Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Between Dirty Greasy Hands and Clean White Coats Part II

Previous Episode: He finds it hard to move on when a lady med student left a deep scar on his only belief that he can be as sharp as a doctor can be, medically speaking. Sore and hurt, he halted his walk to glory, seeing that there is nothing left to prove and everything is a mess.

* * *

Moving on without getting bumped into anything related to medicine was kind of hard. It was hard not to perform physical examinations on everyone I met. It took me a few months before I could forget all about the study on medicine, but never the lines of words from that lady med student. The pain was so terrible, equivalent to that of when surgeons start to open up your gum using scalpels for root canal surgery, without a single dose of anesthetic.

So i moved on soon after that. By that time I was already in my third year in UTP, and it was the examination weeks. Wanting to have myself completely away from medicine, my faith was never that kind to let me go.

I woke up one morning only to sense that something was terribly wrong with my body. I was shivering, which meant I was having hypothermia. My heartbeat rate increased and I was experiencing slightly fluctuating headaches. Signs of a fever, probably a mild one. So i ate up a few paracetamol pills and admitted myself for bed rest until the temperature stabilizes, in which my hypothalamus failed greatly to.

Two days after, my fever was still with me, putting me in a condition where I shivered and lost my appetite. My mouth became so dried that I could barely swallow my own spit. I started to do some differentials but I did not have the critical information for one. So I went to three board certified doctors in three clinics; one suggested normal fever, one prescribed me with more paracetamol and antibiotics, and another one ruled out Dengue fever as the dengue detector device proved my blood to be negative for carrying dengue virus. I finally ended up with bottles of painkillers and antibiotics, an MC for viral fever and an empty wallet.

A week went on and I was getting worst. I still shivered at a higher rate of muscle movements. None of the medicines worked and I stopped eating completely already. It was on the 8th day that I finally decided to go to Pantai Puteri Hospital in Ipoh for the fourth opinion; the opinion that changed my life wholly. Had my friends accompanying me, we drove all the way 42km to Ipoh from UTP on a rainy night.

"Hey, that’s Pantai Puteri," said one of them.

"Lets climb up and replace the ‘I’ in the word Pantai to ‘T’ and see what happens next. Ha ha ha ha!"

(My friends in their early twenties were always very pleasing.)

Sorry brothers, but I was dying already. After having myself registered, I was called into the examination room and attended by a rather good-looking male Malay doctor. He proceeded with everything a doctor will do at the initial period; basic questions, temperature check, auscultation and blood pressure check. It was not until he read the millimeter mercury gauge when he started to make that face doctors usually make when they measure their patients temperature appear to be at 50 degree Celsius, or when they see the patient starts to turn blue completely.

He excused himself and went out the room, leaving me in total confusion, shivering like a polar bear in a nitrogen-cooled refrigerator. The headache I was having was so unbearable that I was about to perform myself a trans-orbital lobotomy using whatever I could find on his table for that I was already going psychotic until he appeared again with a pleasantly-looking nurse which I quickly assume was newly in service.

"I am afraid you cannot leave tonight sir. We need to admit you tonight. You got dengue fever."


My differentials were all right since the very beginning. Three doctors misdiagnosed, and finally the fourth one did not. I was told to sit on a wheelchair, and the nurse applied the upper side of my left hand with antiseptics and nervously inserted a needle with removable cap to plug in IV drips tubes into one of the blood vessels in my hand. She was so nervous she accidentally popped the cap open and my blood oozed out onto her properly-ironed pink and white uniform and all over the floor. She shrieked a little as i looked in complete horror, nearly crying and about to go psychotic again until she applied the cap back on thus eliminated the possibility of me bleeding to death from an IV drip pin module.

I’m sorry about the blood on your uniform, sweetheart, and my heart will always bleed for you. Now, please, bring me up to my room so that I can calm down a bit from the breaking stunt you attempted on me just now before you start on the second, whatever it might be next.

I got myself a single room for the next five days. The room was big enough for six patients. There was a large cabinet with drawers and a television in it, a window with Ipoh town view, a toilet and a shower, a set of settee and a bed of course. I had 2 attending doctors, one old Chinese specialist and one young and new Indian doctor, both male. My platelet count was less than 35,000 and my haematocrit was totally a mess.

The days were so boring that I started to move around the blocks, pulling along my IV drip bag hanger with me. I chatted with a number of nurses, doctors and even patients. At night I read my own chart and predicted changes that might happen during the next update.

At every 10pm and 6am everyday a nurse the size of a grizzly bear attended me for pills and a glass or so of hot Milo drink. She was in and out a nice, gentle lady despite her size. The Indian male doctor came at 8am and later at 6pm everyday to perform routine blood collection, and while he was at it we usually chat like usual buddies.

"So how’s your day, mate?" I asked him out of the blue.

"Like usual la. Nothing much. Boring day la cha."

"Uh huh?"

He applied my arm with some iodine and alcohol. Then he continued,

"Last time when I was in general hospital, it was always busy you know."

"Is it?"

"Ya la cha. There was one time la I attended a heart attack patient. Came in an ambulance. ’twas Hectic."

"MI? So what you did? Angio, ECG? How’s his echo like? His CK?"

"Cannot proceed la cha. He died la. Eh how you learned all these la macha?"

That was how he knew that my story. All about my attempts to study medicine despite my real study in engineering. He got interested and he usually came to my room chatting with me when he had nothing to do. On the last day, the day I was discharged he told me to proceed with my study and do not let anyone stop me.

"It’s your thing la cha. Who knows one day you will save a life too."

I took his advice and I started all over again, this time with musculoskeletal system. I started to give a lot of attention again into my long lost ambition field - Obstetric & Gynecology. No, please, do not get me wrong. I did not see O&G in a sexual way but I saw it as beautiful, mysterious and interesting. Slowly I gained back my confidence, and I never have looked back anymore.

Up till today I have encountered many who consulted me for advice. Well, if I could help, I would. So far the most interesting real case I have ever encountered was Menorraghea in a 21 years old female.

And then another dilemma; I started to develop interest towards female medical students. I started to admire. and in a way getting my way closer to these female future doctors from various medical institutes, in a hope for a relationship.

But as usual the past haunts me until today. No matter how hard i try to sweep away the feelings and the truth that I am an engineering student, I could never ever get away from it. And this prevented me so bad from getting my way into attracting any of the medical students I met physically and virtually. When I started talking to them, I have to admit that I get uneasy and nervous, worrying about their perspectives towards me. The way they look at me, picturing me in dirty coverall clouded with dirt, hydraulic oils, metal dusts and wax, holding a big spanner in my smelly leather-gloves protected hand and a crumpled bunch of blueprint plans in another. Covered in sweat under the hot sun, with my hard hat on and my goggle protecting my view from the contradicting conditions of those clean, white coats.

Because I’m just an engineer.


It4Ch1 said...

so true...

IRA said...

heyyyy mr. engineer!!i read between dirty greasy hands and clean white coats part I this morning just before i went off to the class and i thought of leaving a comment later and now when i came back, there's part II already! ur having the time of ur life in blogging is it? heheh

so btw, i'm amazed with ur interest and obsession in medicine to the extend that i am now feel ashamed of myself for letting an engineer to have more interest in medicine, at least more than i do (i guess?) well, not only that u have the interest, u actually have the motivation to move urself and dig every possible information about medicine. wow! i mean, wow. tipu la if i say i dun have any interest in medicine at all, i always have, since high school and the fact that my mom was a medical practitioner adds up to my interest in taking medicine as my future profession. but honestly, i am nothing like u in the sense that i dont make reading medical journals or seek for extra medical info as my hobby. maybe not just yet? ahahha i'm a lazy bum since forever. it's in my gene kot. and now malu gile dgn engineer yg lagi berkobar2 nak tau psl medicine. haih hehehe

and hey! i always wanna be a gynae!in fact, i wrote an essay about me being a future gynae mase interview MARA. and tell u what, i am now in O&G posting. and i just love it!! ha perhaps we can change our knowledge on this! heheh!

i guess u have every capability to become a doctor, but He has reasons for making u an engineer :) and there's no such thing as 'i'm just an engineer' because being an engineer requires as much critical thinking/intelligence as the doctor. or maybe more? but keep reading about medicine for ur self satisfaction and who knows u can save somebody's life in an emergency?

Mohamad Nazmi Zaidi said...

Muspa: kan bro kan?

1. thank you sangat sebab baca my life story.
2. takdela..i just minat2 macam tu je la medicine ni :D
3. wow ur in gynae posting? nice! but i dont really like obstetric tho xC
4. thanks're one sweet doctor! hey! be my panel doctor occey!

IRA said...

wow my comment is that long?hahhahaa eh obstetric la best leh tekan2 foetus dlm perut mak dieee! hahahaa

Mohamad Nazmi Zaidi said...

you memang gile la IRA. kalau bocor amnion pack karang?