Assalamualaikum everyone. *BIG FOOLISH GRIN*
I have missed blogging. Allah knows how much I missed blogging.
But work, is work, is work, is work. I am no longer a free single lady. I am married to my job and there are responsibilities entailed. It basically means I don’t get to be called doctor and being looked upon with awe without working my backbone sore for it. If only they know how empty my brain really is, maybe they will call me “Dr. Afiza” with less reverence than they usually do.
I am not complaining. I am enjoying the fact that some patients and nurses actually think I know what I am doing, lol. But I am still getting used to the prefix being attached to my name. Whenever someone called out to me “Doctor” I still had trouble believing it was me they were calling. And it’s been eight not-so-glorious-months already!
I have good news to impart to my dear readers.
All praises belong to Allah, I passed my surgical rotation. That means, I have passed two of the worst rotations in housemanship, namely the OnG and the Surgical. Life is sweet….well, until I got into my next posting, that is. For now I am enjoying the glorious days of reading fiction and magazines and not thinking about the suffering of the patients that I have passed over to my colleague. I am sure my patients are in good hands. It’s not like I am that good with anything other than sucking their blood out by means of the syringe.
The exam itself was okay. I mean I wasn’t brilliant. But I think I was acceptable enough to move on to other postings. And to me, that was all that matters.
Have I mentioned that I now go to work with a considerably my happier mood? It’s all because now I knew what my future goal is. I would like to be a medical officer in Klinik Kesihatan. Which requires me to complete my housemanship….then I can relax in Klinik Kesihatan for the rest of my medical career. I guess, I am not very ambitious as a doctor.
I know how a lot of people would look down on those who would like to relax in Klinik Kesihatan….they think the MO in KK are taking the easy way out etc etc. Well, I never really care about what others thought of what I would like to do. If they think I am less passionate about medicine than I should be, well I have no apologies to offer.
They may even think of us who desire the lifestyle offered by KK as less bright and less intelligent than they are. Certainly, less hardworking and less diligent.
Well, to them I will simply say I have nothing to prove anymore.
I don’t have to prove anything to anyone.
Do you know that I hated school growing up? But I went through it and with the grace of Allah, manage to get straights As in all my exams. For someone who hated studying…having to complete primary and secondary school (that’s eleven years!!) was torture. But I completed it. I completed it having to study the loathsome Add Maths and Phyics and Chemistry (I can only barely tolerate Biology).
And then I hate matriks (of course I hate any forms of institutionalized education). So I accepted the offer by IB, having to study the burdensome Pure Maths. But I completed it, all the while pining away for the time to read fictions and then someday to write them, if I ever get lucky.
And then I went to Newcastle Uni, studying medicine; a field that I have very little interest in, if any. I completed it as well.
Now, I am in the process of completing my housemanship. I have become a pro of doing what I don’t really like doing….I have had that practice since at the age of seven; going to school when I didn’t really want to.
I have nothing else to prove. I have done all those things people expected me to do and I tried to do it well regardless of my sentiment towards it. Now, it’s time for me to do what I WANT to do. I think I have done plenty of proving.
I have proven all my life that I can do what I don’t like doing and I can do it well, Alhamdulillah.
Now imagine what I can achieve when I do what I REALLY like? THAT, my dear readers, is what I have to prove. Not to anyone else. But to myself.
So, yes, the whole point of this post is to declare to all and sundry that I am done with proving anything!
No one can fault me for negligence even when I hate what I am doing. Yes, I may hate housemanship but I never once took sudden Emergency Leave and caused troubles to the captain to arrange for replacements.. Never. I am in very good terms with all my captains because I never caused any trouble. I never once not attended any of my on-calls. Never. I never pulled the invisible stunt and decided to be MIA. Never. I never went back home when I was on-call (not even when I was in ACC or ENT). Never. I never KNOWINGLY, not do what I was supposed to do. Whatever I neglected to do, it was out of ignorance or my limitations rather than sheer laziness.
When I was posted in ACC, one of the senior houseman had in an indirect way tried to implicate that I was trying to leave him more work during his on call and not completing the work during office hours. I got immediately angry. I told him, “Today aku yang on-call. Kalau aku tak sudahkan during office hours pun, aku yang akan sudahkan by the end of the day. Hang risau apa ni?” It was hard trying to make it sound like I wasn’t pissed off. I did not raise my voice but my dry tone was tight. I was, at the very least, annoyed.
It turned out that he thought it was his turn be to on-call on that day. So, he was worried that I haven’t finished one stupid bloody discharge. To be honest, I did forget about the discharge. But then, I was the one who was on-call. And the patient was a chemo patient and her chemo was still running and there was no rush to discharge the patient at all. And also, he needed not trying to make it sound as though I was not doing the discharge on purpose. That was what I got pissed off about. Because I took pride in not being lazy. I may hate my work but I am not lazy. I do what I MUST, despite of my feelings about it.
Besides, on-calling in ACC is nothing! ACC is the most relaxed place to be on-call. It’s like being paid to sleep. So, a lot of people would like to do as many on-calls as possible when they are in ACC because 1)it’s easy money, 2)you would have filled up all the quotas of your on-call that months easy-peasy.
So my senior houseman then said, “Tak apalah, biar aku on-call hari ni lah.” He likes the easy money, I am sure.
I would have let him have the on-calls. Because I don’t need the money even if it’s easy money…I like to be at home. I know a lot of housemen need money….they are paying for their car and their rent and their food. While I am paying for nothing….I had not bought a car yet at that time. I stay with my parents…I don’t need to pay the rent or the bills. I don’t even have to worry about food. If I could do it, I would offer my on-calls to anyone who wants it. I was THAT blasé about on-call money….I don’t want it, I don’t need it because I have no financial responsibilities and I like being at home more.
But because he was so annoying earlier I just said, “No it’s okay. Biar aku on-call hari ni. Ni memang giliran aku. Hang tak payah risau, hang pi balik laa.”
He was the ONLY one who has ever indirectly trying to make it sound like I was deliberately not doing my job. I did not like that and I, in my own way, let him know.
I am very touchy about these sort of things. I like to earn my money. And any implication of people saying otherwise, would make me very unhappy. And I have no compunction about showing it.
Even in OnG, when I was in my first posting, I was generally well-liked by my HO colleagues because I did my job. I may be a stupid first-poster who knew NOTHING about how to get things done but they knew what I didn’t do, it was not due to laziness. Once they explained to me how it was supposed to be done, I got it done, no matter how painful it was to do.
Of course some of the MOs (one Indian MO lady in particular) thought I was stupid. But even SHE cannot accuse me of being lazy. She can call me stupid all she likes…I was a first-poster, what did you expect, moron? But if she ever accused me of being lazy, I would challenge her to court. I am THAT serious about not having the reputation of being lazy because it’s a very damaging reputation as an HO.
But that was a long time ago. Now I am a third poster. I have some free advice to first-posters.
When I was in surgical, I heard lots of complaints coming from senior posters who had had to work with first posters. I myself, remembered how hard it was being a first-poster and therefore I always try to be friendly with all first posters in surgical. I remembered how well I was treated in OnG by my HO friends. I remembered how thankful I was to everything they have taught me during the first few weeks of ignorance. And I remembered those people fondly….Siti Salwa, Maftuhim, Hidayah Tajuddin,Lini, and many-many more. They were patient of my stupidity.
Mereka bersangka baik terhadap kebodohan aku dan tak mengangap kerja-kerja bodoh yang aku buat adalah kerana aku malas.
And for that, I will forever be thankful that I had these bunch of people who were really patient in teaching me what I did not know.
In OnG, you cannot work alone. You have to team-up. Especially when there is a sudden plan for emergency caesar. One person needs to book the case in the computer, another person needs to get consent, another person needs to fill up the emergency pink slip, another person needs to refer the case to paediatrics. So you need all these people functioning…and it is in their best interest to educate the new HO as adequately as possible and as fast as possible. So that’s what they have done towards me. So I was lucky.
But some first posters in the surgical dept. were not that lucky. In surgical, there is less need to team-up. So, if someone makes mistake, they don’t feel duty-bound to teach….they much rather mengumpat kat belakang and assume these first-posters are lazy. I am so sorry for them.
I never had ill-feelings towards the first poster whenever I on-called with them. Most of the time, I just assumed that they did not know (the way I was in OnG) and I just explained to them how it should be done.
For example, there are so many steps to remember just to prepare patient for operation. One needs to fill up the pink slip, and then book the case in the system. And then you need to keep patient nil by mouth and order some antibiotics stat to OT. You need to make sure the patient signs the consent. And you need to take patient’s blood sample for group and cross match. If you missed any of this step, or if you have done something slightly wrong in any of the steps, the patient may not get to OT. So, people then say “Dia buat kerja salai-balai. Kerja tak habis etc etc.”
Maybe the HO did not even know what was wrong with his work. And therefore could not improve in the future. Because no-one told him! They simply assumed he was lazy and then talked behind his back.
When I was in OnG, there was one gentleman HO who took the time to go through all my morning reviews at the antenatal ward. He then kindly told me that I did the review wrong. He went from one patient to another and said, “This patient is post-caesar. You can off IVD, off the brannula and start her on haematinics. In post-op patients, make sure you asked whether she has passed flatus, has she passed motion, tolerating orally well or not, has her baby passed urine?”
He corrected one by one of my clerking and my management plan before the MO rounds so that I won’t get scolded and he won’t get scolded for not teaching me. Even though OnG was hell on earth for me, but I was shown that level of kindness by my fellow HO. Something I would never forget. (Also I think it’s because the MO would blame the senior HOs if they didn’t teach us properly, so they are more likely to take the initiative themselves).
I would always remember his kindness. And it was that kindness that would propel me into doing the same to all first-posters. I want to befriend them the way I was befriended. God knows housemanship is tough enough without adding the pressure of not being liked by your colleagues. So when I have time, I did all I can to make them feel welcomed, so that they won’t feel like they were a burden.
So when one of my fellow friend complained that a particular first poster was lazy, did a very stupid morning review, did not take bloods and liked to shift responsibilities….I did not know what to say. I have only recently left the anguish of being a first-poster…so I still felt sorry for them. However, my friend who complained about the first poster, is not the sort to make up stories.
My thought was, the first-posters just did not know what were expected of them. And even if they knew what were expected of them, they may not know how to go about doing it properly.
My advice to first-posters:
- Vocalize your ignorance. If you are not good at taking blood tell them so. Say “Weh, aku cuba dah nak ambil blood, tapi selalu tak dapat. Boleh tak hang tolong?” So that we would know that you are not lazy. It’s just that you are not competent yet and you need help. And so we will help.Masalahnya, some male first-posters are egoistic. They didn’t admit their ignorance…so when they don’t do their works, we naturally assume they are lazy.
Look, let me be frank. Having the reputation of being stupid is much better than having the reputation of being lazy! Trust me. If you don’t know, say it and admit it….even if you have to admit to a female HO.
-when I was a first poster in OnG, I made my worries and my ignorance known. Aku selalu mengadu yang aku tak tahu and they are so kind. They will say “Biasalah tu, first posting. Nanti hang akan terer punya.” They cannot be angry at me because I made it known I am not lazy, I am just stupid.
- Ask for help and do what you are told to do.
– when the MO got irritated with the whole ward and hence your fellow colleagues kena marah because of YOUR mistakes, please apologize. It’s easy, I will give you a script, “Weh, sorrylah.. Sebab aku, hangpa semua kena marah. Actually macam mana nak buat morning review sebenarnya?What did I do wrong? Sorry…aku tak tau langsung!” Hah, and then they will tell you what to do. Next morning, you do exactly what you are told. So if you still got scolded, THEY will come to you and say, “Weh, sorry hang kena marah. Semalam aku terlupa nak habaq…hang kena off brannula yang tak dipakai sebelum MO mai round.”
-That’s what I have been doing to all my juniors who asked me for help. Kalau depa kena marah sebab aku terlupa nak bagi proper instruction, aku yang rasa bersalah. So takkan aku nak marah diorang malas pula kan?
-It’s strategy man!You have to show people that you don’t know and you are willing to learn. And if you make mistakes, you are a first poster. It’s expected! If you show them that you don’t know, they will pity you. That’s the idea.
- Always offer to help. Go back at the same time as your colleagues.
Most of the time, even if I have finished my work in my cubicle and it’s already 5 pm, I will saunter to my other colleagues and asked, “Weh, hang ada apa-apa lagi tak yang tak siap? Jom kita siapkan cepat-cepat. Dah pukul lima. Nanti kita boleh balik skali.” I offered help because it’s bad manners to leave your ward colleagues and go back at 5.00 sharp. It’s a tacit and silent etiquette that in the ward, you do things together. Especially balik rumah! Jangan tinggal HO buat kerja ward tak habis-habis. If you absolutely MUST go back, phrase it nicely. “I have things coming up and need to go home. Aku dah siap semua bahagian aku punya. Boleh takaku tinggal hang awal hari ni? ” Most of the time your colleague will appreciate that you even bother telling her that you need to go and can’t help her.
- Be friendly.
It makes life as a HO a lot easier if you can be friendly and nice to everyone. I especially love the MOs in surgical. I am in a much friendlier term with them than when I was in OnG. It makes life a lot easier when I need my logbook signed. Hehehe. Just be careful that you are not nice to the point that you are easily bullied. Be very careful about that.
I like to be nice and helpful. But they know my nice-ness have limits and they cannot get away with bullying me. In general, I play very fair. I am nice to those who are nice to me. No one can accuse me of being arrogant and snobbish. When they asked me to do things I don’t like to do, I would do it but I made sure they knew I didn’t like it. If they asked again in the future, they knew they would better have a very good reason.
So, I wish good luck to all who are starting out as housemen. Do make friends and during your first posting, be especially careful about being labeled lazy. Defend your honor and your reputation. Especially important in your first posting that people think you are NOT lazy. Always, always admit that you don’t know and always humbly ask for help. During my first posting, I cannot remember how many times I began my sentence with, “Weh, aku tak tau macam mana nak…..”
Most people are kind at heart. Especially those who are doctors. Most of them are helpful people. And even if they are not motivated by the urge to be altruistic, they would welcome the opportunity to feel wise and clever and show you what they know. You have nothing to lose by admitting that you don’t know and you need help.
Good luck first-posters. I am a third poster and I still need all the luck I could get. May my journey and yours be as smooth as a baby’s skin until we get to KK. Heh!