Children as patients….

So I am currently in the middle of 7 days of night shifts – and with that I have to confess – this screen is a little blurry and I, well, a little grumpy today.

I wanted to share a story with you from last night. It highlights a number of lessons:

1. Never work with children

2. Never work with children

3. Never try and stick sharp objects into children with the parents standing over your shoulder

4. Never do any of the above at 1am

The night shift was pretty steady last night – a few patients having elevate temperatures (‘spikes’ in the business..) that required reviewing, a few patients to see in accident and emergency (including one torn scrotum that brought a tear to any mans eye) and then assisting in surgery for a laparoscopic appendicectomy (I have to admit, not wanting to be a surgeon, I find surgery a little dull!).

Then, just as I sit down to be absorbed by the teleshopping channel in the doctors mess, the goes off the bleep. Addmittedly this spared me from buying the super mop on sale, however,  I immediately recognise the number. It’s the kids ward. I look out the window for a second wondering what life would have been like had I become a vet…before finally answering the bleep.

It’s a kid. Eight years old. And his cannula has tissued i.e. come out.

These words combined are a nightmare.

What it means is, at 1am, I have a grissly 8 year old boy whose cannula (the tube which delivers fluid and medicine into his veins) has come out. And his father is there. Double nightmare.

Why you might ask? Well let’s put it like this – I can put a cannula into most adults but children are a pscyhological warzone. They cry, they shout, they lunge their arm out the way as you try and insert the sharp tiny object into their arm, make you feel just like a dreadful human being, and the parents shout at you in disbelief as you appear to actively trying to harm their child.

This, what I have described above, ALL happened. And it all happened at 1am. The precise time I am pretty sure the final embers of my caffiene fix also ran out.

As I kneel by this poor boy’s bed in semi-darkness, with the father shouting over my shoulder, child crying, wondering to myself how much damage I am doing to my knees by constantly kneeling like this day in day out (I, afterall, want to be an active old boy in the years to come with my own knees still!), I ponder my future career as future vet…

5 minutes later, after many tears shed (including my internal crying!), which have now settled down to a quiet, exhausted grizzle, the cannula is in, medicine is entering the boy’s veins and I stand victorious.

Well, I say victorious – the boy and father stare at me like I am something out of a Stephen King movie. Rather than waiting for thanks, I quietly leave in search of my next victim…sorry – I mean patient.

And some coffee…

Wish me luck tonight.

Dr Nick


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