Monday, 22 October 2012

Calamity week


But of a calamity week this week (especially Monday) coupled with moving rotation, and house, has ended up with a very rushed weekend! 

It is sad to change rotation again, and I have been feeling nostalgic towards the end of the week. Not for any real reason, as I have only been here for 2 months, and on this rotation for 4 weeks, but just because I am a bit of nostalgic person I think... The start was a lot rockier, however, and I managed to mess up quite a few things in the hospital.

You know how you can sometimes have 'one of those' days, where nothing seems to go right? I was having one this Monday, after staying up too late doing my essay on Sunday. Usually in life, this can mean dribbling soup over your shirt, or 'loosing' you glasses on the top of your head (I've been there...) but in the hospital there is so much more to get wrong. 

Forgotten where your glasses are? Worst that can happen is you look a bit silly...

I started off by taking an ABG down to A&E (I had not done it, was merely being the courier) and somehow breaking the ABG machine. IT ran out of paper, then started refusing to accept a new role. You can still get it to display results on its little monitor, but no more print outs to take back to the ward. Not sure what to do, I told one of the nurses, who seemed equally confused, and left quickly... 

Deciding to stay away from machines, I went around the ward to talk to a few patients. One of them has a syringe driver slowly infusing GTN into their system to stop them from having a heart attack. It is bleeping in an annoying fashion, something they do when they think the line is blocked (usually means the patient has done something 'foolish' like bending their arm). You can usually just silence them and all is fine. This is clearly upsetting the patient and the rest of the ward, so I try and silence it but somehow press the wrong buttons and stop the infusion all together. GTN works to expand the vessels in the body, stopping them from getting blocked and keeping the heart supplied with a good flow of oxygen. Now I have stopped it. I tell the patient what I have done, and get a nurse right away to correct my mistake. The right things to do, but I shouldn't have ruined it in the first place!

I go for lunch. I need some coffee and time to wake up. I come back from lunch, and am asked by  doctor if I can do some blood cultures for them. This is a skill I need to sign off, so I agree, despite my dopey behaviour. I am really careful with the patient, and get the bloods without hurting the patient (any more than usual) - then stick myself with the needle... ouch! Needlesticks in hospitals are a lot more hassle than the pain, as this is a potential way to catch diseases (such as hepatitis B/C and HIV) so I have to spend the rest of the day in occupational health taking with them, having my bloods tested, and having the patient's bloods tested for these viruses. Pretty scary, though I was pretty sure she didn't have anything like this. After this, I decide to go home and stay home 'til tomorrow, incase I made something go really wrong.

I was wearing gloves at the time, which is meant to decrease risk of transmission as the glove removes some of the patient's blood. It didn't look like this, though - this doesn't seem to have hurt the person at all (and there was more blood...!)

Despite my murderous rampage on Monday, the ward staff are really nice to me  for the rest of the week (or perhaps this is because of my rampage, and they hope to stop it from happening again). The end of the week is sad, and I say goodbye to all of my favourite patients. My favourites are two men at the end of the ward who constantly perv over the nurses and crack jokes to each other. They have both smoked far too much, and are quite ill, though still jolly. During my goodbyes, one of them tells me that he is "A bachelor  Not a GAY bachelor  oh no. A Fun bachelor..." which explains his nefarious plans towards the nurses. The other one spends some time cracking kilt jokes with me, before asking me if I wanted to be recommended by him to join the masons. He divulges that a few of the doctors he has met are masons (secret signals  and all) but won't tell me which ones. He tells me he is highly ranked, but I decline politely. I have more than enough 'communication skills' to learn for medical school, let along learning a load of new secret ones!


  1. Ahh I've heard that at some point you do end up stabbing yourself with some kind of needle during clinics... Fingers crossed you wont stab yourself again next time :P

  2. As a first year we just covered a clinical skills session on what to do if you stab yourself with a needle - as you said it's a long complicated procedure at OT... (I am glad I haven't had the pleasure of doing that yet!)Loved this week's 'rampage' post. Good luck on your new rotation!

  3. I definitely hope not to stab myself again, though I have already had another near-miss (when testing a patient for viral hepetitis, no less! :-O )

    I hope you don't have to go through it all WOAHM!