May 23, 2017

Revisiting 13 Reasons Why

Back in 2012, I have made an entry about my Kindle app on my tablet. I was a huge nerd on novels (still am. really) and I am always proud of my e-book collection that I downloaded over the Internet. I organized those books using a software called Calibre, where I can do custom editing of the title of the books with a numbering system. That way, all my books can be displayed in the chronological order in my Kindle (I mainly collected novel series, not so on stand-alone novels). See, I already sound like a dork trying to explain it. Really, try looking at my collection 5 years ago here:

Now, it will be such a shame if I don't compare my collection as of now with my old collection, wouldn't it? 

Anyway, there's this show over Netflix called "13 Reasons Why" that is generating a lot of buzz for these couple of months or so. I know it's a bit late but when the first time I heard about it I was like, "What? 13 Reasons Why?? How on Earth can they make a series coming out of 1 novel?" And  I remembered that I read that book waaaay back in 2012 it's like no, don't, it's a hellava sad story why would you kill your viewers with kind of story (I hate sad story by the way). Nevertheless, the novel was breathtaking and although you know the premise of the story, once you started reading you are compelled to see it through the ending,just like the protagonist of the story has to deal with Hannah's tapes.

So, seeing that me being invalid and writhing in pain for another week or so at home, I might use this window of recuperating to open back my wound and once again, into the breach of the life and death of Hannah Baker in 13 Reasons Why.

May 7, 2017

The Weekly Collective Thoughts

It's amazing how being a different department changes the mood you are in. I remember the despair and my reluctance to go to work. Of how I will get palpitations and tremors dreading the hours before having to don my clothes and walk out the room to face the horrors I will find in the hospital.

This is the sorry state I am living in for the past, hmm, one month? I had been sleeping on the floor for so long my bed is just there collecting dusts. All my (clean) laundry I just dumped them on the bed and not bothering to fold them because let's face it, I will use them back again soon. So why bother?

At the time of writing this down though, I just cleaned up my room to the state I'm proud to say suitable for human to live.

It's not like Orthopaedics is any easier. I have almost no knowledge about it, make it none at all, but the environment does really help me to learn. The bosses are easy-going but do not lax at work. They don't nag, they don't find your fault, and most importantly, they teach. That's a hugeee bonus.

The ward work can be a bit hectic every morning as we have to complete the list for the next day operation, but once it is settled, the work is manageable and very tolerable. The working style in Ortho is different from O&G and I will have to take some time to familiarize myself with it. 

The only thing I am not comfortable yet about Ortho is the fact we have to be on alert with Whatsapp texts. We share a Whatsapp group with all the MOs and the specialists, so when they ask for something it has to be answered. It will be a challenge for me as I do keep my phone lying around and not attending to texts straight away.

I just left my phone to take a dump and when I returned there are 132 texts???

But so far, I no longer dread coming to work. I know even Orthopaedics has its own emergency cases like PE, fat embolism syndrome, shock, DKA (a lot of DFU here, FUUUUUU), but the level of stress I encountered here is much more less than I found in O&G. See how much I am comparing Ortho with O&G? Hahah.

Okay it's time for some power nap. I am working PM shift today, so let's hope my night is gonna go well this time (the last time one of my patients had to be intubated in ward and the post night morning there's another patient went desat with fever and shit that is suspiciously PE or FES). Just my luck, huh?

Apr 30, 2017

We are What We Repeatedly Don't Do

One of the main reasons I write about my housemanship journey is because I want people to benefit from reading a first-hand experience of becoming a housemanship in this country. When I was a medical student, I was grateful to find a number of blogs that share their experiences of becoming doctors and if not completely, at least I had a rough idea what it is like to be one. Of course, the reality is a bit different as I figured it out now.

The other main reason for me to blog is as a way of practice to do self reflection of my actions. Now, self reflection to me simply means to objectively evaluate yourself as if you are evaluating other people and analyzing what went well or wrong and how to improve on those things. Way back in my first year of medical school, the first ever assignment in my course is on how to do proper reflection. Remember that reflection is a crucial tool for a doctor for reasons that doctors need to periodically reevaluate their standard of care and to always improve their practice.

No no this isn't doing reflection. This is checking yourself out.

It is not simple to make a self-reflection. One, it is very difficult to view myself and having to admit that I do wrong. It is a horrible feeling. Two, often more than not, I don't even realize that what I do is not right. And three, I make justifications for those actions of mine - a big hurdle when trying to improve oneself. So here I am, struggling with words to convey what I wanted to reflect. But, I need to do it, no matter how ugly it paints me.


Four weeks ago, I was once scheduled to work in OT (operation theatre) for one day to assist the surgeons with gynaecological operations. On that day turned out to have only one operation and that operation was not in the morning like they normally do but in the afternoon. Now, one of the jobs for houseman working in the OT is to do morning / pre-op reviews in the gynae ward for patients who are scheduled for that day's operations. 

Well, after doing my review, I thought that, well, I was free until afternoon. It made sense at that time because that's usually what happened. They will review their patients who will go for OT then waited until the patients being pushed for op in the morning. What I did? I went back to my hostel room to chill as I thought I don't have to do anything else for the morning.

It turned out the bosses noticed that the OT housemen (me and my colleague) were both not in the gynae ward during the morning rounds. Sure, the housemen in charge of that wards were there, but apparently the OT housemen were supposed to be there as well. Well, colour me surprised because they made a really big fuss about it. We were scolded by this annoyingly loud MO who later called the specialist, the MO in charge of the housemen, the HO leader, then telling everyone from the sisters to the staff in OT about what happened. We were asked to do an explanation letter and to meet Dr A, our specialist in charge. If you want to know how to do an explanation letter, here is what I wrote:

Dr A said that for houseman issues with attitude problems, we are going to be extended for a month. It's not a straight-away direct extension, for in my case, because I told them that I only went downstairs to study in the houseman's room, and that I was only away for an hour (it took me only 5 minutes from my room to the ward), I safely finished my O&G without any extension. Heck, I suspected they had forgotten the thing altogether. 

But why am I telling all this? There is one main point I'm trying to make now and that is:

We are what we repeatedly do (or don't do).

To understand this, I have to elaborate on my habits during my 5+1 years of studying in medical school. As a student, I was never a model student. I was not hardworking nor were I passionate enough about what I was studying. If there were lectures that I thought too boring or didn't make sense, I would skip going. If there were instances where teachings in the hospital were cancelled or during rare unsupervised self-directed studies, I would go back home in a heartbeat rather than to stay in the hospital to watch procedures or to clerk any patients. In simpler terms, I was lazy.

This 'cutting-corners' habit of mine, now that I reflect on it, persists until now. It makes me realize that habits that we develop during medical school will affect how you work as a houseman. If during your studies you don't familiarized yourself with procedures such as inserting catheters to male patients (like I didn't), you will painfully be ashamed when admitting that you don't remember how to insert one when asked by the staff or your bosses (like what happened to me yesterday). In short, what we repeatedly do will help us in the long run and what we don't practice, well, we won't.

If I got the chance to advice my past self who were still studying in medical school, I would want him (me) to change my habits as soon as possible. Old habits do die hard, and I am trying so hard to change it. Do a lot and a lot of procedures, familiarize yourself with it, and start having the right attitude. Do not cut corners, do not skip things for anything, and make sure no jobs are left not done.

But if you are like me, who are already messed up but aware of it, I think there are still ways to salvage the situation. I, for one, fully recognize my distasteful attitude that I need to fix. I am aware of the many procedures I am poor at. I don't run away from doing them anymore. Like the other day, I failed my ABG taking so many times. Even when I thought I got it right for the first time in my life, the results highly suspected it to be from an arterial line. And the recent shameful male catheterization - I am so stupid for not consulting my seniors and went ahead doing it wrongly. I know better now, but how I wished I don't have to learn it from mistakes.

I think I can change. I want to be better. I don't want people to badmouth me or talk about me behind my back. I don't want to be the houseman whose his name when mentioned during conversations will result in a collective groan and sigh from other people. But to change, I have to accept this. I have to accept that I have a problem and I need to work on it. I need to work out how to work well in the ward fast. I need to be be able to do this all by myself.

And for that, I need to start repeatedly do the things I didn't do before, and become someone with a better work habit. May Allah ease.

Apr 27, 2017

From Bumps to Bones

Oh hello there, my blog of mine. Long time no see.

These past two weeks are the most hectic moments of my life. Last week I had my assessment with my specialist. It was very nerve-wrecking. My mind keeps blanking out and I was having thought block. All my answers are short and incomplete. By the end of the assessment I strongly suspected that she began to lose her patience with me but strangely enough I was amazed that she passed me.

Then she asked to see my logbook. Crap this is where I know I'm gonna fail. My logbook still got a few procedures unsigned. Then she said that I had a few hours to complete the logbook or else she's gonna extend me. I was stressed at that point. I honestly thought that she will give me a few days to complete the logbook after being assessed but lazybum me clearly was mistaken.

Yet another magical thing happened - I got my logbook and my dreaded unsigned green form signed in the few hours before the 5 pm deadline. I had to withstand a few last verbal slashes from my bosses but alas, it was completed. I returned to my specialist to get it finalized and then to send my logbook to the admin.

There I handed in my logbook and received a letter and a brand new logbook for my second posting - ORTHOPAEDICS! A second posting already! You have to realize that I did not expect this at all. After months of having palpitations at the thought of having to go to work in O&G department, finally I don't have to anymore. I'm a second poster houseman now. The realization has not sank in yet for me, not even until now.

But that began the vicious cycle of the famous gruesome tagging period. I did not even have any end of posting (EOP) off days when I'm finishing my first posting. The next day I began my 10 day tagging from 7 am till 10 pm with no off days whatsoever. Which means, the last time I don't have to go to work for one whole day was on one of the weekends of 8th or 9th April. Bloody hell no wonder I'm so tired and cranky.

The tagging stories in Ortho will have to wait. I'll be writing again once I got real free time. Actually I'm supposed to be studying right now as my assessment for my off-tag with my mentor is tomorrow! Again, as usual - I AM SO DEAD. LORD, HAVE MERCY!

Apr 3, 2017

Spotify Playlist #1: First Rotation

I have this Spotify playlist entitled "First Rotation" which strictly include only the songs that I love singing myself out loud alone shamelessly in the car and that I've came across while in my first posting as a houseman. I tend to compile songs into the time period I listened to them. It brings a hella mixed memories, both suppressed and missed. Well, this playlist is kinda short, but here they are in the order of encounter (except Adele songs, which are timeless yet instant):

Mar 29, 2017

Gaji Houseman Kontrak Cikai

I have precisely 40 minutes before having to go to work today at 5 pm. Funny, I haven't visited this dear blog of mine for weeks and reading back my last entry and that same worry of mine is still present. If ever, it is getting worse. I have now only three weeks before my supposedly end of posting date (EOP).

My phone keeps pinging with Whatsapp notifications from my work group chat. There is supposedly a departmental teaching and the MO is angry because currently only 11 of us are attending it now. LOL. I only need only one more teaching to go to in my logbook and there is very abysmal chance for me to waste it on my pre-night day.

A week ago the SPM results came out and as always, there is a lot going about people wanted to pursue Medicine and wanting to become a doctor. It's the same story every year. People look up to the profession and while we have been increasingly aware of the true working condition the doctors are experiencing and the public's general perception of it, a lot of you guys still, adamantly and vehemently, persist in wanting to become a doctor.

Well, for most of my part whining and wooing about my shitty experience being a lousy houseman, I will not discourage you guys to try. I still don't feel any special being a doctor - I think you are not meant to feel that way anyway; a doctor is not a superhero that can do everything and being a doctor doesn't entitled you to lord over anyone else (get the hint, malignant MOs). Being a doctor means you will sacrifice a lot of things, and by coming into terms with the inevitable future only then you can begin to settle down and embrace the hellhole of being a doctor.

Anyway, for those of you wondering about a houseman's pay, and still looking at salary as a factor to pursue Medicine in Malaysia, let me show you the pay slip as a bonus:

Oh shit it's 4.30 pm! I need to pray and start preparing to go to work! See ya!