Monday, December 04, 2006

Who's Mad?

So I turned up at work feeling like a toilet roll. This is the continuation of a previous post that got sidetracked when I made it to the First Edition of the British Medical Blogs. Yey! I can not really provide an explanation why I’ve chosen to use these banal two words to describe my state of being but it was the one closest to feeling like crap that I can think of at the time. Seems like an appropriate metaphor for feeling really thin, featherbrained and can’t be bothered to do anything as challenging as a therapeutic transaction with patients who sometimes if not more often know more about their medical conditions than I do. I once looked after a patient who has Googled every ache and pains she ever had, every pills or tablets taken and every diagnoses accumulated as if it is some form of a “fascinating morbid collection”, literally and figuratively. Makes you wonder: What’s wrong with collecting stamps? Or stuffed dead animals? How could anyone obsessively collect an alphabetically arranged mental card index of a random number of pathologies or allergies that they could just pull out from the back of their heads each time they see a slight rash or a spot of discolouration on their skin? I remember having this kind of anxiety each time we had a trip to the hospital to see actual patients or diseases for our related learning experience as a student. This may sound like a fun outing or a field day, but more often than not you end up lying down on your stiff bed in the dormitory having cancer or tuberculosis. Imaginary ones at least. Thanks to the web for wider access to medical information, medical blogs like " this " and popular medical programs on TV, now this kind of phenomenon is not just unique to medical / nursing students.


Hypochondriasis is the new opium for the masses. So it’s quiet possible that anytime soon after you’ve extubated ( remove tube / artificial airway ) on an asthmatic patient who had a respiratory arrest ( ceased breathing ) you might find yourself unprepared to his / her witty sense of humour:

“Nah, TB’s my disease.” And wished you had equipped yourself with appropriate House MD’s unconventionally artsy verbal skill: “You own a disease? Well, I’m sorry I missed the IPO on dengue fever.”

It’s quite easy to get psyched about it, and on the other hand, quite hard to psyche yourself up about them especially now that more and more people are crazy about medicine or just plain crazy. Of course, verbal interactions in reality unfortunately deviate quite steeply from art. You can not look at a heavily bruised patient who jumped off a nearby bridge and say: “Oh, well that rules out the race thing, ‘cause you were just as black as last week.” May work hysterically on TV, but I doubt it if you can pull it off in reality without getting sacked for being un-pc ( politically incorrect ).

Although patient’s in ICU who are subjected to sensory overload, sleep deprivation, loss of control and lots of other various factors could be ( unable to find a pc word at this point ) just as mad: known as ICU psychosis. Most have grown dependent to their carers from prolonged helplessness that they reverse back to being a child:

Client: Can I go out please ?
Nurse 2: No I am afraid you can’t.
Client: Why ?
Nurse 2: Because you said this morning you were going to jump off a bridge.
Client: How do you know ?
Nurse 2: Because all nurses are psychic !

So unless you are like these witty, witty Mental Health Nurses that could read patient’s minds and could maintain a childish conversation to an adult with an otherwise child’s brain called reciprocal transaction in psychoanalytic theory - looking after a conscious, chatty and wardable ( should live in the ward if there is a bed there! ) patient can be really, really daunting indeed.

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22 Comments:

Blogger Talamasca said...

...May work hysterically on TV, but I doubt it if you can pull it off in reality without getting sacked for being un-pc ( politically incorrect )

I'm feeling you. I have an idea of what you're yakking about, since you nurses are pretty much the ones getting all interactive and all that shit with the patients. And y'know, some people just have zero sense of humor. Reality bites. Pffft.

Good thing you mentioned House, M.D. because I just love that show sooo much. Hugh Laurie is the man!

7:52 PM  
Blogger Alternati said...

I am the antithesis of a hypochondriac... I guess the third world has that effect on people.. hehe

I know these TV shows wouldn't make medical gentiles (like me) instat House, MD's and Meredith Gray's but they do inform us what CT Scans do and what Munchausen's syndrome is (I don't have that either.. hehe)

Googling does give an amount of solace to us patients knowing in a way what we are being treated for... DOctors are usually very enigmatic with indecipherable handwriting, so we are in the dark sometimes.

However, I do know when to stop self-diagnosing and when to stop thinking ahead or behind someone who has studied medicine all his life.

I think the Googling lady patient needs a one way ticket to the psyche ward (eh? another thing I picked up from TV... haha)

9:48 PM  
Blogger vernaloo said...

I guess you have to add the rising of popular medical tv shows such as House and Grey's Anatomy hehe I mean I diagnosed myself with
Stress Cardio -Myopathy one time hrhrhrhr too much tv I guess :)-verns

12:15 AM  
Blogger howling said...

Oh, yes talamasca!

It's already a sad,sad world we live in. Surely, we could do with a bit of humour injected into our sad, pathetic lives. Don't we?

But hell! The thought police is out there lurking to catch you.

*howling is scared...*

5:49 AM  
Blogger howling said...

You are one tough cookie alternati. LOL! I guess it's because of your inner power to "Heal Thyself - Zen thing"

Thzat German raconteur Munchausen do appear on our dinner table once in a while, but I'm a bit neurotic. Hehehe.

The one-way trip to psyche ward is quite naughty. LOL!

6:00 AM  
Blogger howling said...

"I diagnosed myself with
Stress Cardio -Myopathy one time.."


Whoa! vernaloo that's one ruffian diagnosis there!

Wonder what is in your Christmas wishlist this year... Please, please don't ask Santa for a twelve-lead ECG kit. LOL!!!

6:08 AM  
Blogger vernaloo said...

Oh I really don't have a cardiac abnormality so I guess I don't need a n ECG kit hehe I figuratively had a "broken heart" though so that's why I diagnosed myself with that hahaha crazy huh lol

5:32 PM  
Anonymous may said...

i cannot be a hypochondriac. all my imagined sickness are real :)

may
www.aboutanurse.com

9:52 PM  
Blogger Momel said...

I was once a patient, and I'm telling you, nobody raised hell with such an intense clarity as I did those three days towards the interns.

I must confess to having Google as my personal physician. And, with the broadband subscription going on all 24/7, my physician's at my every beck and call.

Cheers!

12:54 AM  
Blogger ipanema said...

Good stuff you have here, howling.
Thanks for dropping by. :)

12:49 PM  
Blogger howling said...

Oh really verns?

*hushed voices saying: Oh-uh. She's the one who broke a lot of hearts...*

Whoa. Naughty. Off you go to Psyche Ward. LOL!

3:14 PM  
Blogger howling said...

That is really funny may.. LOL!!!

I think that "line" would actually sell a lot of T-Shirts. Wow! Hahaha!

:)

3:20 PM  
Blogger Bryan Anthony the First said...

i need soemone to prescribe me poppers

i'm out of stock!

3:24 PM  
Blogger Bryan Anthony the First said...

did i spell it right?
:-)

3:26 PM  
Blogger howling said...

I knew you'd be a difficult patient momel.. Hahaha!!!

Tell me when your next dressing change is due. Okey?

I'll phone in sick. :) Just kidding. LOL!

Cheers!!!

3:26 PM  
Blogger howling said...

Thanks ipanema!!! sorry about them mad, mad people here. Aside from the blog... we also have doughnuts, sapin-sapin, leche flan and sagot gulaman.. LOL!

Thanks for the blog hop!!!

3:35 PM  
Blogger howling said...

Oh yeah, bryan anthony the first I think you spelled it right!

*howling finds doctor and came back with prescription*

Huh? Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper and this one .. You can only use with compatible 'Orig. Utterly Bonkers Popcorn Bags'. And ermm... You may have to use a transformer if your electric power supply is something silly like 220 volts. Anything else I can do?

4:00 PM  
Blogger vernaloo said...

you're a funny guy Howling lol...okay gotta go..on my way to the psych ward..see you there lol :)

5:00 PM  
Blogger Name withheld to protect the guilty said...

I, too, have often wanted to "House" a patient (though Dr. Cox is still my true idol). Unfortunately, the people who need it the most are the ones most likely to complain to management about it.

Thanks for the mention, too....

2:30 PM  
Anonymous Ferdz said...

I must admit sometimes it's kind of hard to read some of your stuff with all these medical jargons scattered around your text. Hehe.

Good thing I watch some of those medical shows you mentioned and made me familiar with some of the terms. Plus your witty writing as well ads a lot.

And to think I wanted to be a medical doctor before instead of pursuing arts. I could see my other life here.. haha

5:35 PM  
Blogger Jo said...

Got here via Change of Shift.

Good stuff!

Glad I found you.

8:53 AM  
Blogger kmcallister911 said...

Oh man, I learned long ago that googling any symptoms I might have was a one-way-ticket to Too-Much-Informationville!

If I'm breathing and my heart is beating I'm a happy woman.

Doesn't take much to make me happy.... : D

10:14 AM  

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