iRead: (9) On writing.


Source: Goodreads.

“Some of this book—perhaps too much—has been about how I learned to do it. Much of it has been about how you can do it better. The rest of it—and perhaps the best of it—is a permission slip: you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.” – Stephen King.

This book is a winning deal! Very handy and concise. Not only does it outline very crucial tips on writing, but also help you apply them. I couldn’t stop highlighting!

What I loved most was Stephen King’s personal touch; before discussing the essentials of writing, he had to tell us what he went through on his way as a best seller, and how it made him who he now is. He received tens of rejections (if not hundreds), he had drinking problems (actually was an alcoholic and cocaine addict), and experienced a near-death tragedy. Also, most importantly, he acknowledged his wife’s support!

I’m in no need to say that each and every tip in this book is an extract of years of hard work and is worth following. After all, I do trust the King! ;)

White-coated ramblings: (6) The devil wears a white gown!


Previously in “white-coated ramblings”:

“Let’s just state the fact that crying kids are my least favorite creatures. Sick-screaming kids, on the other hand, are my personal imagination of an alien master plot to dominate earth.”

Okay, now it turns out sick kids are the sweetest creatures ever existed, because when it comes to women in labor, well… that’s what I believe is the core of all villainy!

You think I’m exaggerating? No sir! Try having a 12-hour shift at a room with a minimum of 6 women, each one screams her guts out, each one begs and pleads “I can’t!”, “Stop it!”, “Oh God!” or “I need an analgesic!”, and each one is being yelled at to shut the hell up! I have no idea how they manage to synchronize their screams! And you’re supposed, amid  all this chaos, to think and function. You have to measure their blood pressure, pulse, and temperature every hour (by the time you’re done, the next hour has already begun), you have to obtain blood samples, insert cannulae in these demons, and you have to watch how every uterine contraction is transmitted into a complex facial expression of severe agony!

And then comes the “PUSH” phase. Oh, did I mention how giving birth is painfully disgusting??

It’s been a month, and I’ve taken shifts almost everyday. My circadian rhythm is doomed for good, and my caffeine dependence has turned into addiction. So can’t we  just accept that women in white gowns are devils in disguise?!

Source: Google images.

White-coated ramblings: (5) It pays off, doesn’t it?!


Breaking news: I got my first ever salary today!

But do you know how much an Egyptian fresh-graduate doctor makes monthly?

257 Egyptian pounds; that makes 36.11 dollars! Yes, I’m a doctor, but our maid makes triple my salary!

But it was never about the money, was it? *Sighs*

That’s for 2 months!

White-coated ramblings: (4) I just need to whine..


image

Oh how I hate this place!

You can be an ***hole, and you can be an Ob/Gyn resident, but I repeat myself!

Well, everybody hates Ob/Gyn rounds. It’s not just the heavy work and floods of patients, it’s also just about everything else you can imagine. I’ve been only 2 weeks through and I’ve never been so miserable!

For starters, you have like 20 twelve-hour shifts per month. Although ERs are closed until further notice (nobody knows why, probably for political reasons), the lack of patients’ flow doesn’t exempt you from being there. You just have to show up everyday to do some lame tasks and bear with all the crap and nonsense your residents come up with. You’re not allowed to leave until the last minute of your shift, why? Because residents say so! You have to put up with their vulgarity and rudeness, because there is no other way.

The only achievement I can count is crossing “scrub in” off my bucket list. Yet, surprisingly, I haven’t found any thrill in surgeries; it’s too boring! I have to say I haven’t learnt a thing so far, and I dread the moment I go home because it means tomorrow’s coming and I’ll have to go back again. Yes, I’m that miserable!

Source: Google images.

Camping with NaNoWriMo!


Whining about my hospital duties almost made me forget, I have been a NaNoWriMo camper the past month. Although I haven’t met my writing goal, I can count myself a winner; because all my past novelling trials haven’t exceeded 3-4 chapters. This time, however, I managed to write 21 chapters! I am quite certain most of it will end up in trash, but that is just the natural course of writing; you write, delete, write again, delete again, until you wind up having something that wasn’t even on your mind when you started.

My goal was 20000 words, and I ended up with 16899, 5047 words of which I wrote on the last day; that’s a record! I could have cheated and set my time zone to the US timing, and won 7 more hours, but I was pretty satisfied (also pretty tired that my fingers were tingling)!

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The hard work isn’t over, but I think I’m ready to win the next July camp! ;) :D

iRead: (8) And The Mountains Echoed.


Source: Goodreads.com

“I suspect the truth is that we are waiting, all of us, against insurmountable odds, for something extraordinary to happen to us.” 

I started this book because it was picked in my book club, but I knew I was falling in love the moment I began reading.  Like all Khaled Husseni’s works, the book is simultaneously a heart-warming and heart-breaking story. I love everything about his style; the way he can smoothly paint full scenes that burst with color and engaging details, and how he effortlessly makes you smile and cry in one moment.

The novel is a blend of pain, loss, and remorse, as well as hope and longing.  When I reached the last few lines, I wished the book went beyond the 404 pages it was confined to..

“They tell me I must wade into waters, where I will soon drown. Before I march in, I leave this on the shore for you. I pray you find it, sister, so you will know what was in my heart as I went under.”

White-coated ramblings: (3) The resident/nurse superiority/inferiority complex!


Source: Google images.

- So what kind of doctors are you?

- A  house officer.

- What is a house officer?

- Basically the hybrid of a nurse and a porter!

Undeniably, we have a defective system, no I’m kidding, we have no system at all! If you’ve ever been to a hospital, you already know that a major part of a nurse’s job is giving injections, obtaining blood samples, blood transfusion, IV salines, inserting cannulae, and monitoring the patients vitals (blood pressure, temperature, etc.). 

Since the very first day as a house officer, I’ve been doing all of the above, and because there’s no such thing as porters, I’m also the one sent with patients’ files and blood samples to finish the paperwork. I haven’t done a single task that required any of the medical knowledge I earned in the past 7 years. I no longer even know what nurses are for, I mean beside mastering the art of  humiliating and delaying you!

  • Example: A patient is so feverish and needs an immediate IV antipyretic. I am the one responsible, so I go to the nurse and beg for the medication. She refuses, and demands the patient’s file first, which should’ve been with her in the first place. I don’t have the file, so I call the resident, and she tells me I should find it with the nurse. And the vicious cycle goes on until I find the file on the nurse’s desk! Meanwhile, the patient remains feverish!

While you try your best to get the above mentioned tasks attained, residents (who mostly have narcissistic issues) can do whatever it takes to abort them. I have to admit that my residents so far are kind enough to teach me and thank me for my efforts, but I get sent daily to other departments to request consultations and interventions, and I almost always get shooed like a cockroach or treated like I didn’t exist. It’s so pathetic that some residents are so delusional they believe they are the Gods of their specialty!

  • Example: A 3-month-old boy needs a urinary catheter. The pediatric resident doesn’t want to catheterize him, so she sends me to surgery hospital looking for a urinary tract resident. I request the procedure, but the resident ignores me as if I’m a mosquito buzzing around his head. When he finally responds, he tells me to wait. I wait for an hour, but he never shows up!

The only reason I put up with this crap, is because I once believed I could help make patients’ quality of life better, which right now sounds very naïve and ridiculous! Now one only gotta do this for the sake of God and nothing else!

 

 

 

24 things before turning 24!


Source: Google.com

So, after all,  last year’s list wasn’t quite a failure. With studying and exams being eliminated this year, I hope I’ll have the time and space to meet all my goals this time.

Let me start with some items I couldn’t tick off last year:

1. Finish my novel(s).

2. Win NaNoWriMo.

3. Scrub-in, preferably in an eye surgery.

4. Reach my ideal weight.

5. Finish “Insanity” workouts without twisting any joints.

6. Learn to dance.

7. Earn drivers’ license.

8. Read 20 100 books at least, including the Qur’an.

9. Speak French.

10. Play guitar.

11. Volunteer in a cause.

12. Fall in love.. or not.

And now with brand new goals:

13. Pick a specialty; I haven’t yet determined whether I should be an ophthalmologist or a psychiatrist.

14. Prepare for a fellowship in the picked specialty.

15. Save a life.

16. Run regularly for at least 3 months.

17. Win half a marathon.

18. Buy a heart rate monitor.

19. Eat clean for at least a month without cheating.

20. Build abs.

21. Earn a belt in judo.

22. Go sky diving.

23. Attend a live concert.

24. Inspire more people.

What’s on your list this year??

White-coated ramblings: (2) Doctoring kids, AKA saving the planet!


Source: Google images.

First off, let’s just state the fact that crying kids are my least favorite creatures. Sick-screaming kids, on the other hand, are my personal imagination of an alien master plot to dominate earth.

So basically, my 12 hours at pediatric ER were witnessing vomiting, diarrhea, pneumonias, and the non-ceasing chorus of screeches mingled with the beeping of monitors. Such scenario would be somehow tolerable if it wasn’t in a governmental third-world hospital. Remember when I said it’s kind of like Grey’s Anatomy, except that it’s nothing like it?

Well, for starters, we deal with the lowest possible socioeconomic classes. Most of the patients are impecunious and ignorant (if not even illiterate), that never annoyed me; it’s not their fault and they deserve treatment. The disaster is that we, doctors, have to function with the least infection control measures (if not without any). The floor is dirty, and there are stray cats and cockroaches! I have seen a doctor collecting a blood sample without wearing gloves, the baby’s blood trickling all over her fingers, and when she was done and saw the shock on my face, she told me “don’t do what I just did!” There is a box of gloves sitting on the nurses desk, but few doctors care enough to use any. That sickens me!

Another emotionally devastating thing was how the bed sheets were blood-drenched, urine-stained, and needle-studded! I have been to governmental hospitals in UAE and seen how the sheets were disposable and consistently replaced. What I saw yesterday was just so wrong!

Back to kids, in such an overwhelmingly stressful situation, I tried not to get involved. How could I manage patients I have no sympathy for? The kids seemed like noisy things who needed to shut up! The only kid I sympathized with was 4-year-old who needed calcium gloconate injections to treat his hypocalcimic condition. He looked so harmless and terrified, he persistently begged to go home  and I found myself trying so hard to sooth and lull him to stop him from moving his hand and displacing his cannula. I have no idea how that boy managed to break my heart!

And there I survived my first night shift ever! I’m not looking forward to my next one!