Job satisfaction

This evening I spent the last 4 hours of my shift working very hard to fix one patient.

She came in following a fall with angina (heart pain). We found she had a low haemoglobin (bad), an acutely high creatinine (bad – means kidney failure), a very high blood potasium level (bad – can cause heart arrhythmias) and a metabolic acidosis (quite bad – means blood pH has become acidic which stuffs up all the chemical reactions that rely on a steady pH balance).

I spent the 4 hours doing all manner of things, in order to slowly move her from our initial assessment of “Oh crap, this lady might be going to die” to “Well, she looks better, and feels better, and her blood test results have improved. She might be able to go home after a few days in hospital”.
And she was a kindly and deserving old lady (not that most patients aren’t deserving, just some you can’t help feel are more deserving than others), which makes the suspicion that you may have earned her a few more months or years to spend with her family and friends all that more satisfying.

I found myself quietly grinning all the way home. This is what I love about my job.

(In fact I ended up seeing an uncharacteristicly small number of patients this shift, but they were all more-than-averagely-deserving individuals with interesting and non-straight forward problems, so the whole day was pretty satisfying – I even got to give a kid a piggy back ride up to the kids ward).

It followed me home, can I keep it?

The above is a perenial favorite quote in the ramsay family, which was apparently uttered by my father as a child, after he had managed to coax and bribe one of the local stray cats to follow home back to his house one day.

He of course denies this is how it happened (but we don’t believe him for an instant).

Anyway. The point of this post is..

Today I got up and opened the door onto the patio (if you can call it that) to let Jack have a run around outside, which he duly did. About half an hour later I went into the kitchen to make myself a cuppa, and while I was there I heard this strange snuffling sound coming from behind me in the lounge, and turned around in time to be startled by a little black-with-grey-speckling puppy trotting into the kitchen.

He was little. He was friendly. He was boisterous. He was sooooo cute!!!

I wanted to keep him.

Instead however I lead him out to the front of the house and he trotted off down the street (I can only assume either to continue his adventuring, or to return home and tell his family about me).

He was very cute however. I could easily have been convinced to keep him if out situation was different. Jack wouldn’t mind. He’d be sure to let that dog know who’e boss. 🙂

Quite clearly insane

Last week while I was doing nights we had a few mornings where everything got under control at about 5am, leaving us with a few hours to tidy up loose ends and get ready for the 7am rush (“I’ve just woken up and my hurts”).

On one of those mornings I wandered out into the ambulance parking and out to the road. The Cairns Hospital looks out across the bay, and so it was rather a pretty moment, with the sun rising, the cool wind blowing gently, and the birds singing from the many trees nearby.

With all the natural beauty it took me a while to recognise the insanity also present in the scene: Dozens of people were up and taking brisk morning walks alone the shore front.

Now I was up at 6am because I was rostered and paid to be. They were up and active voluntarily.

Quite clearly they were insane. Pity there were no beds available in our mental health unit…

Jack the Xenophobe

The house we are currently renting has been put on the market to be sold, and so we are in the ever so fun situation of having the land agent bring people through to see the house every two or three days, and Jack doesn’t like it one bit.

Having just lived with Simone and I, Jack is something of a ‘fraidy-cat when it comes to other people. If it’s friends of ours coming over for dinner he’s usually happy to watch them for a little while and then sidle over for some belly scratches and head pats, but when people just come into his home and stomp around and ignore him he’s not pleased at all.

In fact I’ve been told that he tends to tear into the spare bedroom and hide under the bed, or under the duvet on the bed, only to emerge after the strangers are gone and everything is quiet again.

Goodness knows how he’ll cope if we ever have kids…

Sparkies with secretaries

For years it has been apparent that if money was the driving ambition in our careers we should have avoided poorly paying careers such as law or medicine, and instead trained as electricians, plumbers, builders or air conditioner installation people.

I was however amused the other day when we had to get an electrician out to look at our broken stove top, and at the end he said that he’s have his secretary call and sort out a time to come and replace it.

I suppose that it’s not exactly unexpected if you actually think about it, but until you do it seems a little instinctively incongruous that your friendly local tradesman in his dirty jeans and ute also has an office somewhere with it’s own secretary.

The proud, the few…

Following the Black Caps’ victory over the south africans the other day I decided to display a bit of patriotism and wear my Beige Brigade shirt to work.

Now since I’m working nights the change in dress formality level was hardly noticed, although one patient did see the emblem and joke that perhaps he sould be asking for another doctor, one who supported the right team…

Violent green flashback

When I was summering in Canberra one of the refreshment options at the hall of residence we were in was this lurid green cordial. We referred to it as “violent green”, as in, “would you like a glass of green?”, or “violent green anyone?”.

Since starting my ED term I have discovered that the hospital also stocks violent green, and I have found that every time I have a glass of it I have the most vivid olfactorily mediated flashbacks to the fun and games that was my superb summers in Canberra.

Who would have thought something so simple (and bad for you) could have such powerful effects.