Friday, 1 February 2013

Pediatric shift

I'm less than two shifts away from finishing my residency and I thought it was necessary that I ask, nay DEMAND to go to pediatric surgery.

Little adults these small loud creatures are not (hah!).

The wide teary eyes staring back at me while I hold the oxygen mask over the face they belong to with an iron grip are always and I do mean always, wide with fear. Anesthetic induction in kids is definitely a lot more traumatic to them compared to the surgery. It's also a bit traumatic for the anesthesiologist, to be quite honest.

It all starts with some pampering and baby talk and devolves into the eventual "pin him down!" and "please keep the kid from kicking me in the face/scratching off any more of my skin!". I like to call it the "Raya and Sekeena method". The physical immobilization, the mask firmly held over their squirming faces and the terror of it all. Those poor kids.

It's for their own good though and if I have to be the mean guy they have nightmares about for the rest of their life (and there must a shit-ton of kids "dreaming" of my masked face right now), then so be it!

Source :

Friday, 17 June 2011

No Regrets

He was undergoing a metatarsal amputation of the right foot, which means they were chopping off all his toes at the same time. They had already taken his left leg just below the knew. Diabetes tends to do that to you if you don't treat it with the respect and care it deserves.

We gave him spinal anesthesia, so he was awake but silent for most of the operation. I actually thought he was asleep until he suddenly said, " I don't have any toes anymore. Everyone has ten and now I have none. ". He said it with a calm smile on his face as he continued, " But I've had a full life. I've seen the world. Thanks be to God for everything".

I just sat there not knowing what to say. What can I say to that, anyway? It was sad and tragically poetic.

I hope I speak the same words in 40 years or so - minus the part about the toes, of course.

Here's Edith Piaf - Non, je ne regrette rien.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Now, hold on a minute...

Needless to say, the last week has been nothing short of an emotional rollercoaster for all Egyptians. One that has ended in dividing people sharply into two sides; the one that yearns for the facade of stability we've had for years and the one that wants to keep the protests' momentum going until Mubarak finally leaves. This dissent was at its ugliest yesterday when the former group was actually visibly pissed off at the protesters who were being shot at and saying that they deserved it because they brought it on themselves.
Now, I don't care which side you're on but there should be no country on the face of the planet in this day and age, where protesters who are peacefully expressing their opinions - whether you agree with them or not - are shot at while we all stand by with folded arms and annoyed expressions on our faces. The very thought should be inconceivable and I can't believe that people sitting at home all bundled up in front of their TV sets and computers have the nerve to say "well they had it coming, didn't they?".
Don't even get me started on how gullible we've really turned out to be. I'll admit that Mubarak gave quite the speech to plead with his people for a dignified exist, complete with strategically placed pauses and looks of defeat, but are people really that easy to fool? How did half the population do a complete 180 after a single speech? Is it so easy to forget what's been done over the past 3 decades that your desperation for this "mess" to go away gives you the gall to say that these kids have done enough and they should just go home when they've been forced to shift from exercising their God-given rights to fighting for their survival?
How are people still defending him and claiming that the abhorrent criminal activity that's been taking place in the past 2 days in El-Tahrir must have been devised by all the other bad guys in the government, because you know, he's really an O.K. guy once you really get to know him.
The guy's a Goddamn octogenarian who's been in power for 30 years. I think that means that he's earned enough experience over the past few DECADES to disqualify him from being the good guy surrounded by a few bad seeds leading him astray.

You don't need to be of a certain political inclination to realize that what's happening to the protesters in El Tahrir is wrong. They're Egyptians, they're human beings and they have every right to be there.

Thursday, 20 January 2011


It's a fact of life that your parents will always do things that drive you crazy. They will always misunderstand and annoy you. They will sometimes make you feel like choosing the hardest wall in the house and banging your head into oblivion.
One of the problems with getting older is that you tend to realize that no matter how many times you argue, one day they'll be gone and you're going to miss them sorely.

Then you feel like a complete idiot.

I'm a horrible person...

Sometimes I get angry. Get angry at patients, get angry at myself for doing so and eventually get angry at everybody else.
I get angry at patients because they can be so frustrating sometimes. It's horrible because they're so weak, vulnerable, horribly aware of their own vulnerability and where I work, they're often quite destitute. They also give you the vague impression that they're going to be back very soon because they just can't and/or won't take care of themselves. You know that diabetic will be back in less than 6 months to get another toe ( or maybe a whole foot) chopped off. You know that drug addict will be back in less than a month to get another part of him fixed after fighting with another drug addict.Then there are the relatives, who are a whole different ballgame.
So when it's 3 a.m. and patients won't cooperate because they're so terrified or they're insulting because they don't trust us since the only doctors available at 3 a.m. in government hospitals are the really young ones, I tend to lose my temper. I become impatient and I yell. I become pushy and downright harsh.
So when an initially terrified young woman woke up after a C-section and weakly kissed my arm to thank me before I even realized what she was trying to do, I felt like the worst person in the world. I don't deserve any gratitude because even though she might not be aware of how horrible I can be, I unfortunately am.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Sir, you have my undivided attention...

There's an obvious disadvantage to being at the bottom of the professional food chain at a hospital; you are expected to be at the receiving end of everything ranging from priceless medical knowledge - from those actually willing to share it - to... well...crap. The trick to smoothly navigating these everyday involuntary one-way transactions is by having a permanently interested look on your face. You are simply fascinated by the words coming out of your professor's mouth. It doesn't matter if he/she is talking about medicine or what happened to them on their drive over- you shall hang on to their every word.
Try to gradually perfect the balance between having a look of deep interest on your face while you're internally trying to navigate the crowded halls of your mind trying to remember that distant dream you had for yourself and what was it that you really thought at 15 you would be doing at 25.
It gets easier as the days go by and eventually feigning interest isn't so hard.
The downside however, is that you may soon become a sticky professor's favorite fledgling and he or she will seek you - even hunt you down Goddammit - to share with you things they think that you simply must be informed of.
Tread carefully, children.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Didn't see all this coming...

I never started this blog with the intention of neglecting it but I can understand how it looks that way considering I haven't so much as looked in its direction in almost a year.
Anyway...I have my me.
The last time I wrote, I was talking about how difficult it was to get my papers done so that I can graduate and start my residency. Well, a few stacks of paper and many sleepless nights after that, I started my anesthesia and critical care residency.
The funniest thing I've realized about my chosen career after just a few months down its path, is that for someone who puts people to sleep everyday, I hardly get any sleep myself. Whoever thought up 36 hour shifts was obviously devising an extremely advanced way of slowly crushing the collective souls of residents everywhere. It's even harder when you have to sniff that lovely magical knock-out gas that accidentally leaks out of our decrepit machines and builds up in the OR everyday. No wonder coffee isn't cutting it anymore!
Then there are the dee-lightful staff members. I've said it once and I'll say it again; prospective university staff members need psychological evaluations before being released onto the rest of us. I can only smile, nod and say " yes ,sir/ma'am" while wanting to gauge my eye out with a blunt spoon for so long before cracking.
*Sigh*...more on that later..I need to go punch my fist through a wall or something...