Monday, June 14, 2010

Traumatized and recovering

I was oncall again ( again!) and as I was getting ready for Saturday’s LSD, my phone rang at 6.30 am. The call was from the hospital stating I had a case in the A&E with multiple fractures of the maxillary bone and multiple soft tissue injuries.. There goes my run, I thought.

When I arrived, my dental assistant came to me with a panic stricken face.
It’s serious, Dr” she said.
I thought of the Arab boy in the youtube video and repeated my mantra , ‘ It can’t be that bad, it can’t be that bad”
I was right. It was worse.

When I arrived at the ER, the patient who was involved in a road accident was literally fighting for his life. The ER team was all around him trying the stabilize his vital signs. Blood was smeared all over the floor.

I looked at his smashed up face.
Okay, I can take this , I thought.
I stared at his heaving chest.
Okay, I can take this.
Then I saw his pale extremities and suddenly felt the chills.
“ I can’t watch this” I turned to my assistant and left the red zone.

This isn’t supposed to happen. Dental oncall officers are rarely exposed to this kind of scene. We’re usually called after the patient has been stabilized. There was probably some confusion with the interns and the orders from their MOs .

The intern ( or houseman officer as it is called here) apologized profusely and promised to call me back after the patient has been stabilized fully.

Here I am, a medical worker, traumatized by the whole incident. I had the scene of his pale soles, his labored breathing, rewinding in my head. Over and over and over.
I tried to pretend everything was okay. I went for breakfast. I went for my ward rounds with my Oral Surgeon.

An hour later, I called the ER to check on the patient.
“ I’m sorry Dr. He didn’t make it.”
I stood there, staring at my Oral Surgeon. “ He’s gone, “ I said.
“ Well, what to do.” He shrugged. I guess as a seasoned specialist, he’s jaded to news of death.

2 days later, today, I am still bothered by it. He was somebody’s son, brother, maybe somebody’s father. Over the weekend, when I was at the ER repeatedly, my eyes kept wandering to the bed the patient was resuscitated on.

I hope he’s in a better place.

Later that Saturday evening, I really had to go running to shake the feeling of loss. Thing was, hub had to take care of the kids so I had to swallow all trace of cowardness and run on my own. I have been running on and off since I was 22. I have been running seriously since 2 years ago. But this is the first time I’m doing a non-race run alone.

We arrived at the lake at about 6 ish. On ‘go’ from hubs, I jumped out of the car and began running ( he had to go park the car and kids) . I planned to do 3 rounds, that would be approximately 10K due to time constraint and to avoid the kids being restless. I was nervous the first 1K, aware of naughty catcalls but after that I thought, ‘ To hell with all that’ and began to run easily. Post rain, the weather was superb. The only glitch was I had to stop a few times to get around some people blocking the running path especially near the zoo. Every round, at the starting point , hub would call out “ You’re doing great, keep with the pace.” And other park patrons would look at us like we’re crazy.

An hour later, I was done. It felt great. I felt refreshed. And most importantly, I felt like I’ve achieved something big, even if it’s only a 10K.
And I’m ready. I’m ready to tackle to roads alone. Again.
My next adventure will be running alone around my residential taman.

But that’s another story ( or entry) altogether.


  1. Hehe. The sight of both of you managing the LSD would be a bit kelakar. By the way, thumbs up with the 10k.

    Ajal di tangan Allah. There's always a reason for everything, be it to that person or to yourself.

  2. kinda give me the chills too, just imagining it

  3. I really miss running around the Lake Garden (minus the smell coming from the zoo). No worries, you are doing great :)

  4. Diket : Thanks. I will try to remember that.
    KOG: It's sad too.
    Ian : Come balik kampung and join Taiping Heritage run :)

  5. You've got one very supportive hubby. Great both of you guys share same interest.

  6. Zaki: Thanks for dropping by. Supportive yes, maybe sometimes paksa-tive..haha.What to do, he's my coach.
    Just yesterday he went, " For FM PBIM, you MUST follow the plans I laid out. MUST!"

  7. what do you make out of it? seeing dying people? Surreal!

  8. glad u r ok and running alone too ;) welcome to the club or moms running alone he he .. al-fathihah to the one that didnt make it. he's in a better place.

  9. this remind me of face of death..looong time ago...ngeri..

  10. Syah: seriously I hope I'll never go through that again.
    KakJune: Today I hope it doesn't rain so that I can go for my 3rd solo run. Dah dok jauh dari my parents, no one to look after the kids, what to do.
    Ijam: Ish, ye ke. Do tell.

  11. faces of death la..yg dlm video tape tu...
    skrg dah takde

  12. One of the reason i dont want to be a doctor. Pitam

  13. ijam: ooo..mcam penah dengar taim remaja2 dulu. Yang video org eksiden2 tu ke?
    Gerb: Ditto.

  14. U run at taman tasik taiping? i think my first 'long' run was there. from mrsm, pusing taman tasik n back into mrsm. can't remember how many km, but i got 4th placing.. :)
    Thanks to the stamina built from playing volleyball at school every single evening.

  15. mesti acara Merentas Desa MRSM Taiping taun 1995..kihkih

  16. I will reply later aa..I have a course to go to today..sorry!