Friday, January 30, 2004

Aaaah, nothing like a day off to make me happy. :) Didn't do very much with it though -- spent a few hours in town supposedly hunting for something to wear to a friend's upcoming wedding ( yes, another one! ) but left empty-handed. Everything's all about spaghetti straps now, which isn't up my alley. Looks like it's going to be the cheong-sam I bought a while back. Oops, shouldn't have spilled the beans. :P

The last night shift I did gave me a headache, not because it was busy, but because for some funny reason ( well, I know exactly why but I'm not at liberty to say ;) ) I got only 30 min of shut-eye. Not sleep, mind you. Just shut-eye, as in lying on the bed and shutting my eyes, but being kept awake by the stupid air-conditioner which desperately needs servicing, hello! Excitement-wise, I attended to a collapse case brought in in the wee hours of the morning -- a lady in her 80s who was found 50 feet from a burning factory ( yep, the one in the news ). She didn't have any burns on her, however. Just a few superficial cuts here and there. My chief, who was on call as well, said it had "all the elements of a mystery". I couldn't agree more. :D

Post-call, I managed to sleep of course, but hauled myself across the island after dinner to visit my 15-year-old cousin who'd been admitted to NUH for intestinal obstruction secondary to an internal hernia. I had no inkling of his illness until my uncle called us on Wednesday to say he'd been operated on. Aargh! What's the use of having a doctor in the family if you don't call him/her for advice?! Seems the poor boy had been vomiting non-stop since last weekend, but his parents happily dragged him to Kuala Lumpur for a holiday, only to cut it short when he deteriorated. He was so dehydrated his eyes were sunken, and he looked like a skeleton. He was also vomiting bilious contents ( ie. everything he puked was green in colour, an indication of obstruction ). Even more shocking is the fact that after he was admitted, the ward team sat on him for 2 days, even bringing medical students round to examine him. I'm not saying students shouldn't be allowed to learn, but not paying attention to repeated bilious vomiting resulting in severe dehydration is a little distressing. If I'd seen him, the first thing I would've done is an abdominal X-ray. And considering the fact that I've worked in CGH General Surgery and Internal Medicine before, they probably would've organized a CT scan stat.

Suffice to say, some imaging was done eventually, and my aunt and uncle informed that the degree of obstruction was so severe that my cousin required an emergency laparotomy that very day. He came this close to a perforation, which would've resulted in catastrophic peritonitis. From what I can gather based on history alone ( I didn't look into his case-notes ), he was admitted to the Paediatric Medicine department, then subsequently referred to the surgeon. I don't know how they do things over there, but I'm a little unnerved by this.

Anyway, I'm on night -- again! Should be okay, 'cos the Chingay preview is on at the moment, and this is also the Hari Raya weekend, which means people are out celebrating and preparing for the Malay New Year. Of course, I fully expect a deluge of drunkards and assault cases once we hit the midnight hour. There's just something so appealing about our ER in the middle of the night. It's as if the hospital switches on a giant neon sign at 12 am on the dot proclaiming "Come To Our A&E! Don't Go Home Like Other Normal People! Come and Torment Our Poor Doctors!" I'm not saying the hospital is sabotaging us in any way. It's just one of the possibilities swirling around in my head right now, which reflects the state of my psyche -- ie. irritated. Oh no, has the effect of my off-day worn off already? :))

On the lighter side of things, I enjoyed watching the latest episodes of "American Idol 3" this week. Though not as entertaining as the pilot, they still offered hilarious examples of the good, the bad and the ugly. One trend I noticed is how this year's auditions were full of people who love to argue. Telling them they're terrible only made them launch into song again ! And a lot of them are extremely full of themselves, saying how the judges can't recognize talent when they see it, that they "know" they're good, and on and on and on. One young guy even threw Simon's drink at him, which I thought was awful. I take back what I said about Singaporeans being super-nasty. I don't think we can match the Americans! :D

The bad ones didn't make that much of an impression on me this time, except for William Hung, a buck-toothed Hong Konger with way too much Brylcreem in his hair and a really thick accent. A smart guy ( he studies at Berkeley ), he somehow thought he could be the next Idol, and showed up to sing "She Bangs" by Ricky Martin. Now bear in mind that all those appearing before the judges had to go through a preliminary round first. Word has it the screening panel picked the best and the worst to proceed, leaving the mediocre ones out in the cold. This supposedly makes things more interesting -- and they're right! Hung cracked me up, and obviously cracked Randy Jackson up too -- the poor guy covered his face with a piece of paper the whole time, but you could tell he was convulsing with laughter. :D Of course, Hung didn't get to go to Hollywood, but I have to say he didn't sound all bad either. He wasn't off-key, but hearing "She Bangs" with a Hong Kong twang is really memorable, haha! Kudos to him for taking criticism well ( Simon was very forgiving though, so that's nice ), but most importantly, for his upbeat attitude and giving his best in the audition.

The good ones I picked out this time consist of 2 guys: the Indo-Chinese fellow ( I think he sang "Lately" ), and the big guy with a beard ( he's a football player but has a great voice -- he even did opera when he emerged from the audition room, wow! ). Next week, the hopefuls go to LA where the competition heats up. I can't wait. :)

And don't forget "Survivor All-Stars" screening on Channel 5 this coming Monday! I've got 4 words for you: Rob Cesternino must win.

Before I forget, if anyone reading this lives in Singapore and suspects he/she may have the bird flu, PLEASE go straight to Tan Tock Seng instead of other hospitals, because no matter where you're seen, you WILL be transferred there for further treatment. Criteria include:

(1) recent travel to affected countries, such as Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, Laos, Korea and the southern part of China
(2) contact with live poultry
(3) fever or flu symptoms

Okay, this has been rather long, so I'd better stop here. Thanks for reading! More another day -- or later, if I feel like it. :)

In the meantime, ponder this: How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? :P

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