Wednesday, June 22, 2005

I Give Up

It appears that Singaporeans, no matter how well-educated they seem to be, no matter how excellent their English is ( sometimes deliberately switching to it when I mistakenly start rattling off in Mandarin ) - are just... plain... weird.

Yesterday was a good example. I spent quite some time explaining in great detail my management plan for 2 patients - one whom we later transferred to another hospital, and a second who was critically ill with a complicated array of conditions, all of which were wreaking havoc with each other.

I don't think I'm a poor communicator - 6 years of practice should've ironed out the wrinkles by now.

Neither do I think I said anything susceptible to misinterpretation - it's too early for my memory to start failing.

Most importantly, however, the relatives I spoke to repeated ( I repeat - REPEATED ) a few of the things I told them, for example: "No guarantee of admission even after transfer, yes yes yes", and "Not for ICU or high dependency, okay okay".

So why is it I was told by my staff nurses that these "understanding" relatives later turned around and claimed they "were not told that the patient wouldn't be admitted", and worse, that "the doctor told me my mother was going to ICU"?

Someone please shoot me now.

A senior MO and I had a nice venting session during lunch, whereby I related this problem to him and he recounted a few stories of his own. His insightful observation: Singaporeans have Third World mentalities but demand First World service.

This comment may offend some people, I'm sure. But if you've seen as much as we have, you'll know we're telling the truth.

A Silver - Wait, Make That Gold - Lining

Shifts have been hell since March. Now they're getting from bad to worse - and what, pray tell, is worse than hell? Let me know so I can put it in.

We're going to FAIL. You know what I mean.

If we pass, it'll be a miracle of unprecedented proportions.

However, there is a way out - coming to our department at, say, 8-9am in the morning. Perfect conditions right there. Great photo op. The foreign visitors will be thrilled.

I won't be around though, so I won't have to clench my teeth and pretend everything's fine. Note to self: take leave during the next exercise, whenever that may be.

Oh yes, the gold lining.

:) :) :)

After 6 long weeks of waiting, I've confirmed a later flight back, and will be attending Peter Cincotti's concert in Rome after all. *YES!!!*

What's most amazing, though, is that someone put me in touch with Peter's manager, and she's generously offered me backstage passes to meet Peter after the show. *WOOHOO!!!*

My mom called with the news in the midst of my horrible shift yesterday. The ER was jammed up, everyone was cranky, and I was starting to lose steam. A patient's daughter stopped me as I passed her and asked a question, then the phone rang. It took every ounce of self-restraint to keep me from ripping my mask off and hopping out into the corridor pumping my fists in the air for a few seconds ( it would've been extremely therapeutic, trust me ). Instead, I had to keep my voice level, repeating the words, "Yeah", "Uh huh" and "I see" over and over again.

"You're with a patient, right?" my mom guessed.
"Oh yeah," I replied.
"Okay, just thought I'd call to let you know. I'll leave you to your work now." *click*

I finished my conversation with the lady, then proceeded to do a venepuncture for an old fellow with a possible stroke. Good thing my mask was on, 'cos I was grinning from ear to ear like a fool. I just couldn't help it. :)

Only 1 more week to go, then it's R&R in Paradise for 20 days, topped off with an up-close chat with one of my favourite jazz musicians, whom I'm going to pepper with questions about my favourite actor, Kevin Spacey.

Following that, plans for another trip to New York City with my fellow registrar and good friend in October, to join a course, take in the sights, savour the music / food / wine, meet a few friends, and visit the Bellevue Hospital for a possible HMDP in a few years' time.

It's turning out to be one heck of a 30th birthday. :D

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