Friday, April 28, 2006

Reality (vs) TV

Pretty much every doctor in England likes nothing better than a good piss-ripping session about the medical dramas that proliferate daily to fill our TV schedules. Whether it be the upside down x-ray, the incorrect management plan or the fact that the fresh-from-med-school house officer has just been left to perform open heart surgery on some old dear while the consultant nips out to the bogs to self-medicate with another hit of stolen pethidine, it does sometimes all conspire to make you think that no amount of medical advisors will ever stop them getting it all so horribly wrong.

To my own mind, however, the truly amusing thing about the medical soaps is how wonderfully glamorous they make medicine seem. If it’s not the fact that everybody is hotter than a page 3 hotty, then perhaps it's the fact that they seem to pass their whole day making end-of-the-bed, life-saving spot diagnoses or cutting people back to health without breaking a sweat and all in time to grab that quick beer after work with the fit patient whose entire previously-insoluble life problems they sorted out earlier with a few well-chosen words!

But O the reality of it! And O how it bites tonight!

Venflon needs doing for bed 5 and 26 and there’s a drug chart needs rewriting for bed 15’ was the greeting I received when I stepped onto the ward tonight. Not even a ‘how-are-you?’ or ‘sleep-well?’; just straight down to the nitty gritty of it. I answered my bleep a little later to have ‘dhere’s pus needs took to the lab from t'eatres’ barked into my ear by Ms McFeisty, the leprechaun of neurosurgical registrar on call with me tonight. There’s something in Ms McFeisty’s manner that tells you she didn’t get to where she is today by battering her eyelids and smiling coyly; no, I see scalps taken and the scrotums of enemies crushed beneath a stiletto heel. Think less Goldilocks and more Martin McGuinness with tits. (Oh, I'm sorry: I temporarily forgot that Mr McGuinness is now a noble statesman committed to the peaceful release of his country from the shackles of its colonial oppressors, and not in fact a murderous terrorist in a balaclava who'd have your kneecaps off at the drop of a hat.) Anyway, I entered theatres to find the McFeisty energetically sucking the pus from a young man’s brain whilst simultaneously berating the scrub nurse for not handing her the gauze fast enough. Without looking up she quickly spat out ‘19. IVDU. Cerebral abscess. On cef and rifampicin. Urgent Gramm stain. Results to ITU’. I waited a moment until I was sure the staccato list of instructions was over before I picked up the sample and left. So this is it – the culmination of six years and tens of thousands of pounds worth of education: ferrying pus around the hospital in the dead of night. Isn’t it just faaaabulous, daaarling!


Blogger Kate said...

You folks have reality TV, the academics get literature. Apparently not all academics end up running around chasing after obscure occult-ish mysteries in Dan Brown/Elizabeth Kostova/Umberto Eco fashion, eh? Who would've thought it? =)

10:07 pm  
Blogger Dazed & Confused said...

had no idea you were on month of nights.

who is this pus sucking whore?

we must meet to point and taunt... for all the good it will do.

keep the faith

1:34 am  
Blogger The Venial Sinner said...

Kate - I was thinking more along the lines of the professor in Buffy myself.

D&C - Yes, the month of nights is here. And, in the words of a great philosopher, 'I gets no sleep'. In fact, 'I used to worry. Thought i was going mad in hurry. Getting stressed - making excess mess in darkness...'

8:45 am  
Blogger Dazed & Confused said...

i thought neuro nights were as quiet as the neuro weekender (that'll be headlining fabric next month - the "neuro weekender").

i bumped into two of your SHO colleagues at various points in the week. god they're bizarre. one told me how fabulous he was and the other was wearing a three piece suit. didn't find it that funny when i asked if he'd been in court in front of my team. strode off in a huff. we had a good laugh though.

oh for more hospital japes. can't wait to get back next week. *sound of bullet ripping through my skull*

12:50 pm  
Blogger The Venial Sinner said...

Nah, nights you crosscover with neurosurgery so its busy. At any given moment, there's always somebody somewhere dropping their GCS or going into DI.

I know the two you mean, by the way.

4:04 pm  
Anonymous MzD said...

Venial Sinner.....awww i missed u!
I have to admit that I am a great fam of SCRUBS....just coz it's so silly.
A month of nights suxxxxxxxxx for u. and hahahahahahhaha serves u right for choosing to study for 10 years to do this crappy job in the first place...!!!! hahahahhaha

i just love doing this same thing to my own friends who are in your prefession....gets them all worked up...hahhahaha

5:05 pm  
Blogger Kate said...

Never would have thought of Buffy and Giles. Nicely done, VS. Although I think, technically, he's a librarian... mind you, many librarians these days also have fancy Masters degrees in Library Sciences and the like...

9:36 pm  
Blogger Mimic Octopus said...

Hey there -- I wish I could take credit for the homosexual video, but it's not mine -- I found it on You can go there and embed the link to the video.. just search for "boys beware" or something.

5:14 pm  
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7:48 am  

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