This platform has, besides allowing me to purge in a healthy way, helped me to connect with other amazing writers/bloggers/authors. My wish is to share other amazing writers as ‘guest writers’ if you will. The world is full of medics who love to write, share, connect and ultimately put forth the idea, that none of us are alone.
Truth be told, time is not my friend. I can give as far as calling it a fierce enemy. The little bouts of time that I do have, I’m so grateful to be able to connect with people I met this young, eternal optimistic chap during his internship year. I had no idea he had a flair for words until I read one of his pieces and I must say, i was blown away.
This is what he has to say,
A shout of hello (or something very similar in the guise of a cry) is often what wakes us up in the mornings – ever since the arrival of our rapidly growing bundle of joy.
Then after a frenzy of feeding, burping, laughing, vomiting and changing, we are usually prepared to tackle the day ahead. I say usually here, because some days don’t simply need to just be tackled, but instead gently caressed into submission…many, many tears, swear words and (for one little one) smiles later. And before we know it, it is time to leave for work.
Goodbyes in the morning are always tough. I mean, who wouldn’t want to stay at home with their family everyday? But there are days when I am on call, and leaving for work on those mornings is a bit harder. “Bye bye babes, I love you. Cheers little dude, I’ll see you tomorrow!” And so the countdown begins. T-minus 26 (or more) hours to go.
Happily though, there is never a shortage of smiling faces to greet at work. The nurses are happy, especially when leaving their shift; the security always have a joke and there is the banter between the cleaners. Walking in, you feel ready for whatever is coming your way. Ah blissful ignorance. A few friendly “Morning morning” or “hello” or “whatsup man” and already my mood picks up. And if I can crack a classic dad joke this early on in the day, then oh so much sweeter is the morning. That is until our HOD, Dr P, comes to the morning meeting.
“Morning everyone.” Monotonous. What will he talk at us about this morning I wonder….
And so the day goes on. Greeting our patients, sharing and soaking up the jubilation as we tell them that they are discharged – healthy and happy. “Cheers boy, good luck ma’am. We will see you soon, but please not too soon!”
We crack on with ward work until all the jobs are completed and we can all go home. Well, most of us anyway. The select few, the A-team if you will, are fortunate enough to stay behind for another 16 hours of work. Jackpot! But the blissfulness of being on call is a story for for another day. As for now, the evening trawls onwards and melts into night time. The day staff bids us farewell and good luck, and we in turn tip our hats to the oncoming nurses.
Admittedly, a paediatric call can be incredibly enriching…
My cell phone rings. It must be about 3.30 a.m. I had just managed to try and have a “power half hour” nap. The night had been non-stop since 4 p.m the day before. I was lucky to squeeze about 11 minutes and 39 seconds to scoff some food down earlier. Back to the phone call – it sends a peculiar tingle down my spine, launching a wave of adrenaline; you never know what is waiting in the other end of the line. I was being called to the operating theatre for an emergency caesarean section for foetal distress*.
Automatically scenarios run through my head, about what could be wrong, what might I need to do? Will the baby survive….
Some are stronger than others. Some make it. This baby girl was a fighter. Covered in her own poo, she came out kicking and screaming. Clearly ready for her debut. No bag-mask ventilation needed, no CPR, no adrenaline. Not like my previous call…
“Hello baby girl! Happy birthday! You are going to be a singer…will you ever be quiet for your poor mom again?” The strong, determined cries told me “Nope!”. I tell the mom baby is perfect and healthy and happy, and it was a good thing she has such a pretty mom to look like. They were both going to be fine. Its an amazing feeling. Helping to ensure a well baby, just to be able to see and hold these miraculous little blobs day to day. Brilliant!
So that was a win. Not that I did much in this specific case, but I’ll take it!
Some are stronger than others.
“The baby isn’t breathing doc”. Pulse is dropping, we try neopuff** to get more oxygen in. Bloods are taken. Decisions made. Intubation attempted. And re-attempted. Baby is stable for a few bated breaths. O2 Sats plummet. Blood coming from the mouth. Suction. Desperation. Full-blown resuscitation… failure. We tried everything. Good bye little one…. Not much more than 1000g. Tiny. Fragile. A fighter.
It seemed like mee minutes had passed but we tried for 25 minutes to try get some life back.
These goodbyes are by a huge margin the most difficult. Even when you know there was nothing more to be done. It hits you. And it hits you hard. But you pay your respects. Have a moment to gather yourself. And go on again. There isn’t another option. No one else to carry on with the work or rush off to the next emergency.
“Hello mom, how are you? How can we help you and your baby this morning?”
The nights end eventually and 6:30 a.m is here. Awesome!! A few more hours and I will be home! I can focus on the positives for now.
Misch sends a video of little Sam. This is his favourite time of the day. Always wide awake, shouting to the rest of the world about his dreams and obvious successful conquests through the night! And the smiles! Gummy and wrinkly like an old man, but fortunately ever so slightly cuter!
This video was amazing though. “Say hello to daddy…” “eyyooooooo”. 3 months old – obviously not a real word. But again – I’ll take it!! He is so responsive and happy. Hey little dude! The best thing about coming home from work is that he is THRILLED with himself and his stories for me; forgetting about all the poo-namis (like a tsunami but not…) and crying from earlier. Some might say not fair. I’ll take it!
And so it’s time to end eventually. Until tomorrow. Cheers. Goodbye. Time to process (your brain never switches off – did I prescribe that medicine? Was it the right dose? Did I follow up on this? Was that the right decision to make?)
I walk out with a smile, two more black bags than I came in with and such hunger I could eat, well, anything…I’m hungry! Ciao.
*foetal distress – the baby inside is essentially struggling with an external pressure. Sometimes if is the result of labor, other times the umbilical cord around the neck, sometimes there is not an obvious cause.
**neopuff – a machine that we use to deliver more air and oxygen to a baby by manipulating the pressure at which the air is give. Basically just a fancy mask that helps blow air into a baby’s lungs