I hope it's not too late to say Eid Mubarak, everyone!
Today, I'm on my ON shift; it starts at 10pm until 10am tomorrow.
So I usually use the free time I have during the day to 'live' a little - I wash my clothes; I buy grocery supplies; I edit the pictures I've snapped and share them with you people; I write this blog; I take a joyride on the scooter, letting the road take me on an uncharted adventure through Kampung Paya Luas behind the hospital; and many other stuff unrelated to Medicine.
Initially I didn't plan on getting any Raya leave as I've been taught that sacrifice in the early years of medical profession is a given.
But then, during the departmental Raya meeting, my off day was coincidentally on Raya day 1. So I thought, I might as well get leave on Raya day 2, so I can spend my last Raya as a single person with my family.
Iftar as a single person.
For my department, getting an off day meant working the ON shift the night before. In other words, I was to work on Raya night amidst the happy Takbir and cheerful firework sounds in the night air. Oh, how it'll hurt.
So I informed my parents of my two-day leave and Dad planned to come and fetch me after Raya prayers. I planned to finish my work earlier and leave for prayers earlier (at 9am). I was expecting little work on that night.
Usually as Raya day approaches, the admissions would drop, chronic patients would request for AOR (at-own-risk) discharges, and cases at A&E would request to not be admitted.
But not this year.
Iftar at departmental level.
When I reported for duty, there were more than 10 new admissions that night. What the..!
That's the number of admissions on a normal day until midnight. As it turned out weirdly this year, patients requested to be admitted, not many patients requested for AOR discharge, no deaths and no terminally ill patients. So the ward was choke-full of patients on Raya night.
It's not a problem to clerk new cases, manage them, take blood and present the cases to the MO. Plus, the specialist on-call planned to come the next morning. So, no pressure there too.
The problem was taking the routine morning blood for tests.
That early morning, after finishing rounds with the MO (total new cases: 17), I only started to collect blood at 6am. Blood collection by a junior HO in the medical department usually takes 5 hours if done alone.
I take my jajan breaks and pray Subuh when I got bored or pissed off at veins of an IVDU patient.
I favoured the blue needle since it was small and less traumatic to patients, but I found that it was slowing me down if I didn't get the vein on the initial prick. Fatefully, the supply of blue needles on the blood-taking trolley ran out. So, I decided to use the green needle (a slightly bigger caliber needle).
Surprisingly, my work became a lot faster! It was easier to find runaway veins, hit arteries, draw blood, less sample lysis, and since they're rarely used, there's tons of them on the trolley.
But that deciding factor came too late. I finished at..
So, I missed my Raya prayers.
Dad, who came to fetch me as early as 8am, was forced to wait for me after Raya prayers for 2 hours. I felt horrible for making him wait, but he said that he made use of the spare time learning Arabic via audio CD, so I was a bit relieved.
I slept on the journey back home to Bangi.
My family spent one night and one day in Gopeng, Dad's hometown, visiting relatives, paying respect to those who've passed on and ate a lot of kuih Raya.
I'm sure my younger brothers missed the joyful mood of Raya this year but for me, I enjoyed this little time even more. Somehow, after talking to dozens of strangers, feigning interest in their lives, my communication skills with my relatives have improved.
That, or either I've matured (I don't think it's the latter).
p/s My first pay was spent on duit raya for my brothers and some smaller cousins :)
p/p/s Me - taken yesterday. No weight loss or gain. Macho as ever.