“Sometimes being a doctor requires one to engage in some strange behaviour” A senior registrar once told me. I didn’t believe him until i experienced it myself.
I happened to be on call in a remote clinic during a busy Monday night. To start off I was having a terrible day. Its as if the entire KZN population had gathered secretly behind my back and plotted to visit me during my call.
The number of patients kept rolling in and I couldnt keep track of what was really happening. I was overwhelmed with emergencies and a hypoglycemic attack about to erupt on me. My hands shook as I wrote, my mind fuzzy as i talked. I managed to sieve through the patients after a good 6 hours.
The 3 patients who really kept me on my toes were tirelessly working against me. Their problems kept multiplying and my motivation dividing.
The young lady who was having a miscarriage was pouring out blood as I attempted to tamponade her uterus. The old gentleman who collapsed at home and had a seizure, was Just waking up from his post ictal daze and grabbed a whiskey flask out of his back pack and began chugging uncontrollably, forcing me to wrestle with him. The old gogo who just had a stroke was beginning to gain movement in her left side. Things looked promising atlast.
I waited with a great deal of patience for the ambulance to arrive. I was informed that the ambulance scheduled to pick the patients up had run into unforeseen circumstances (they were hijacked) and the vehicle was rendered immobile but back up was soon to be on its way.
I waited and waited. I fantasized about loading them into my yaris and driving them to the hospital myself. My eyes began to feel heavy as i sat beside their bed. I blinked and fell into an upright coma.
I was startled by the screech of tires on tar. Finally, the ambulance had come. I met them at the door, relieved to know they would be on their way.
Two paramedics stepped into the room and eyed the patients. He looked concerned. “I’ll only be able to take 2” he announced gravely as he explained the transfer rules and since two required stretchers he didnt have space for the 3rd.
I was mortified. The shortage of ambulances coupled with the waiting time could mean someone would have to stay behind and wait a while. I just couldn’t have it. I begged I pleaded but rules are rules and they have to follow it.
They prioritized and took the two most critical patients and left the 3rd , the old gogo with the recovering stroke. I still did not feel comfortable with allowing gogo to stay at a clinic level without access to a higher level of care. I was on edge. I chewed my gum with vigor.
My spirits fell as I saw the ambulance drive off without my gogo. Then it came to me, I quickly did the maths in my head with my fingers and toes and I paused. Maybe. Just maybe! …
I ran. I gasped.Then I ran again, after the ambulance as it exited the gate onto the road. I screamed like a mad lady on flakka and waved the ambulance to stop. It jolted.
The ambulance driver jumped out of the van with his assistant near behind him.
“Are You mad!”
I guess that was a rhetorical question because he never waited for a response.
” Sir i have a plan on how we can get gogo to the hospital. I will drive your assistant to the hospital and drop him off whilst gogo sits in the front seat of the ambulance, so she is being escourted in a medically equipped van if anything should happen”
They looked at each other with big stares of confusion. I took that as a big fat yes and pretty soon we wheeled gogo to the ambulance and off she went sitting shotgun, with us driving in the convoy.
We afforded each other little small talk as the ambulance lights flickered through the hospital gates. I hit the accelerator with just enough extra oomph as we neared the main entrance. I gleamed with pride as i finally got to experience dashing in, in true greys anatomy style.
As I prepared to head back, the paramedic looked at me and said “Sometimes You doctors do mad things hey, well done”
I thought fondly about how i could start driving for Uber as a side job. Before i could plan my extra mural activities, the triage sister ringed me,
“Moosa guess what, theres a 76 year old female who sustained a human bite to her neck and is bleeding profusely”
Who bites a granny? And why? No Who bites another human? No time to think. I just drove until i reached the clinic gates. I jumped out and ran..
Here we go again..