Creative prescription procrastination

Today would have been my first day on the job as a junior doctor. I feel somewhat wistful about it, I would have worked in obs & gynae; the only specialty in medicine I enjoyed. However, just re-reading that sentence tells me that now would not have been the right time.

Medicine is a vocation though; you can be on a plane moving away from the life you had, but people still get sick and they’re not going to care about your internal turmoil when the stuff hits the proverbial. Two entries ago I wrote hoping that no one would fall ill on the flight… oh.

While flying over the middle of nowhere, a passenger announcement requested medical help for an unwell patient. No one moves. I recall swearing quietly under my breath, and made my way to the galley. I introduced myself to the cabin crew and they showed me to the patient who looked unwell, but in no immediate danger.

As I took her history, her symptoms set off some alarm bells and it was impossible to examine her properly given the cabin noise. I felt completely in over my head, and I asked the cabin crew to put out another tannoy for a doctor, otherwise I would have requested the pilot to make an emergency landing. Fortunately, help came in the form of an experienced anaesthetist and he said she was stable enough to continue flying but we should keep an eye on her.

So somewhere over India, I sat in darkness in Business class with a chamomile tea, looking eagle-eyed at the O2 sats monitor while my first patient slept opposite me. I don’t know what the universe was trying to tell me, but it sure has a sense of humour.