Leak and Seal

My thoughts resonated with the words by my physician today.

Of how in the medical line, it is very important to not take things too personal. In short, we should have no hard feelings towards another individual.

I gathered that there will be times when we kena marah for our shortcomings or for no reason at all. If we allow the negative thoughts to linger on to ourselves for too long – we would feel burdened. We’d feel hatred. Dendam, maybe? So if say, a colleague or supporting staff is not performing to our expectations. Or patients refusing to take their meds and yet have to nerve to defend bogus alternative therapy. Inevitably, although one has all the intentions to shove death statistics and what not to the person in mind, I tend to now take a step back, inhale, jaga emosi and say all the nice things I could think of. And put on rewind in my head, “maybe she had a bad day” “she’s just being difficult today. she will be fine tomorrow” and let the matter slide today so we could achieve more the day after.

Furthermore, if we were to take an eye for an eye – wouldn’t the whole world would go blind? sikit2 nak balas balik. nak bambu balik. 

Like it or not, I have learnt to lower my ego and work with people in a personalized manner. It is not perfect but it’s a lifetime learning process. My expectations remain the same lah tapi– thou shalt not compromise with quality.

So for instance if I want a patients blood pressure to be monitored on regular intervals, after documenting it on the patients card – I may need to approach my assistants to further explain and reinforce my plan. This is because some may not take the time to read on the card and just go about their ‘usual’ way of doing things. Sebab dah biasa <– a very dangerous idea to harbour in ones mind for life.

Afterwards, I may or may not need to put on the chart the scheduled times for these blood pressure to be taken. I don’t like having to do you know tulis time satu2 of when you should measure these vital signs when some individuals on the other hand could easily understand what every 30 mins mean. But I have to and despite after reprimanding these people, I still need to be on the same page with them the next day. Or the next hour.

Because if you keep hoarding these hard feelings within yourself – it will be an obstacle to effective team work. And when people cannot work together, patients suffer. So sometimes I feel like a leaking aneurysm. I ‘leak and seal’. Leak and seal. Multiple times. Selagi I can keep my shit together, it should be ok.


A poll to call..

The dreaded last call of the month is over and I couldn’t be happier although the cycle will probably start again in 1 week time. Recently there have been proposals to add on another form of oncall on the roster. Initially I was one of those who strongly agreed to it but now have changed my mind. Because that would mean another extra 4  – 5 calls.

Which translates into my son whining of how his mom comes back home late at night or the next day as opposed to his aunt who is home at night everyday. Which also means solo drive to work in mid morning upon being summoned to come to work. Only to of course continue the normal work shift the next day. While Mr Husband could still cope with his studies and my reckless inevitable routine – I feel bad because I’m supposed to be that stability, that fixed variable in his life so he would not have to worry about minding Ee nor of this wife commuting 27km to and fro to work everyday.

In response to the said proposal, a poll was created. The results came out as a tie. Which was not helpful. The demand of the service however is not something one could easily sweep under the rug. Because in the end the ones who benefit are ourselves and of course, the patients. Either way I have to be prepared to make unpopular decisions. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do.. but coming from a workaholic who has to consciously make an effort to make my family my first priority – any decision is a huge step to making them matter. And a sacrifice on my part.

You are not a tree, MOVE!

Anugerah Perkhidmatan Cemerlang

I received this some time in April 2016. It was a form of recognition by KKM for a good job well done sorta thing. A ceremony was held to celebrate the recipients. My face was even randomly in the papers the next day but not many people knew that of course. Ha ha. I was thrilled but apprehensive at the same time.

I had thought that when you receive an APC – it’s supposed to mean that your boss recommended your name for it and that such recognition is awarded because well… you did a good job. is it not? But ironically the congratulatory wishes I seem to get are not as sincere and accomplished as I’d thought it be,

I have people wishing me,

” congratulations – its about time. You’re already a senior MO after all ”   ok? is that a good or bad thing?

” congratulations – you’ve got one so quick. I haven’t received one despite being in the service for more than 10 years ” ermmm.. maybe you’re not working well enough

” congratulations – kalo duduk district memang senang dapat ” i felt bad when people say this because I totally understand that those more deserving should get this but are in a tertiary centre where it can be overlooked.

” congratulations – kena kerja lagi kuatlah lepas ni. baru berkat dapat ”  excuse me? I give my best all the time.

I was honestly confused but I thanked them graciously anyway. Is APC a senior thing after all and not because its deserved? Gosh.. this is not making me happy at all. Am I in the same boat of those people yang ‘kerja kau tkdela bagus sangat  -tapi sbb ko dah lama kat sini.. ‘ sorta person? Kinda sad innit to perceive an APC as a measure of how long you’ve been in a place. Because I honestly thought I’m receiving it because I was assessed as an officer who is honest and diligent in my work.

Thankfully, a handful conveyed their congratulations in acknowledgement of my contributions, compassion and effort. That shows their understanding of who I am at work. At least I hope the person who nominated me thinks likewise of myself.


to go or not to go

A : Are you going?

B : I don’t know – are you?

A : Don’t you want to go?

B : Do I have to go?

A : Jomlah… takde geng..

That kind of persuaded me to rethink my initial option of ‘buat bodo malas nak layan majlis protokol bagai macam tak nak pegi’. Although I’m a loner  – the type who can go to the movies alone and enjoy a wholesome dinner after that – I don’t subject other people to that.

The last time I attended a formal majlis was last year.Not as a guest but as a personnel in the medical team :P.

I have quite forgotten the fun and joy it might bring. Gosh.. I feel old already.. lets just hope theres no poco poco beramai-ramai. ngeee…

I think I dislike attending these events because one, of its formality and second that fake smile you have to plaster on your face to get through the hours – not to mention the numerous photo taking session – like omg.. can you stop already?! But this event I’m going is supposed to be of one that honors myself – to appreciate my efforts and stuff.

I suppose I should attend it for the love of Allah – for the pride of my husband and son. So they know that my times in this district hospital is not a waste, that I am making a difference to at least one life I tend to. That those nights or weekends I’m not home are worth every second. That they’ll understand that I still love what I do. It’s like how an MO in one of Dr. Johan Siows stories put it,

“Johan, I may never get to be a specialist, but even as a service MO, if I can give the BEST CARE to my patients, then I’m already satisfied with my life.”

Nice demeanor

A colleague of a specialized discipline from a different hospital passed a comment to me today. He said,

” wow.. you guys are pretty ‘relaxed’ for someone who is part of the anaesthetic team “

When he said you guys – it was referring to me and my one and only working partner in the field – and when he said we were relaxed.. I kinda knew what he meant. That means in face of obstacles and unpopular circumstances in the operation theatre – my partner and I rarely exhibit aggressive behaviors like screaming or rolling our eyes at the surgical team and stuff. Or cancel a scheduled elective list like it can be done tomorrow sorta thing without a two way and mutual discussion.

My determination to maintain a cool hat and ‘being nice’ to other people stemmed from when I was a houseman in Kuching. One particular oncall night stood out. I was in my 5th posting as a surgical houseman (HO) and I was posted to the neurosurgical ward. I was oncall with a very motivated and nice Neurosurgical Medical Officer (MO). At the same time, coincidentally – most of the other Medical Officers of various discipline that night including the Anaesthesia Team had genes of a Saint. Everyone was so damn nice, polite and kind to each other which was evident during referrals. Even to this little non significant HO!!!! As a HO I felt confident, safe and urge to do more for my patients. I wanted to please these kind MOs working with me that night. Anaes required at least 2 large bore branula, I gave them 3. You want me to trace the result STAT .. I will bug the lab technician to run it fast. My MO even sat with me at the pantry while we have our quick 5 min meal and asked if I had prayed – he did not have to cause he is not muslim but he did! Although most of our patients that night were critical and semi-dying – none died and hung on to the dear life until the coming morning. I couldn’t help leaving work the next day at 7PM thinking how nice the world of medicine would be for the patients if everyone can work well with each other and stress more on them rather than thinking, “ayo.. that lioness is oncall ah.. susahlah nak refer” or ” aiyo.. she likes to marah people one.. you lah refer” and the game of ping-pong begins in ED.

When I became an MO myself in the Anaesthesia department – I find that by being accommodating – people can cooperate and work better with you. As an anaes MO at the time especially when working in ICU, I’d be receiving referrals to intubate a difficult patient or asking for a ventilator or to review a potential ICU patient in the emergency unit or wards. When we are ‘friends’ with those from other disciplines, it is easier to discuss options and demands. It is easier to refer earlier for the health and safety of the patient. It is easier for these friends to understand why the operations needs a certain amount of blood products or why ICU cannot accept a patient. There’d be less bickering and pointing fingers. Plus, naturally we would want to do more for our ‘friends’ kan. And we want our friends to have an equally good call.

On top of that, if we exhibit concern and educate our supporting staff accordingly, it is easier to get a message across.To share and idea or sentiment. Thus reinforces on patient care. If the environment is conducive and pleasing, we will then be able to see how various people of different levels respond – the lazy ones left behind but the opportunist would learn more and better themselves. I will hear more of my porters being able to report to me saying ‘hey doc.. this patients white cells are high’ instead of just collecting the results and staple them. I am always happy when my nurses are able to point out a patients potassium level is deranged when the results reach them first and not just file them for us to review later. I am more delighted when my medical assistants with many years of experience are able to guide me through a difficult process – medicolegal aspects of things and such.

I hope to keep this ‘menyenangkan demeanor‘ around for long time. I’m no angel. I have lost my temper before – I have raised my voice before towards staff, patients and relatives but towards late.. the incidence have decreased tremendously. Perhaps I’m getting old.

A toast to a nice demeanor. cheers.