Disclaimer: I’m sorry for the subtleties that comes with this note. Those who know the real story behind it would be in the know, and those who don’t, maybe it’s not time for you to know yet.

I found that lately it’s heartbreaking to see people in the stretcher, coming back from OT. Recently I saw the nurses pushing back patients to their respective beds, and it suddenly occurred to me that I’ve never really searched within me, what I actually felt all those times, one and two years ago. I learnt from the course about ‘Grief and Suffering’ by Hospis Malaysia that in order to understand your response to your surrounding, you should search and understand your own heart.

I can’t believe I’ve been under GA for four times in my life. They may be for some small things but they still are significant. I realised with a jolt yesterday, and it was even carried on into my nightmares….

Maybe I’m a doctor, but at times it could be more scary, knowing what may happen when you trust your life to the anaesthetist and surgeon. Maybe it’s true, ignorance is bliss.

A nice anaesthetist would do a lot of good for the nervous patient. Calmly asking us our medical background, our allergies, listening to our lungs. Mine actually knew Dr Mary Cardosa, having worked in Selayang before.

It was an adventure, really. Experiencing what we’ve always sent others for.

That wait for OT call…trying to read a magazine or two….

And when the nurses finally come you do wonder where the hell is everyone else….my advice is be sure to accompany your loved ones to OT because they’d really really hope that you’ll be there holding her/his hands. It’s scary, you know…

Again, it helps when the anaesthetist is nice and friendly. He was the person I looked for when I arrived with my blurry vision in the OT.

“So where shall I put the line?”
“My line is not difficult, you know….I have large veins. Put here.” I pointed to the dorsum of my hand.
“Oh no….I don’t want to put it there. I think this is better.” He pointed to the larger vein on my wrist.
“I don’t want. That will be painful.” My heart said, I’ve always put the IV line THERE for my patients. Oh no…
“But I’m not confident to put it there, I want to put it here. I don’t want to poke you more than once.”
Again, it has been my prayers each time before I poke a patient. I thank God now….
“I’m sure you can put it here….last year the MA downstairs in the emergency simply put a green line here…”
“No, I’m not confident. I still want to put this on your wrist.”
“Nevermind, it’s a baby branula. See..” It’s the yellow one we use for subcutaneous line in Palliative Care. I was relieved. “Ok.”

It was not painful. I’m serious. Just a small prick.

Fentanyl…..not painful.
Propofol….oooooouucch!!! My wrist all burnt!!I looked at it….ok, it’s not red. It’s not scalding. And the anaesthetist told the nurse to take off the BP cuff. I thought, this is soooo painful! Lucky I know I’m going to sleep soon….I’m going to sleep soon….I’m going to…..

“Maria, wake up. It’s all done.”
Urgh….groggy…I just want to sleep….let me sleep….

“My jaw hurts,” I told my anaesthetist.
Hey, last year the other doctor massaged my jaw a bit….haha…but it’s oww kayy…

All the hassle and worry had masked the fact of a loss. All the hassle and worry after that would mask anything you feel. The bills, the discharge, the travel home. Funny this now feels like a pathological grief, where you don’t feel it until months later.

Lessons learnt.
It’s worth having a nice doctor, who would help you through tough times.
It’s worth being a nice doctor, hoping that when you’re in trouble, a nice one will help you too.
Be there with your loved ones when they’re going through this journey. It’s scary.
When you’ve lost something, don’t worry about mourning over it. Try not to pretend to be strong for a few days at least. A human needs to feel and needs to mourn. But do wake up after that.
Pray that you only need to poke your patients once for blood each time.
When you’re in pain, it’s hard to ‘score’ the pain.
When you’re in pain, you just wish that the pain goes away, or else you’d just want to sleep through the pain.
Propofol injection BURNS!!