Friday, April 20, 2012

Is the MC worth it?

My stomach crumbled, Churned like a butter mixer, Never getting it right. Gripping, and pulling, colicky as they described it. The pain shoots up the spine. I rolled myself in fetal position, trying to relieve the pain, hoping to feel better.

God seemed to show no mercy.

The pain intensified. The alarm rings in the background. Forcing me to drag myself out of bed



I popped another pill, Set myself on autopilot-mode

The clinics were as busy as the usual, heavy. I do my usual, seeing-patients, flipping the slit lamps, swinging it back and forth.

I twitched, squeezed my stomach, and looked away, hoping that the patient did not notice the pain in my eyes. And, surely, he did not. Not that I put on a good mask, simply because, his lens were too cataractous to visualize. I briefly sent him out, and then rush off to the toilet. Oh God, will this colicky pain ever stop?'

Some people say time heals. In my case, time only amplifies the pain. I popped another pill. Not helping much. Paracetamol, Ponstan, even Arcoxia I’ve tried, - what next? Maybe I need some food, I forced down a piece of bread, not much help.  The frequent toilet trips is killing me.

Why not just go to the Emergency Department? Get an MC and go back to rest. –she suggested.

Do I really need that? – I hesitated, trying to put on a strong upfront.

I tried to see a few more patients, but not much progress. The nurse later found me rolled up on  the examination bed. How embarrassing.... They need not need to see me like this. Maybe this was my limit, I need to rest at my own space and privacy.

So, I gave my friend in ED a call and head down to the ED.

Half way, I kind of regretted not asking my staff nurse to wheel me there. I started to feel a little light-headed for a while. No, I cannot faint, i said to myself. I pause and prayed that the pain will go away.

The Emergency was white. Bright. Like those you see in movies. I spotted my friend.

 I told him my problem, straight forward – I AM SICK, I CANNOT WORK, I NEED AN MC.

The problem with doctors, (and man), in general is… well, they are problem solver.  All I asked was for a MC, but they want to solve more.

Another problem with doctors, they follow rules. So, he just had to get me register, and later get his houseman to clerk me. ( my heart said : I just want an MC)

Perhaps my face couldn’t hide the pain.

Short history taken.Likely dysmenorrhea. Differentials: AGE, UTI.

Being all bossy and all, he said to his houseman, - access pain score, set line, send bloods, send urine FEME, give IV morphine stat. STAT.

‘Do I need a branula?’ ( my heart : NO WAY! Just give me my MC please)

He took my left hand in his, a pink branula in the other. ‘you won’t miss right?’ I asked, hoping for reassurance. ‘I’ll try.’ ( my heart : TRY???)

I caught the houseman, Ashok,giggling at the sight.
( my heart: Do you mind screening the curtains? Why? I am human too, and I have every right to be afraid of needles, right?)

I almost cried, the branula was so pain it distracted me from my abdominal pain.

Take blood from the line, he ordered. Not a drop. Maybe I was so scared all my veins got constricted, I cannot be sure. I tried to accommodate, squeeze my palms, but it was hurting me. I gave up. ‘please, if you really want blood, just prick me at my arm again. This hurts.’
 ‘okay- patient refused blood taking’. He said, jokingly.

I think I better call my boss. This would take a while. So, I made the call.
The nurse came with a syringe. ‘What’s that?’ I asked. ‘morphine’ she answered.

I went to look for my friend, their boss.Look.(pause) I don’t think I need morphine. (pause, pause)Morphine is strong. It’s just dysmenorrhea…(bargaining)  I’ve never had morphine before. No, I don’t need morphine.’

‘No worries. Morphine will help with the pain’ he said and gave me the trust-me-look in the eyes.

I am not sure whether it was those kind eyes, or my low-threshold for pain, or my minimal strength and will to fight. And so, I gave in. Whatever you think is best.

The next thing I knew, the nurse pushed that syringe of Morphine. Bolus. So, I officially lost my morphine-virginity…in other words, I am a drug user, officially.

I expected to feel a dash of ‘high’-ness or adrenaline rush.  You know, the way you feel when you are almost drunk, almost. Tip of the tip.

However, it was nothing like that. And whatever happen next was dreadful.

I felt my left arm burning. Like a spike of fire shooting through my veins. I shouted, involuntarily. The pain, was far more worse that my abdominal pain. Sharp. Gripping. Determined.  WHY THE HELL DO THOSE IVDU (intravenous drug users /druggies) JAB THEMSELVES WITH MORPHINE / HEROINE??? TORTUROUS!!! My left arm swelled. Itches. Flares and wheels started to develop. In less than 10 seconds, my left arm was as red as a lobsters’.

I tried to say something, but nothing comes out. Chest tightness.  Gasping. I could feel the airway narrowing.

Help- I uttered.
I can’t breathe.
That was it.

I am only 28. This cannot be it.

I developed an allergic reaction to morphine. IV hydrocortisone stat given. Neb stat.

‘Oh shit. She will kill me’ –He said jokingly.

The thing about doctors, they have a unique sense of humour. 

We joked about life-and-death-situations, we joked at diseases and illnesses.  Others get surprised with these humour.We never thought that, one day, the joke can be on us.

And I, I on the other hand. I am not sure whether to thank him or hate him. To hate him for giving me unnecessary (in my opinion, not necessary) drugs, which gave me a bad allergy reaction AND which could have been even life-threatening. Anaphylaxis, if the bronchospasm was bad enough, one could even end up intubated, ventilated. Should I hate him for that? Or should I thank him for helping me discover my drug allergy. And plus point, it took away the pain.

After all the events, I felt numbed. My body just lay there, incapacitated. Unable to do anything, unable to feel anything else.

I felt weak.Physically, from all the exhaustion. Emotionally, with regrets that I was not strong enough to fight the pain, that I had to rely on drugs, which mind you, could have killed me.
Sure enough, the pain went away. The morphine did its job. Maybe I should thank him for that. I was very sleepy after that.

And in the end. In the end, I did get my MC.
I slept off the whole afternoon, pain free.

All in all, was it worth it? I cannot be sure.  


NB: Health professionals are perhaps the people who LEAST take care of their own health, and perhaps the most stubborn, difficult patients of all... frequent defaulters and non-compliers.. or not...


  1. This has nothing to do with your post..
    Your new layout is cute :>

  2. Nu-Chan: thanks!! actually i just changed it 3 days ago.. this new template allows the reader to select the display/layout according to their preferences, (note at the top left option) whether classic/sidebar/flip card/magazine/mosaic/snapshot/timeslide... ^^

  3. i really respect you malaysian doctors for your hardwork and dedication. i hope one day i will be able to serve as good as you

    1. I cannot wait for you to join me in this... but do remember, one important lesson i have learnt is, you need to first take good care of your own health. only then, you will have capacity to take good care of the health of your patients ^^ all the best!


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of love

Today, i heard a story which was not a story of falling...
of living in the dark end of winter turmoil..
instead, it was a love story..
of a couple who did not live happily ever after...
but they live, loving each other..