Unpredictable days

I wouldn’t say that I’m ecstatic working in the A&E Dept. Some days have been good, some days not so good. But I will say that it has been interesting. Quite an eye-opener to the work and service the A&E provides to filter the patients warded into the hospital for further care. Makes one a little more appreciative of their work and really, the skills they need to acquire to know practically everything there is to know about the human body. What more in HKL, the national referral centre.

A lot of things are unpredictable here in the A&E so one has to be on his/her toes ready all the time. For one, the workload’s unpredictable. Let me give an example, last Tuesday there was a torrential rainfall resulting in massive traffic jams practically everywhere in KL and even more so in the roads around HKL. I was stationed in the Red (Resus) Zone and there were practically no patients coming in for hours. The yellow and green zones were quiet that evening too, simply because nobody could get in or out of the hospital grounds because of the flood and jams.

The patients and cases coming in are very unpredictable. Everything under the sun comes in for treatment. On that same day, I visited the yellow zone and there was a young girl who came in almost paralyzed like after she has a whole body muscle cramp. She was practically on the bed, only able to blink her eyes. She couldn’t respond to us when we asked her to, she couldn’t even move her muscles at all. We know quite well that she could hear and understand us because she had tears rolling down her eyes when we spoke to her. We did all the test that we can in the A&E side and tried cracking our heads for her diagnosis before the neuromedical team came and took over the case. Now this is the part that I find a little lacking in the A&E. We will never know the true definite diagnosis of the patient. Our job really is the receive patients, stabilize them as much as we can diagnose at the first hours of their arrival and send them where they most need to be – either back home, or under observation, or to be warded for proper treatment. I wished I would know what was wrong with that young lady.. I guess I will have to ask the doctor in charge that day.

The things these patients tell you or ask of you can be very unpredictable. The stories they tell, the requests they make, the excuses they give. Amazingly funny. Sometimes eyebrow raising.. sometimes there are very sad stories too. Today, there was a young lady who came in with both her eyes extremely red and swollen. She claimed that her brother was sniffing/smoking drugs and had accidentally blown the ash/smoke into her eyes. From the examination, there were some very serious damage to her eyes. She had a chemical injury caused by alkaline substances (which is worse than being injured by acid). Best of all, she was very comfortable. She was laying down, very quiet and not complaining much. We suspected she could be high on some of the drugs. More probing later on finally revealed that this mother of 2 young girls was also involved in the drug-high session. Sigh.

Alright. I’m almost late. Gotta get ready to go in for another of the many night shifts. It’s a red resus night… with the specialist on call who has extremely unpredictable mood swings. Sigh.


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