Four o’clock in the morning.
Five hours into the night shift. It has been so stressful.

I almost entered a cold war with a nurse (How embarrassingly childish, I know, sigh…).
My hands shook like a wimp when I threaded the ET tube down the bougie into the
lady’s trachea.
I felt like a complete idiot after speaking in circling thoughts to the medical registrar.
I found I had nothing to offer at all, having just certified an old woman dead
with her husband sobbing harder and harder beside.
I’ve never even known what to say in these situations.

This is totally not about the grandeur of doctors realising how little humans can do,
But rather how little I know – how unable and how incompetent I am,
And how frighteningly unloving, unjoyful, unpeaceful, impatient, and unkind I can be,
When dealing with all sorts of people, in all sorts of situations, four o’clock in the morning.

In between the days and nights when things are going smoothly and happily,
I really thank God for this realisation.

It makes me go back to Him.

15 responses to this post

  1. // reply // #

    I always think about how the instructors in nursing school prepare us for dealing with doctors. The tell us horror stories about how impatient and mean doctors are, and that they don’t care about the patients as much as we are supposed to. I really love reading your journal because it brings me back to the real world after 8 hours of doctor bashing. :) You say that you are unloving but the fact that you cared enough to write about it shows that you are. I would love to work with you someday.

    • // reply // #

      whow, i can’t believe you get taught that doctors are mean in nursing school!! i hope that doesn’t brainwash too many of you haha. let’s all try to get along; as a junior doctor, dealing with aggressive nurses who think they know everything REALLY tires me out… ;)

      oh thanks for commenting!! i take your last statement as a big compliment :) you take care

  2. // reply // #

    Chin up! Those are the time we learn from. :)

    (The picture is neat! I love the fisheye reflection distorting the environment.)

    (Also, these are the situations where I never know what to say – encouragement? empathy? at any rate, rest on God; those are the best moments to do so, if not every moment.)

    • // reply // #

      thanks for the comment :)
      yea, i thought the fisheye mirror thingy was cool so i snapped a picture of it (i don’t usually take a photo of myself – i really don’t, honest!! haha)

      the hardest part with facing the family of someone who has died is the fact that I know if the patient didn’t know Jesus, I just can’t think of any comforting words to say… Gosh, I’m such a pessimist!! Maybe I need to drink sugar drinks or something

      • // reply // #

        Nah, that’s tough. You know, though, and maybe it’d just upset them more, it could be a perfect opportunity for a bit of witnessing? It doesn’t have to be in their face. Just a passing word of evidently Christian encouragement.

        I don’t know. It’s easy to say things like this, but actually being in the situation is so much harder.

        Some sugar drinks might not hurt, though. ;)

  3. // reply // #

    I never like to see a doctor. :) But if I have to see one, I wish he/she were just like you.

    The “war” is over now?

    • // reply // #

      yea i haven’t seen the nurse since that night hahah. it could be her last night so she was getting a little tired or whatever. i hate it when i get into quarrels with nurses hahah!

  4. Anonymous
    // reply // #

    Hope you find in HIM a sense of renewal and rejuvenation. We, as humans, do have limitation with our capacity to be loving, patient and competent when we are tired, stressed and overwhelmed. The fact that you are so aware of your emotion shows maturity. Gambate and Peace be with you.

    I went to Wellington Hospital for tummy ache on Sunday’s morning. Waited for an hour for the doc to see me. But can’t complained about the nurses. They were awesome.


    • // reply // #

      thank you for your words. yea i have to constantly remind myself to return to Him – the branch dries up when it leaves the vine.

      how’s your tummy ache now? are you ok?
      the ED nurses are usually top-notch and on-to-it.

  5. Anonymous
    // reply // #

    emergency place

    hey joseph,does any people come in at night by an ambulance?

    • // reply // #

      haha, of course!! sometimes it’ll be an “Code 1” emergency and i would rather they not happen as it disrupts my night shift routine quite a bit haha.

  6. // reply // #


  7. // reply // #

    Hey (: I knew it, NOT all Doctors are stuck up, rude, ridiculous, mean etc etc. Sighs, I always get challenged by my lecturer when I said, “But, ma’am NOT ALL DOCTORS are like that” And she’d said – Stop being naive, they are rude, indifferent, snobbish, higher-than-thou-better-than-all, egoistic people and they have absolutely terrible handwriting. O_O (I personally DO NOT AGREE)

    Btw, I’m a soon-to-be-Enrolled Nurse if all goes well. So, thanks, for helping me keep faith, and remind me, that afterall, doctors are but human too (: And, just so you know, I absolutely DO NOT like aggressive nurses, they are but Big bullies that we can do without sometimes, sighs. And yes, I cop it too all the time. As they say, Nurses EAT THEIR YOUNG. Oh oh, before I scare you, your Dad, Uncle Sia recommended me via my Mum, to pop by here to have a read. (: I’ll be keeping tune!

    • // reply // #

      hey jovina!
      i find this remarkably interesting as you’re obviously not the first person to describe how student nurses get “brainwashed” in nursing school to believe doctors as rich and proud tyrants!! gosh! and thanks for standing up for us haha. that having said, some nurses are very nice to work with.

      thanks for popping by and thanks for the comment! i look forward to hearing from you again :)

  8. // reply // #

    (: A multidisplinary team can’t work without the other members anyways. I like to say – there is not I in Team (: So yeap! Yea, you’d be hearing from me. Sometimes, we all, need a little back up so don’t worry about it. I have friends who are Doctors and they are a far cry from the described Arrogant B and B my lecturer insists they are. Likewise, I’ve worked with very NICE doctors too, intern or non-intern ones (: They have been very supportive, generous with smiles if compared to the nurses I have to work alongside with, sighs.. Beggars can’t be choosers. On a side note, not all nurses are that bad. Having said that, I believe NO ONE can be that EVIL (: We are all softies at the end of the day, I like to believe. Hehe!

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