Thursday, April 23, 2009

Girl @ Work

This article marks the rare appearance of pictures of me from work and something featuring my little car...

What’s a good day for me on a working day?

  1. Assisting at least one interesting case
  2. Having my meals at regular hours (preferably a good meal too)
  3. Successful operations done by yours truly

So, on any account, I would say that I had a very good week so far. Firstly, I settled a lot of errands as home including letting my car has its treatment and health check-up at a friendly neighbourhood ‘car-spa’. I knew the uncle since young and was very happy when I didn’t have to go to the ‘official’ Perodua showroom with inflated prices.

Secondly, I was involved in the colorectal workshop, which is an annual event at RPB whereby a senior consultant surgeon from NUS in the land down south, will do a series of cases and endoscopic ultrasound of the anus and rectum.
The most fun time for me was when I got to assist something I have never seen before, which is a rectovaginal fistula repair using a labia majora flap. Oops, let me rephrase that in English…we repaired an abnormal track between the rectum and vagina by tying off the track and inserting a flap (some other living tissue from nearby that area) so that it will not occur again.

Sounds easy, but looked complicated enough for me. Of course I was very happy at the end of the day! Ah, I love my job :-) Helping people pass motion is part of a good day huh?

Thirdly, I had my meals at regular hours so far. Yay! No more gastritis pain and hunger pangs. Now that the hospital has only 3 working lifts, my work involves a lot of climbing up and running down at least 6 floors a few times a day…so good food is mandatory for survival. Somehow, echoes of the Queen E Hospital in KK kept on running in my mind as I walk past the broken down lifts. Shudders….

Today I saw a patient with bowel cancer in whom we cannot do a curative operation because of a severe aorta problem that IJN also couldn’t operate on. As she has two time bombs in her body, I had a very difficult task of explaining to the old lady on how there are limits to medical science and I admitted that we couldn’t do the curative as any one of the operation will risk her life and cause immediate death on table.

I was very apologetic and sad as I counseled her on ‘palliative’ care. As I go on, I realize that a good surgeon knows when to cut but it takes a courageous, good surgeon to know when NOT to cut. The decision to spare the patient from the risk of almost immediate death if we attempt operation was made by my seniors but as I was counseling the patient, I felt that I was learning very important life skills too.

So at the end of the day, the silver lining is that the patient accepted my explanation graciously and agreed for our future efforts in easing her suffering as she reach the end of the road soon. It reminded me that life and death is in God’s hands indeed….

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