hate for this particular day fill my gut.

I tried to comfort myself in the knowledge that only one lumbar puncture then a brief teaching session for the medical students stood between me and the return to my bed. I was none too impressed when the Health Care Assistant told me in her toneless, monosyballic pigeon that “patient not on ward. Gone x-ray”. In fact I knew she was to go to neurophysiology to have her evoked potentials checked but I’ve long since decided that further interrogating a HCA is much like asking the speaking clock the meaning of life: once they have passed on to you whatever nugget they’ve been programmed to say, any attempts to extract more information will only result in repetition. Still, I’d thought she’d be back from neurofizz by now. I decided to set up the trolley in expectation but only succeeded in demonstrating how highly strung I was to the rest of the ward by having a hissy fit over the lack of brown sterilization fluid. “No, the blue stuff will not do!”, I explained through gritted teeth, “I know it does the same thing but I always use the brown and I’m not changing now!”. In the end, the poor HCA had to be reprogrammed to fetch some from another ward. Then I waited…and waited……and waited!

By the time the patient arrived back at 12pm, I was seething inwardly with quiet rage. “No, you cannot have lunch, I’m afraid – I’m very busy and I can only do this now”, I lied. In retrospect I wonder if divine retribution might not really exist because it was at this point that everything just got worse. I tried to open the one of those ridiculous glass vials of local anaesthetic and nearly sliced the end of my index finger off when it decided to disintegrate in my hands. Having just warned her that the anaesthetic would sting a bit and not to move, I began to inject, at which point she immediately wriggled of the end of the needle in discomfort, sending a jet of lignocaine up her back. I felt my eyebrows ascend to such heights that they were in serious danger of leaving my face. When she repeated this trick later on, it had even more spectacular results: the barrel of the syringe came off the needle while I was pushing with all my might so that the lignocaine exploded all over my face and eyes. Needless to say I was none too impressed.

By the time I got back to the ward, still clutching the samples because – like everything else in my shithole of an institution – the label printer was on the blink, my medical students were already waiting for me. I remember the first time me and one of the other SHOs, The English Rose, had gone to meet our students. When I saw the geeks that I had been lumbered with and compared them to the rather tasty grouping that The English Rose had got, I suddenly had a bad case of student envy. Whereas I'd got an assortment of spotty nerds, she'd got the chiselled cool kids. It's much the same feeling as when you order at a restaurant and your friend’s choice arrives looking simply exquisite whilst yours looks like something the dog might quite reasonably turn its nose up at. I decided that the only way to make myself feel better about this day was to take it all out on my hapless students by ridiculing them mercilessly. Esoteric medical trivia that I had only learnt the other day I dressed up as common knowledge that even my ganny would know. And yes, I did feel better as I watched that blotchy, red rash of nervousness spread across their faces. "How can you not recognise a case of Wallenberg's syndrome when you see it? And how soon did you say the exams were again?" I greeted their answer with a long sucking noise through my teeth to indicate my lack of faith in their ability to make it. Cruel, I know, but in a dog eat dog world, you’ve gotta be out for number 1.

Maybe tomorrow I'll try the other side of the bed: I think, in the long run, it might be better for my karma.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes dr I know you can be a mardy bum but i still love you billions

5:13 pm  
Blogger The Venial Sinner said...

Only one person I know says 'love you billions', no matter whether I'm mardy or not. ;o)

7:19 pm  
Blogger Lizzy said...

hey, I look up to you for a bit of positive perspective (NHS is crap but hey there are some himan beings in here). I can see it's pretty (ok, ugly, desperate) but don't let it get u down, keep on shining.

6:57 pm  
Blogger Lizzy said...

i meant human

is it a
freudian slip??

6:58 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there,

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10:06 am  

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