Wednesday 1 June 2011

Bitterness is not my most attractive quality...

On days like today it takes a good 99% of my combined strength, self-control, fears of repercussion and compassion not to beat certain patients with my stick (with disability comes handy weaponry).

Most patients I see are having a really crappy time - and if they weren't before spending 3h59 on an A/E trolley being target practice for hapless med students, they certainly are after. They are frightened, confused and in pain (and if they weren't before...) and most do their best to get away asap help you find out what's wrong with them. [No, no medical problems. Diabetic, hypertensive, COPD-ish, triple bypass recipient - oh, yes, I was forgetting]

I enjoy placements. I enjoy them because of friendly colleagues, conspiratorial old ladies, dazed men who sing to me, and 30 somethings who share the skittles their kids brought them with said hapless med student.

But on days like today, it takes everything in me not to tell the guy with "11 out of 10" abdo pain that radiates everywhere, and comes with the most impressive voluntary guarding I've ever seen - who has just tackled the 8 flights of stairs back to the ward from a cig break with ease - that I am in pain every day, so I'm maybe not the person to try it on with.

I bite my tongue, of course, because just sometimes there's a massive gunky appendix, or a scarred and sorry liver lurking in that guy's abdomen. And if not that, there must be something else going on. Because who but a hapless med student would spend 3 days hanging around surgical receiving without getting paid for the privilege - unless they hurt, or they need a bed, or some company, or a fix.

Even if they can saunter up the 8 flights, while I wait 15 minutes for the 1 lift in 4 that is cooperating today.

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