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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Learning Another Language

It's been more than a year since I passed my primary exams. I am now in my first year of advanced training. A few more to go. I should be concentrating on completing the hurdles, such as research & non-ED terms, for the advanced training so that I finish quicker. Well, at least this is the advice given by most of my seniors. 

I have other things in mind, at least for now. More than a year now that I have been bumming around adding lipid layers around my tummy (which kinda helps during winter :D). There are other things that I want to do, those that I wanted to do being put stationary for a while coz of many reasons. I want to do things around the house, I want to get back to writing, I want to watch documentaries, I want to bake... etc. Learning other languages is also one of them.

I chose Spanish a while back. Over the years, bought many Spanish language learning aids but been sparingly using them. Takde orang nak praktis, exams, other stuff, hence those things just kumpul habuk dlm almari. Tak tau apsal I've become obsessed with Spanish. Tak ramai Spanish patients at work. Kalau ikutkan patut belajar Greek, Italian, Arabic, Mandarin, Cantonese, Hindi, Tamil as ramai these patients come thru the door and most of the times we will need interpretor or family members who can speak those language. But well, I am kinda obsessed with Spanish, hence for now, Spanish it is. 

I am onto the dummies & the 15-min Spanish book & audio at the moment. What's missing in this pic is my box of audio aids that I used about ~7yrs ago. Kena cari ni.

I have a boss whose partner is a Spanish lady. I've known him for a while but never had the guts to practice Spanish with him, lagipun selama ni kononnye sibuk exams, etc, so macam inappropriate pulak nak tetiba talk to him in Spanish. Since 2 years ago, we have a couple from South America (Doc N & Doc C) at work who grew up talking Spanish. So now I've decided to smell the roses, they have been great teachers. 

The other day there was a Spanish old lady as my patient. The only time I had the chance to talk in Spanish if I was fluent enuf by practising for the past ~7years. Of course I couldnt. I could only speak a couple of phrases, which the lady responded & of course I couldnt understand what she was talking about. Lol! Lucky there my friend Doc C was working the same shift. Unfortunately, agaknye dia terkejut when Doc C started talking to her in Spanish, in a very very loud voice (since dia agak hearing impaired), she just stayed mute the whole time. Seb baik anak dia datang soon after. Haha. 

This is the usual situation here, at least where I work, but more commonly other language-speaking patients. Mostly Chinese ppl, Indian/ Sri Lankan, Greek, Italian, Vietnamese, Arabs. Kinda susah nak treat when they are conscious & tak boleh communicate in the same medium, let alone when they are delirius or unconscious and the family tak cakap English. Some times I get frustrated but most of time I feel kesian coz must be really scary living in a foreign country where you cant communicate & you are actually sick, & tak dapat nak sampaikan your worries & tak paham apa doc cakap.

Hence my motivation to learn other languages, hopefully enuf to help me be global.

Welcome to ED

Taken from webbie Confession of A Junior Doctor:

Even though I am no longer a junior doctor, more so now a mid-trainee/ early-advanced trainee, this pretty much sums up my life of an ED doctor.

 Confessions of a Junior Doctor
  1. Welcome to A&E

    I have no idea what it is that I like about Emergency Medicine.

    The hours are terrible. The rota is indecipherable. You cannot plan to attend a friend’s birthday or a family gathering. Your social life is non-existent. The patients are largely rude, drunk, smelly and irreverent. There are never enough staff on shift. The urgent care centre referrals are sometimes ludicrous. The GPs send in UTIs as renal colic, PID as appendicitis, persistent patients that they can no longer placate. The specialty doctors think we are either lazy or lobotomised. You spend more time than you should at the centre of “specialty tennis”.

    The four hour wait is a travesty. There are never enough observation beds. The pressure is immense. The clock never stops. There is always another patient waiting, another test to order, another result to check. There is always a diagnosis to be made, and treatment to initiate, a conversation to be had. You go from renal colic to brain tumours to heart attacks. You see depressed people, drunk people, old people, children. You see people at their worst. You see time wasters and hypochondriacs and then sepsis and deaths. You don’t have time to process. You don’t have time to think. You see, treat, refer, discharge.

    People complain about the waiting time, disagree with your assessment, believe google before they believe you. You go home at night paranoid about the patient you sent home; constantly questioning your decisions, your abilities and your sanity. You see multiple patients simultaneously, you are a porter, a nurse, a cleaner, a friend, a confidant. You tell people good news, bad news, sad news.

    You are charged with the unhappy job of treating people’s liver disease from excessive alcohol, lung disease from smoking, diabetes from overindulgence. People expect you to take responsibility for their lifestyle choices. You endure the abusive drunkards, the psychotic schizophrenics, the deranged elderly. You put up with the people who have neither an accident nor an emergency.

    You exhaust yourself looking after these people, so much so that you go without food, without bathroom breaks, without the most basic of human needs. You are vilified by the media, who feel you are paid too much for what you do. You are misunderstood by friends and family who watch too much ER and Casualty. You become unacceptably irked by poor resuscitation techniques on TV shows. You complain about unnecessary attendances and then carry out wholly unwarranted tests because you are scared of being sued. You will inevitably have complaints filed against you for merely doing your job. You will make poor management decisions and people will die. You will make excellent management decisions and people will still die. You will defy the odds: CPR will work; the patient will recover from sepsis; be discharged from hospital, and then die at home a week later.

    You will miss things. You will be wrong on a daily basis. Everyone thinks they know more than you. You finish a shift and barely have the energy to walk to the car; let alone drive home. You spend at least half of your days off comatose in bed. You don’t see your housemates for weeks due to opposing shift patterns. You do locum shifts during your time off because there are never enough doctors and you know how awful it is to work when they’re short staffed. The barista at Costa knows what sort of day you’re having based on whether you order a medio cappuccino or a double espresso. The packed lunch you brought 3 days ago is still sat in the refrigerator. Once you leave work you are unable to make the smallest of decisions because you have used up all of your brain cells.

    You are stressed out, overworked and rarely thanked. And I can’t think of any specialty that I would enjoy more.
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