Saturday, 3 March 2007

Mind on the job!

I took Tina out to dinner last night to celebrate both the fact that I’d been paid and that I’d finished my nights and am now officially back in the land of the living. Tina is a girl I’m seeing at the moment. I met her in a club a few weeks ago and since then, we’ve become sex-buddies. She’s very pretty, very tall, brunette with big blue eyes, big breasts and a sense of fun – just the type I go for, in fact. She’s a total party girl and her antics make me laugh loads. Maybe part of the reason I like her is that she provides a flip-side to my job which is often really depressing.

For example, one night, me and the registrar saw this 59 year old woman in A&E with breathing difficulties. We saw her at 23:30 and she looked awful. She was a long-term smoker and this had destroyed her lungs, leaving her with COPD. In addition to that, her heart was failing, meaning fluid was building up in her lungs, slowly drowning her and making it even harder. On top of that, she also had pneumonia, so there were three very good reasons why she was sick and couldn’t breathe properly. When we saw her in A&E, it wasn’t so much a question of IF she was going to die, but WHEN. I was determined that it was not going to be on my shift and we gave her all the appropriate treatment but, as we expected, she continued deteriorate and ended up dying about noon the next day.

I was lying in bed thinking about this woman this morning when my internal “voice of reason” kicked in and said:

Voice of Reason: What are you doing?
Me: Nothing much, just thinking about that patient
Voice of Reason: Why on earth are you thinking about that NOW?!?! You are an idiot. You are lying in bed on the first day off you’ve had in ages, you’ve got a dead sexy woman lying next to you, she’s stroking your stomach and rubbing her breasts against your side and you are thinking about that woman gasping in hospital. Come on son, mind on the job!

And I guess this the age-old problem of not being able to leave work at work. In the time since I qualified as a doctor, I’ve got better at not dwelling on things, but sometimes, still, work gets to me…

1 comment:

Moab said...

You wrote:
"it wasn’t so much a question of IF she was going to die, but WHEN. I was determined that it was not going to be on my shift and we gave her all the appropriate treatment but, as we expected, she continued deteriorate and ended up dying about noon the next day."

I suspect the appropriate treatment would have been comfort care so that the patient could die peacefully. I always wonder why doctors make these (apparently) poor decisions.

It may be, not knowing the case, her family wasn't open to this - but did you ask? If not, it might be something you want to consider in the future.