Saturday, August 25, 2012

Becoming a Doctor

I was in the middle of re-reading Haruki Murakami's best seller Norwegian Wood, when my touch screen phone get vibrated, and I read:
We got sudden IUFD (Intra Uterine Fetal Death) here.
I was shocked, but I kept silent. I sent my prayers to baby's mother, still hoped the residents could manage its mess and the baby got survived. Few minutes later, I received,
I sit next to a mother crying over her loss. :( 

I just couldn't be able to imagine how that mother feels. She's been expecting the baby for nine months, and today, she lost her/him with no one knows the baby stopped breathing and beating inside the womb. 
That was not a drama. Not a play, either. It's death and birth, we face every minute as a (soon to be) doctor.

Soon after that, another text came in.
Another patient with shock (hypovolemic, too much blood loss). Wait!

Running in a rush on morning and night shifts at emergency rooms has been daily routines. Emergency patients admitted every minute, causing the doctors, residents and interns lack of sleep. An extreme sleep deprivation. In teaching hospital, they don't get paid. So how the hard works are being paid off?

Me, as a medical student in final year of school (hopefully, amen!), have to serve community without getting paid salary. It makes me wondering why every single thing about medics is so close to money-related discussions. As I have asked on the previous paragraph and if I'm questioned the same thing, how the hard works are being paid off, I'll certainly answer,
Our highest honour comes from appreciation from patients. :)

One day, I worked morning shift on UPI (Unit Perawatan Intensif, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit), suctioning every fifteen minutes a (about) nine year old boy with renal failure. Be honest, it's tiring to look up to him every few minutes, to prevent the asphyxia that can caused airway obstruction (which will lead to death), but I'm not that heartless to see him gargling. Everytime I visited him, his mother, who always stood up beside, always gave me strongest smile, asking about the progress of her son. I only could answer that we would give the best medical services, and please pray for the son to get better.
Few hours after, I found him suddenly stop breathing. I run, calling the pediatric residents. His mom looked shocked and cried hysterically. I heard Allahuakbar (God is the greatest), and ya Allah said many, many times. We performed the cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, few ampuls of adrenaline injected, hoping the little boy coming back. But we failed. He's already gone.
It was a truly heartbreaking scene. After his body's carried out of the room, his parents came to me.
"Thank you for taking care my son, mbak DM, I'm sorry that I'd been annoying to call you every few minutes. I and my husband really thank you. May all your kindness and care come back to you and a thousand fold ya mbak DM."
I tried my best to hold back the tears at that time. A doctor should give empathy, not simpathy. :')

At first year of serving community, first grade of being an intern, I often complained about this profession. I sighed and I regret becoming a doctor. I lost my youth (Hahaha it sounds too much ya? But it's true!), and had to accept that holiday never existed here (the longer holiday, the more shifts await).

But now, Alhamdulillahirobbil alamin, I am thankful for this opportunity becoming a physician. Not everyone in this whooooole world gets this big chance, to provide health care and practice the profession of medicine. I really am. These experiences open my eyes a little wider to as to what really matters. The proverty, the ill-health issues... Problems that a developing country usually faces. Although I'm not going to politics, I understand little that what problems we have to fight. Tell me leaders, have you ever been truly and wholeheartedly thinking about the poor people, to prioritize and respond to the needs of them, esp in health services?

My parents are not medical doctors, and no one in family runs this profession. It grows curiousity in me, and when I asked daddy the reason he wants me to go to medical school, he simply answered,
Doing good makes you feel good. And this job offers greater opportunities than others.
Help people as much as you can, you'll feel better.

I said, doctor is a half social worker. We often work for humanity. I may say too high, but somehow it's true. My teachers at school like story-telling about their experiences volunteering to help after major disasters like tsunami and earthquake. They told us how hard at that time to survive, to help giving best medical cares with limited resources even further. To cope with natural disasters, you will not understand until you take parts in it. You have to be split up with your family for a while to give hands to others who need your help. To be remembered, there must be poor signals in after disaster area, and being not able to communicate with your family for few days is not easy. One another hard work remains. :)

Dating a doctor (even intern) becomes problem too when you give up on their very limited spare time. I also still feel hard doing this. I still hate it when he is being out of reach, standing between patients and giving them cares. The sweetest thing you can do, is to bring him lunch or dinner during the shift. Simplest way to show him that you really care, because most of the times, doctors/interns forget to have their meals because of the hecticness of emergency room/wards: patients that will not stop coming. To anyone who's dating a doctor/intern, esp if you're not physician/soon to be physician, be patient waiting for a date appointment, for a text reply, for a call during shift. They will make time for you, no matter what. It takes none selfish person to handle the life of a medical personnel. They need your support. Show them you care and support their job, no matter how much you hate not seeing them often. :)

All the hard work and all the hard schooling are put into place right now. I sometimes feel like... My senior high school friends have succeed, while I'm still stuck here, in school years that seems not having the edge of end. But listen. Your friends may finish school and graduate much earlier than you, and start making money and receiving income before you. Don't worry. Don't feel inferior, because it's worth in the end!

I've ever read Jenny Rowland's post on here. Beautiful words were written.
"The road to becoming a doctor has been long and hard. There were times I only slept a couple hours.
And yet, as graduation nears, the road has been worth it. When I hear my daughters acknowledge their own future career paths, they often say: “I want to be a princess, a doctor, and a Mom.” And what I love about their response is not that they might follow in my footsteps one day, but rather, that they already know that all roads are possible."

Be proud, docs. You may not cure, but you can help save lifes.
Don't be afraid of medical malpractice as long as you walk in the right paths. :)

Note: I'm amazed by one intern that well prepared for emergency cases. He brings the handscoen, mask, needle and everything in his car. I only have two things I mentioned first. Why needle? "To perform emergency cricothyroidotomy and needle thoracocentesis, just in case patients need it. Our priority is to support life basically, to save patients." I was moved by his sayings. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for reminding me to be thankful.


Mr. Harmonica said...

Sometimes death is not to be expected, he gave me something that made ​​me smile in the morning, but in the afternoon I lost him (my dad), :D
Too many memories in the hospital. Dr Soetomo.

Until now I was thinking, what the purpose of all this?
What I saw in the morning was an angel?

olien91 said...

Nice post..
It got me teary eyes :')
Hope everything goes well for you :)