Thursday, 9 December 2010
I've thought about it a couple of nights now, guiltily, because I would normally never do such a thing. And as the nights have gone on I've wanted to more. Because after coming home from the late call outs, it's often the last thing I want to do, when normally it feels so good. One of those passive stress relievers that starts the instant it touches my skin.
And tonight, my last night on call here, my last night of working in this crazy little town with some adorable people, some stoic people, some unhappy people and every other type of people there is, I decided that when my phone rang I didn't care. I got in my car to drive the 100m to the hospital in my pyjamas. And saw a patient while wearing my hoodie, my singlet and my favourite swallow dappled flannelette. And I did not care.
As I curled up in my chair with my knees under my chin and sorted out some ridiculous regime of medications I was comfy. The soft fabric against my skin soothed the prickled hairs on the back of my neck from the callout that I tried to remind myself was just as valid as any other.
Another night of being at work or working for 14+ hours. And it strikes me as odd, that I'm not only feeling relief that tomorrow night I will be sleeping in my $1000 a night getaway for Bingley's birthday, but sadness too, because I have done good here. I know I have. I have helped, I have worked hard, I have got my job done and I have done it well. I have filled in a million bits of paperwork, put in at least 100 sutures. Removed at least 10 suspicious skin lesions. Removed a tick. Treated asthma attacks. Treated anaphylaxis. Treated chest pain that was a heart attack. Treated chest pain that was reflux. Treated chest pain that was a muscle strain. Treated chest pain that was a panic attack. I have treated 2 day old babies and 97 year old ladies. And everyone in between.
I have put fluorescent drops in eyes and watched them glow under blue lights. I have injected antibiotics and put in cannulas and set up IV lines. I have strapped knees and I have glued eyebrows. I have looked in too many ears to count, at least 100, maybe twice that number. I have listened to swooshy heart beats. And mechanical valves. And systolic murmurs and mixed murmurs. I have frozen off warts and keratoses with liquid nitrogen which I got to suck out of the big pot of it in the treatment room. I have swished urine dipsticks and watched a lot of negative pregnancy tests show up. I've done pelvic exams and pap smears. Listened to so many stories of people's lives, been the first person that some have ever told about their childhood abuse and the first to try and get them help.
I've annoyed people when I wouldn't give them antibiotics for a cold, and annoyed even more when I've refused to renew temazepam prescriptions. Upset some when I suggested alternatives to opioid medications and outright refused to prescribe pseudoephedrine. But I've been listened to too, and have mostly felt that people walk out of my room getting the best treatment they could. I have held no judgement for the staggering number of STIs that I have diagnosed, and sympathised with the fears of those that come in asking for it. I have given whooping cough vaccines and prescribed a lot of antibiotics for those who have come in contact with it.
And my overwhelming impression, even having worked at least 60 hours this week already, not including the middle of the night phone calls for advice, is that I love this. And I have never been more sure in my life that this is what I should be doing. I was born for it.