The Not So Brief Wondrous Duty of a Pediatric Intern

I was feeling awful on my 24-hour duty last Friday; I had to leave my post at the pediatrics ward (after doing all possible IV insertions). Scribbled the local number of the Female Doctors’ Quarters on a blue post-it and left it at the nurses’ station, told them I had to retreat to the quarters and instructed them to call me if they need me because I was having menstrual cramps.Uggh. It’s no fun being a girl.

I had to lie down on my bed but trying not to doze off because I might not hear the phone ring if they need me at the ward. I have stacks of books in my bed—- Novak’s Gyne, a USMLE reviewer, Obstetrics by Panlilio and MIMS. I have another book stashed in my backpack…for guilty reading because it’s non-medical. So I nursed my pelvic  pain, while secretly reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao —- a book I bought about a month ago after feeling really rotten at the hospital, went to NBS and picked it off the shelf just because it had “Winner of the Pulitzer Prize” label on it. The intern escaped in her own world. It’s not total escape though because the phone was just a foot away and I was half-reading the novel and half-anticipating the phone to ring. It rang twice but they were asking for some doctor other than me. They didn’t call, so after an hour of reading guiltlessly, I shuffled slowly to the ward, thinking if I should get an analgesic shot on my deltoids (no tablets for us, we get injections for pain if we need it once we are on duty—that’s aggressive management ).

I spent the night catching babies at the OR that were being delivered through C-section. Had 3 normal spontaneous vaginal deliveries in the morning but the babies were crying, pink and kicking so I  ordered the routine newborn care and medications—-Hepa B vaccine, Vitamin K and Eryhtromycin eyedrops. After doing Ballard Scoring for neuromuscular maturity rating for each baby, I  assumed the fetal position and summoned sleep at my usual place on the bed behind the neonatal ICU.I have nothing to worry about because Ma’am Malou, my favorite night-duty nurse lets me get some decent sleep. She refuses to wake me up even if there is a delivery, unless the baby does not cry, is cyanotic and needs emergency intervention. She tells the other nurses to let me sleep for at least 2 hours straight because I have been on my feet all day.For that night, I think I slept from 2am to 6 am, which is oversleeping for me.

On my previous duty, I slept on the couch at the pedia office.My residents have been joking me why I no longer ask to take my usual break to freshen up at the quarters at night.I just grinned. Since the death of Doc Greta, everybody has been evasive about sleeping and going to the quarters for whatever reason at night because it’s colder than usual and an eerie atmosphere hangs in the air. I had to laugh when Sheena told me that she and Doc Kat shared a bunk and slept side-by-side holding a rosary in one hand when they were on-duty last Thursday, even if there were 4 empty bunks beside them. Everyone has been ultra paranoid. We all believe her soul must be restless because of the way she died—untimely,unexpected and complicated.The IM residents have been scheduling brushing their teeth  at the quarters with a buddy and never alone because of what they might see or hear. I’m a wimp when it comes to unknown spirits and elementals,but if people I know die, I’m not that fearful. How can you be afraid of someone familiar? Sadness prevails over fear; How can they possibly harm you anyway.


3 thoughts on “The Not So Brief Wondrous Duty of a Pediatric Intern

  1.,haven’t finished yet…am reading it alternately with microbiology para waay guilt feelings hehe.Ma Oscar conversation ta once I’m done.When ta pa Palawan?hehe 🙂

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