A Really Bad Week

Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash

Last week was a series of lows.

I can’t even describe it. It was a case of the proverbial faeces hitting the proverbial fan. Multiple times.

I started the week feeling incredibly tired from the weekend. Nothing unusual, just a tad more Monday blues than normal. But I didn’t think anything of it.

I ran a few errands on Monday and Tuesday: sorted a few things out on eBay, put off writing a blog post, some running. I was slowly beginning to feel a bit overwhelmed with all the things I was juggling. And to top it all off, it felt like I was coming down with something. And instead of really tackling those issues, I found solace in lying in bed watching Youtube videos, just something to take my mind off everything.

Then came Wednesday. I had my morning clinic and then went on a home visit to review an elderly man with back pain. The symptoms had resolved by the time I got there so I made my way to the hospital for the weekly afternoon teaching. I grabbed a Subway on the way, even though I’d been avoiding buying lunches because I am trying to save. But I’d been so tired, I hadn’t prepared anything to bring in to work and eat, I must.

My supervisor grabbed me as soon as I arrived, so that we could have our mandatory introductory session (which we have for the start of each placement). She asked me how I was and all of a sudden I just offload a tsunami of emotions, mostly about how deflated I felt etc, etc. She gave me a funny look: concern/surprise/worry and told me she wanted to see me again in two weeks. I caught her off guard but to be honest, she caught me off guard as well. Saying it out loud made it all seem a bit more real. I’m not sure why it all came spilling out like that and I kept thinking about it, all the way through teaching.  I had some idea in my head that the medical postgraduate team were going to put me on red alert or something and start watching my every move.

By 8, I was fast asleep, I was just too tired and achy to fight it any longer.

I got to work Thursday morning. Settled into my clinic. First patient didn’t arrive and I’d left my GP bag in the car (the one I use on house visits and that I had taken home with me the day before). I quickly went out to get it before the next patient arrived. I couldn’t find it. Weird. I called home and asked if someone had taken it out of the car. No one had.

I looked all around the car, panic rising. Where could it have gone? Eventually, I ran out of places to look and I had to walk back to my supervisor and let her know. I felt so responsible and stupid. I’d only been there (at the GP practice) for 2 weeks, and this really wasn’t the way I wanted to form an impression. I felt like I let them all down.

I went to the police station later on that day. My expectations were low; I knew it’d be unlikely they would find an unmarked generic black bag, but I needed to report it. The policewoman I met made me feel 10 times worse. She had a really accusing tone. One of the questions she asked me: “how do you know the bag was stolen” left me dumbfounded. I stared at her confused, I looked at my mum, and then back at her. I didn’t understand what she wanted me to say. There were other things she said that again made me feel like she was judging me or making assumptions about me. The whole experience was uncomfortable and unnecessarily so.

So, all in all, not a great week.

 

 

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6th August 2017

unprepared

I worked a locum shift during the weekend. Nothing stressful, just an admin shift. I pretty much sat around all day, flicking through paper and typing entries onto a computer. I expected it to be a chilled shift, so I didn’t even bother wearing my stethoscope. This particular shift meant that I was sort of spread across different wards, but I didn’t have any clinical duties, so I wasn’t seeing patients anything like that.

That all changed one minute to the end of my shift. I was called over by a nurse to review an unresponsive lady. I felt so unprepared. Like I said, I wasn’t expecting to do anything clinical, I’d left my stethoscope in my bag. And I know the training that we get gives us what we need to do when a person becomes acutely unwell. I don’t know why, but in that moment I felt really unprepared. I went over and kind of went through the steps of assessing this elderly lady. To me, she wasn’t unresponsive but it’s hard for me to know how well she’d been an hour before. I don’t know how she’s like normally. I try to examine her, whilst giving some instructions to the nurses and dodge around 3 family members. It all felt very haphazard.

The medical registrar came and took over, and he must have thought I was slow or something because he just did everything himself.

Driving out an hour later then I should have been, I just felt deflated. I felt like I could have done so much better. And I use the excuse that I’ve feel like I’m out of the loop after having done surgery for so long but really, is that a reason?

I was thinking about it all the way home. Just picking over the situation again and again.

It’s hard to remember exactly what happened because my mind was somewhere else. So this is was what I think happened: I’m trying to join a dual carriageway with three lanes. I can see two cars, one blue car in the middle lane and another in the furthest lane (right lane). I look right, then left and then start to pull out. Then I break suddenly, to stop myself crashing into the blue car speeding past in front of me. I’m sure it wasn’t there before so I wonder whether it swapped lanes when I looked away.

And I mention this because, it made me think. I was so concerned about how stupid I looked and how I did a bad job. I took that issue which was self contained (the patient was ok, the registrar had reviewed her) and I made it affect my driving to the point where I could have been in an accident. That would have been a much bigger problem and I’m really glad I narrowly avoided that.

So, this really is a lesson for me, more than anything else. Be more careful and don’t make a bigger mess of things.

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5th May 2017

lunch

At 1 o’clock, I went to the fridge to get my lunch. If there’s one thing I look forward to during a shift, it’s lunch time. Half an hour of (supposedly) uninterrupted break time. So when I found a good point between jobs to get lunch, I dropped everything and headed straight to the staffroom, smug  in the knowledge that I wouldn’t need to line up for the same carb-loaded meal I had yesterday (pizza and chips). I opened the fridge, nothing immediately jumped out to me, so I had another look. No lunch. Stay calm, there is probably a reasonable explanation.

Turns out the reasonable explanation was that one of the health care assistants had thrown it away. What, with the container? No, the container was safe. The contents, not so safe. She apologised profusely but said she was just doing her job.

I didn’t have anything to say. I was not happy. Just one more reason why I resent the system.

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8th February 2017

Photo by Robert Zunikoff on Unsplash

Wasn’t one of my best days at work (I’ve been having a run of bad days). There’s been an issue that’s been causing a bit of tension between me and 2 of my colleagues since around December. Finally, after avoiding the issue, we decided we’d get together and discuss it on Monday.

It’s been a source of anxiety for me and I’m not sure why. Every time I think about the topic and the fact that it’s still unresolved, I would get a churning feeling pretty much automatically. I would randomly think about it whilst doing other things and try brace myself for that feeling. It passes quickly but it just compounds the issue, making it feel worse than it should do.

We finally decided to talk about it today (Wednesday) especially as our meeting on Monday fell through (which didn’t help my anxiety because I was sitting around for 20 minutes gearing myself up for it). So early afternoon, we found a quiet spot and discussed it. Argued is probably a better way of putting it

Things got heated pretty quickly. I’m not the kind of person to start arguments if I can avoid it, especially at work, but I wasn’t prepared to back down on something I felt strongly about. Do I regret that we couldn’t work it out there and then, yes. Do I regret that things turned sour, yes. I can apologise for those things but I won’t apologise for what I feel is right. I could have been calmer in the situation.

I think my colleagues are being unreasonable. But I can see quite clearly from their side they think the same thing about me. Which is fine, we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

And in some ways, I feel better for getting it off my chest. But my mind is still replaying the scene in my head, going over all the things I said, all the things they said. I suspect things are about to get very awkward.

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7th February 2017

 

I got a telling off. It was done in such a gentle way, I couldn’t tell who was more uncomfortable me or the consultant.

He basically said that he’d had reports that I hadn’t been answering my bleep and that I was frequently non-contactable which meant the registrars and the SHO were being bleeped instead. And that this was also affecting patients getting discharged.

I appreciate that he needed to have a word with me because that is a real issue. If the registrars are continuously being hounded because no one can reach me then that’s going to stop them getting on with their own jobs. I see why it needs addressing.

However, my issues are that:-

1) I’m essentially being accused of something without no one giving me the benefit of doubt and

2) I do answer my bleep. Period. Whenever my bleep goes off, I answer it as soon as I can. Even if I’m having lunch. If I’m bleeped whilst in the middle of a task that I can’t stop, then I call back. Honestly, there have been times where I’ve forgotten but those situations don’t even happen that regularly.

3) I’m almost always free. There are so many times when I’m not doing anything and I’m literally looking for tasks to do, why would I then ignore my bleep and continue doing nothing. I’m literally typing this at work, in between getting data from an audit I’ve asked for. All because there is nothing to do. There were 3 patients on the ward round and they’re all being discharged which means no jobs. I really can’t stress how annoying this whole situation is.

Not being given the benefit of doubt paints me out to be a bad F1. And to be told off as an adult is humiliating. But if it was something I knew I’d been doing, I’d consider this a warning and act right. But I’m at loss as to what to do next. I feel like I’ve been found guilty and I’m the only one that thinks I’m innocent.

One of the registrars did mention it to me 2/3 times back in the beginning of the placement but I had my bleep changed and I thought that had resolved the issue. I was surprised to have this be brought up again. I’d expected the registrar or the SHO to have cornered me and asked why I wasn’t answering my bleep. But none of them said anything. Why wouldn’t they say anything? At least that would have made me aware that there was a problem.

And if a patient falls ill and I’m “non-contactable” then it becomes a safety issue which is potentially serious.

And to top it all off he said something about another issue which made me highly suspicious that this may all be driven by one of the registrars who I’m sure hates me.

So, I’m essentially on a mission to prove my innocence because everyone obviously thinks that I’m in the wrong which I think is overwhelmingly unfair.

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