Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Bah, Humbug!

I walked into the unit and wondered why we don’t have a Christmas tree. Around this time last year, we already had enough blinking lights to trigger grand mal fitting to a photosensitive epileptic, and with alcohol hand rubs placed strategically in every nook and cranny, I thought it’s rather rich the hospital is still standing and hasn’t burned to the ground yet. I really hope it’s not the thought police at work here. I heard the Royal Mail is stamping out true meaning of Christmas by issuing stamps without any trace of the Bible story and instead featured little harmless cartoons that will not offend other faiths. I only hope those cartoons are not Danish. The same is true with greeting cards:

“One 'offensive' card risked provoking Christians by suggesting the shepherds only saw the angel appear on the hillside because they were hallucinating after smoking drugs. And another card ignores Christmas altogether - wishing the recipient a "Happy December". Other designs include a pan of Brussels sprouts, a shoe, a woman pointing a gun at 'chavs', a moonlit bridge and, bizarrely, a line of meerkats.” What you get for reading sucky papers like the Daily Mail . LOL!

#10 Reasons why this year’s Christmas is really sucky.

1. Our health care assistant who I learnt today has worked in our unit for more than eight years handed in her notice of resignation last month, so maybe she can’t really be bothered to put up the tree. She did it every year, and was really good in keeping our patients and the unit clean. With the current crisis in the NHS, she may never be replaced. Who’s gonna wash the teacups?

2. They also say the tale of three wise men paying homage to baby Jesus may not be really three at all. The Gospel apparently refers to them as merely wise men: no mention of actual number whatsoever. But I don’t give a toss, really. I’m more concerned that three more wards closed this month. That means we’ll be stuck with wardable patients in our unit. More tea-drinking, weetabix-eating patients as opposed to patients on Galileo, Lidco, Bis, Prisma and all other binary code speaking gadgets that you could ever find in Critical Care. What a shame. I quite like my toys. Even more so at Christmas.

3. The NHS froze the hiring of new staff due to budgetary constraints. It is quite ironic though, to find that the Trust is advertising a post for a high salaried monkey * Smoking Advisor. Salary that’s large enough to pay two more nurses in ICU. I say: “leave them smokers alone!” If they can’t read those death threats / warning in bold alphabets in cigarette packets, maybe what they need are free eyeglasses for Christmas. Shoo them off to Boots or Specsavers.

4. I learnt that the abbreviation Xmas is not really irreligious. The letter X is actually a Greek abbreviation for Christ. And obviously, Christ is not a swear word.

5. I’ve seen in the Biography Channel that Santa actually used to wear a blue or green tunic until Coca Cola matched it to their trademark colour. And Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer was just invented for a US firm’s Christmas promotion in 1938. It’s quite traumatic to learn that they have been lying to you since you were a kid. They are a bunch of utter crooks and liars.

6. Jesus was probably born in a cave and not a wooden stable, say the Biblical scholars. It’s not posh enough to be born in a wooden stable and to learn that he was born in a cave is pushing.
7. I’ve read somewhere that before turkey, the traditional Christmas meal in England was a pig’s head and mustard. More like what we have in the Philippines. Bring back the good ol’ days!

8. The only greens we have in the Christmas Party do are what I would call junk food: chips and crisps. I didn’t realize that some people’s concept of veggies is limited to potatoes and corn. Although apparently, many parts of the Christmas tree can actually be eaten, with the needles being a good source of Vitamin C. That is, if you’re really peckish.

9. Also, in the Czech Republic they enjoy dinners of fish, soup, eggs and carp. The number of people at the table must be even, or the one without a partner will die next year. Good way to control population, I think. This might be useful to people at immigration. Although, maybe I should heed the NHS Blog Doctor's advice: We must behave ourselves. Medical Bloggers in Britain are suspiciously disappearing into thin air. Scary. What has happened to free speech? The most recent one is also my friend: HospitalPhoenix - a very witty and strongly opinionated doctor. I for a while enjoyed being in the Top 4 of his Blog Links like a “myspace whore”.

10. In Greece, Italy, Spain and Germany, workers get a Christmas bonus of one month’s salary by law. The NHS on the other hand is taking the Dickensian Scrooge’s stance of being a tight fisted miserable old fart.

* There are more monkeys like this one in Doc Crippen’s Blog.
Thank You's:
To all those who greeted me on my Birthday.

To NHS Blog Doctor for another mention in Part 3 of Britmeds 2006

And to Airway Control for including me in Change of Shift Vol. 1, No. 13

Check out!!!

See you all Next Year!

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Monday, December 11, 2006

Cheeky Monkey is 30+ this Week

Bloody hell, I’m getting old. I only have a handful of offline friends so in theory, I could get away with a trip to the local pub for some fancy grub then back to the house for a tipple and then that would be it: another birthday done and dusted. My woman on the other hand has other ideas. She’d have loads of friends to come for a house party and so, in the next few days I’d be moping around oriental supermarkets as her kitchen bitch. My mom was a home economics teacher: one of those oldie worldly parts of elementary school where young boys and girls are taught how to cook, grow a vegetable and mend holes in old socks and knickers. In other words, she was a domestic goddess both in school and in our own house when I was little and to be honest, I’ve grown up reasonably prepared for life. I can fairly muster a good slap up meal.

It’s the prospect of feeding a few thousand people all together at the same time I find as a steep learning curve. Case in point yesterday: spent three hours at Tesco’s trying to tick off last bit on my list to buy – sprouted beans for the spring rolls. I wondered: do they grow them in winter? There are lots of other normal looking beans in there but none of them is sprouted. And why would you have bloody spring rolls in winter anyway? I resigned. Three long hours is bloody long time to spend on such a freak herbaceous plant. That’s three hours I could have spent watching valuable TV and reading lovely blogs.

I planned to stick a lovely picture of me here as a baby whom I thought would be cool but decided against when I looked at it this morning. I was a nasty piece of work. A face really only a mother can love. There are some advantages to it of course, as you don’t get your nose or your cheeks pinched all the time by dirty old hags when they come round your house to use the toilet. For some bizarre reason, our house is the only building smacked in the middle of the town between shops and the church with toilet facility.

“Oh, he ain’t a cute kid,” are perhaps the first words I learnt, as I wasn’t really confident with my looks when I was young. I looked after a young lad with Asperger’s Syndrome last week whom I had a nice time talking with and found out some similarities between him and myself when I was growing up. I was so socially inept and had very few friends. I only have just one friend when I was a young schoolboy and only because he carried my backpack and did my writing when the teacher was not looking. I started going out with girls really late because I was pretty convinced I was a monkey.

The 80’s should have been the years I'd cross-pollinated all the flowers I could find in the garden patch figuratively but I was doing it rather literally. All the other boys in our class were listening to Sex Pistols, had spiked hair and looked really cool in sunglasses. I had Petri dish in my backpack, a green thumb, had no idea what snogging is and had Wooly Bully- a pretty stupid obscure song by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs as a favourite.

The 90’s turned a bit sharpish to my favour. The grunge scruffy look was all the rage, oversized charity shopped shirt tucked in the wrong places, Kurt Cobain killed himself as an act of self defiance to fame and women started to look at slightly autistic men in a different light.

2006 - This year I started to blog and even as my girlfriend is now quite busy in the kitchen, I can’t help myself getting online as soon as I dropped the grocery bags.

This blog is quite sad and pathetic. Pardon me, I have to digress big time here.

Okey, the girl has called someone's idol a monkey but what now? That is her personal opinion and that's what free speech is all about.

"Nobody should be running around in a murderous frenzy and do something akin to a "blog rape" of obviously, a young and still quite naive blogger. Monkey is not really that offensive and she definitely has valid points in her rant, so give the kid a break! She has not offended a god or a prophet, and even so, I wouldn't agree that someone should stick a bomb in his / her arse to avenge the insult that someone has caused to an ideal or religion, let alone a boxer. Some of the so called intellectuals here who sadly, support the notion that she is just reaping what she sowed are also missing the point. It is unfortunately, quite shallow to react to this really childish argument.

If they are really smart, they wouldn’t be engaging in this stupid kind of nonsense blog war. Why not intelligently challenge her on why she believes that Manny doesn’t deserve to have his statue erected alongside * Rizal or Bonifacio..?”

Someone screamed from the kitchen. Oh, okey. I have to log off now. I need to peel some potatoes.

* Rizal is a Philippine national hero. Bonifacio could have been the national hero, but he isn't toff. Manny is, well... Just a minger with boxing gloves on.

Good News: Pinochet Died this Morning. Amen.

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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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