Broken down

Ambulance conduction

On the latter half of my Neurology rotation, all of the hospital's CT scan machines have broken down. They have all snapped after months of being overworked, their scheduled maintenance procedures interrupted by serious pleas of oily residents handling many patients at the brink of death: bleeding brains, complicated abdominal masses, and you know what. It couldn't have been more timely.

This breaking down of the machines could have been a metaphor for what I was going through at the time; I wasn't a machine, though, but I wondered how it would have felt to have a clone—there were so many things to be done. My rotation made me appreciate my friends who are training in Neurology: they must really love what they do to be able to do it excellently day in and out.

The absence of functioning CT machines made it doubly difficult to schedule scans. To evaluate, say, the progression of a brain hematoma, or to rule out the occurrence of a new infarct, we needed to take the patients out on pass to cross Taft Avenue to reach a private diagnostics lab that, at the time, rejoiced at the quadrupling of their CT scan operations. Our misery, at least, was making other entities happy.

It was, to be honest, a vast change from what I had been used to.  For instance, I had to deal with Radiology residents face-to-face on a daily basis, risking the fact of being rejected, which apparently happens all the time, given the limited hospital resources and the unlimited barrage of patients needing help. "No, our schedule for MRI is already full," or "This isn't an emergency at all; this can wait" meant I had to find other means to have it done. A life, after all, was at stake. I also had to deal with the absence of manpower; I extracted the blood specimens I had ordered in the chart. I have done so many "conductions*" that the only entity I hadn't conducted was an orchestra. I wasn't in my comfort zone, and I had to remind myself to focus on the infarct rather than the CBG trends.

I'm glad it's finally over. One must get away from one's comfort zones to grow; I hope I have achieved that end.

Many thanks to my friends in Neurology, especially my senior Danni, my roommate Tom (who was my senior for a few duties), and the calm and composed Rhain, for the warm welcome and for making my stay there worthwhile.


To conduct a patient means to go accompany him for a procedure or imaging test, lest something bad happens in transit.

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