Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Looks like the recent identification of a handful of SARS cases in China has resulted in a surge of interest in the disease. Quite a few visitors have dropped by via links to other SARS-related websites, so once again, if you're looking for entries pertaining to SARS on this blog, please click on the archives to the right of the screen, under the months of March, April and May 2003. Thanks for reading. :)

Night shift on a Wednesday. Crossing my fingers it'll be a quiet one. Our head of department is on with us -- he always helps see patients whether we're swamped or not -- so we have backup! :D

So I got an interesting email today. Seems the eastern cluster will be allocating night duty allowances to ER doctors ( MOs included, yes! ) for shifts done on weekends and public holidays. Called a Shift Duty Allowance, it will be $150 for MOs and $155 for registrars. The $5 difference is across the board, ie. it happens in all other medical and surgical departments, but this makes a huge difference to those of us suffering manpower shortage and burnt weekends right now ( e.g. myself! ). The scheme starts in March, and will result in a significant pay rise, which definitely eases some of the pain. :P Hey, I currently have no off or standby days on weekends and public holidays, which is awful, so being "reimbursed" in any way is an improvement.

It's official: I'm gonna join the focus group for a discussion with Singhealth administrators at a later date. Where're your emails?!? Send them to me quick! You want to be heard, don't you? ;)

Saw something really exciting in the papers today -- the next Survivor season will feature players from the previous series, starting from the original on Pulau Tiga, to the latest on Pearl Islands. Winners like Richard Hatch and Tina Wesson will make a comeback, together with memorable participants such as Jerri Mahey ( aka "the bitchy one" ), Rupert ( aka Peter Jackson's twin, haha! ), and Rob Cesternino ( my all-time fav Survivor ). No prizes for guessing who I'm rooting for. But this season will no doubt be the toughest by far, 'cos everyone knows everyone else's tricks, and they're all veterans. Is the trophy still going to be a measly $1 million? I think they should at least double it! In any case, this is one season I am NOT going to miss no matter what!

Just saw a really creepy patient. Well, actually, the patient's relative was creepy. He kept insisting on an X-ray for, get this, an ear infection. I told him multiple times that an X-ray isn't going to make any difference, 'cos (1) it can't show ear anatomy, and (2) it won't change management. No, no, he went, we WANT the X-ray even if it isn't useful. What for? I asked him. We just want it done, he replied. I just told him I wasn't going to do it, typed up the prescription and referral letter, and asked them to go to the counter to get the appointment and medication. The guy -- who looks stoned, by the way -- then refused to leave. ( His "relative" was perfectly okay, and went off to the counter as instructed, but this guy JUST STOOD THERE REPEATING "WE WANT AN XRAY" OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN. ) I started to feel a bit threatened, so I promptly got up and walked out ( well, I had to visit the restroom anyway :P ). He later made some noise about it, and I can hear my department chief talking to him right now. At least he isn't screaming obscenities, like some people I've met in the past.

[ Going into resus now. Will post again soon. ]

I'm back. Haha, just spoke to my chief. He said the same thing about not having to do an X-ray. Said the guy hounding him was a little strange too. Seems he preferred my chief's explanation, despite it being IDENTICAL TO MINE. Some people say I look like a college student. Think that had anything to do with this? It doesn't pay to look young. :P

The news has been reporting about the Vietnam bird flu situation. I heard something on the BBC about the Hong Kong bird flu actually. Anyhow, cases in Singapore, should they arise *touch wood*, are to be sent to TTSH as per SARS protocol. Let's pray we stay out of this epidemic, or my parents will get insomnia again.

So did you watch "Monk" last night? It was absolutely hilarious, as usual. :D Following that was "Se7en", which reminded me what a genius Andrew Kevin Walker is ( he's the guy who penned the script ). Then there was Kevin Spacey, who gave a chilling performance as the killer. I'd forgotten what an excellent film this is, till I watched it again yesterday. Fantastic. :)

There're trailers on Channel 5 these days, advertising the screening of "A Perfect Murder" this Sunday at 10pm. Besides having Oscar winners Michael Douglas and Gwyneth Paltrow, it also features Viggo Mortensen as the con-man having an affair with Gwyneth's character. If you're a Viggo fan, make sure you tune in. He's gorgeous in this movie. :D

All's quiet in the resus area. Looks like I've got free time on my hands, although one of the other MOs on call told me he has "very bad luck" during night shifts. Hopefully, that won't be the case today.

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