Saturday, April 14, 2012

In Loving memory of Oncology

Guest post


So again, I woke up to the dreadful fact that it’s (med) school no more! You can’t go late to the ward or bunk a patient (*sigh*). It’s always the same every morning, feeling of staying some more time snugged in the bed and till date I feel the same. Beside my wishes, my alarm is quite loud-mouthed. It keeps screaming until I wake up. And the patient’s census guessing start right from the bed, “OMG, I’m already late,’I think we have to follow 15, hmmm, 18 patients.. God knows how many admissions last night. Ahh, Dr. Shayan must be waiting, let’s be quick ‘. So I get ready to reach private wing, with the same wishes in my head. Not to mention the pager hunting in my bag, securing the meal coupons and yeah the much talked about ID card. And the day begins….

A day in Oncology rotation; Oh simple things, where have you gone?

So I reached private wing, where the young man at the counter known as UR throws the same old question, before I could even take a breath,” Are you on call today”, tell me your pager number and the patients you are going to follow?”. Like always, I gave him an annoyed look and say “I am not on call every day!”.”Then who is?”, comes the reply. “ You will sort this out in the later part of the day, Don’t worry, Me and Dr. Shayan ( Oncology resident) are not going anywhere till 6 O clock may be 7, page and bother us by then“. This  he was definitely going to do, no matter what.

Followed by the UR, strikes in Dr. Shayan “ Ammara, sab khariat hai? Profiles print ho gyen?” Yes Sir, and there we divide the patients. Sometimes to his astonishment, I had already seen the patients. Rare days when I get up early. Anyhow, I went and searched for a printer, one which could print, instead of making creepy sounds. Having done  that achievement, I printed the profiles, checked the labs, wondered if Oncology patients have all the electrolyte imbalance and poor neutrophil count in the world and re-entered the drugs. Moving ahead, was one difficult task. To go and see the patients. Difficult in a way, I was quite aware of the fact that I am going to be bombarded by a lot of reasonable and not so reasonable questions- In my face!

I wished I could smash my pager into pieces, a big source of distraction at work


Before I could even log off the system and leave to inquire about my patient’s health, my pager ringed. “Doctor, when are you going to see Bed number ‘what-so-ever’ patient”, again was the UR in his shrilled voice. “I am about to see him in a while”, I replied.” Jaldi dekh lo na doctor” comes the most concerned person’s voice. I make faces but don’t say much. Again  pager rang. Its staff ABC now, “ Doctor, bed number ’I don’t care’ attendants want to ask something and please uskay fluids enter kro na “ And then not to bother you with how my pager kept ringing all day, for patient’s issues, tasks to do, people to counsel and off course, reminders ! I wished I could smash my pager into pieces, a big source of distraction at work( my opinion, you may not agree).

Had things done in time, discussed all with Dr. Shayan. Our usual pre-round chat about the patients current status and our assessment and plan, complaints about their annoying attendants, and the super annoying attendants of private wing room number 224. I can’t forget this number *fake smile* In between we received few more patients, most of them were there to bother Dr. Zarka. Yes its Chemotherapy time! * sad smile* But my time to displease the UR by constantly asking about the confidential *tee hee*


Pager ringed again, its Dr. Zarka (Oncology Fellow) this time. Finally, the page that made me happy. I knew what’s coming. “Ammara, are you done with your follow ups?” the content of her voice showed she expected a positive answer and she got one. “ Okay, I and Dr. ---( Oncology attending) will be there in 10 minutes, get ready” And there we started making arrangements for the super sonic round. Off course, I broke the bad news about the new chemotherapy patients.

Dr. Zarka’s happy face appeared in expected time. We had our little routine chat on our way to patient’s room about how we missed the breakfast and the craving for it. “Round k bad SNT chaltay hain, let me treat you!”. Her favourite place to grab a pulpy orange juice !


Round Meals..

During rounds, it was fun to hear our consultant speaking, all for the fun of Urdu. I can’t say a Steven Johnson syndrome patient” Ap Saanp ki tarah kainchli badal rahi hain”, he can and he did ! (those who were there can give this a hearty laugh, rest can ignore) . Post round Dr. Zarka’s treat where we talk a lot, laughed stupidly and chew the fat. The only meal at work is done, now a list of un-ending tasks and phlebotomies. Planned and unplanned ones, thanks to the fever spikes! ( NOT)

Lets not bore you again with pager beep-phone-beep, attendants-UR-Staff things and working till late hours thing !

And so the usual Haem/ Onc day passed..

Why can’t every day be Special?

And the seemingly never ending Oncology rotation came to an end. I feel like I learned a lot. Not just Medicine! Met some larger than life people fighting with cancers, some ordinary souls with will power to fight with their notorious disease, My seniors who excel in what they do ( Dr. Zarka & Dr. Shayan) – Inspiration !

I watched many of my patients in miserable conditions everyday all during my rotation, and I thank God for all the blessings and health in life. For the beautiful clouds, the beautiful trees and birds and what not. Thank you God for the beautiful world. And Dear, P310 A I specially wish Peace for you !

Every day is special if we think it is! You don’t have to be a Superman to make it special. Live life’s little joys to the maximum, enjoy every bit of your chocolate brownie, every sip of your coffee, laugh heartily over stupid things. You live once, so make it memorable. Life is beautiful if you live so ! Hard times can be made special, know the spark in yourself ! – No coaxing !

Develop an interest in life as you see it. The People, Things, Music, Literature -The world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself – Henry Miller

Dr Ammara is an intern. She recently rotated in oncology.