[Backdated] When the right answer isn't the right answer.
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Such is the life in Monash. But more importantly, after the entertaining debate on 'The Death of Clinical Skills' today, it just goes to show that we definitely cannot rely on technology alone. Looks like my intended profession will be sticking around for...awhile.
Today, I met an annoyingly rude patient. She was in bed and refusing to answer any of my registrar's questions till she 'got a wee'. She was complaining on and on about the nurses not being attentive to her needs. I had this feeling that they were ignoring her because she had lots of 'needs' and pestered them consistently. So our team saw another patient before coming back to her. This time, she was seated comfortably in the chair beside the bed demanding to be put back in bed. We couldn't do that because the nurses wanted to change the sheets. And so she refused to answer any of our questions yet again, till she got 'tucked back into bed'. When my registrar tried to explain to her that she was the doctor overseeing her care and that the answers were important, she barked that she DIDN'T CARE. She proceeded to ignore (or choose to reply after one whole minute) each and every one of the registrar's questions, even though she could clearly hear them and clearly knew that she was wasting our precious time. Daryl jokingly nudged me and said that soon I'd be like that grumpy old lady. I certainly hope not! But this has probably been the hardest patient I've seen so far. I realised that most patients are quite cooperative once they see that you're trying your best to help them (or possibly because they know that you hold the key to their health ;p), and I really actually thank them for that. It's harder for a doctor to do their job if provided with incomplete or truncated histories, and some patients hinder us by simply not thinking hard enough about what had happened to them. So now I'm definitely thinking that a patient's recovery stems from the combined effort of the doctor and patient, and certain patients should blame doctors less for their poor prognosis (reads especially the smoker with COPD). Some paradigm shift required for all the patients out there :)
Speaking of smokers and COPD, that reminds me. It's stupid when you see what some people are doing to their life. Another patient, an Aboriginal, came in with gross ascites (fluid in the stomach, estimated to be about 7L) and oedema (fluid in tissues in the body) up to mid-thigh, but hear his complaint: 'I noticed that my penis was swelling.' What?!! He didn't notice his grossly overdistended stomach, that made him unable to bend down and put on his shoes...but he noticed that! He told us he went around barefooted. 'Just as well, my feet were swollen and my shoes couldn't fit anymore anyway.' His symptoms were due to a history of chronic liver disease, and a friend of mine told me that these people drink Listerine instead of alcohol, because government grants for these poor people do not include alcoholic drinks. Sure enough, he'd even brought a humongous bottle of Listerine to the hospital. It was sticking out of his bag and I was wondering if the attending doctors would notice it and make a connection. However, I guess nobody would jump to conclusions and accuse him without the necessity to do so, and as much as I did not want to stereotype, I felt like evidence was slapping me in the face.
The above anecdote was meant to be humourous but I guess I cannot help but conclude that such circumstances do make the vocation harder. To act in the patient's best interest without stereotyping, to convey the message to the patient without losing his or her respect (nobody likes to hear displeasing stuff, right?), to even continue to want to help them when they don't want to help themselves. Takes alot of soul, and I think I'm far from that. More pruning, anyone?
One fine Wednesday night, after feasting on some Japanese food and supporting our dear Yr 3 Med students in their indoor soccer finals, I relished the warmth of my home and bed, only to find a RAT in my room. Horror of horrors. It had entered my room while I was out for the day. I knew I was living with rats (they had invaded my house during the winter break and going into that incident would be yet another long story). Cohabitating. Or rather, putting up with them (a significant difference there). But they disappeared for some time and I had let my guard down to these scheming creatures, which was a very unwise thing to do. Now, they had invaded my PERSONAL SPACE. I was furious, petrified, full of selfblame for not closing my door. The stupid rat did not want to get out of my room despite our (me and my housemate's) attempts at disturbing its hiding place and moving all my stuff out of the room to make sure it had nowhere to hide. Then, IT DISAPPEARED. It scurried behind my table, but after shifting that away too, we realised that it was not there. Urgh. I trust that the rat has gone by now, since I've vacuumed up all the droppings it had left as souvenir, and no more have appeared. But it creeps me to think that everything I'm using now has been run over by a rat before. I'd never have imagined being in this position a few years ago. I thought lizards were my arch nemesis. Now maybe I should add rats to the list. The only reason why my title's as such is because maybe all this was a blessing in disguise. Silver lining, anyone? Now my room's much cleaner because I've vacuumed it up, there's no more less dust and cobwebs everywhere, and I've rearranged the furniture a bit such that everything's more accessible. I'm quite glad that my printer's up on a cupboard now and I don't have to bend to feed it paper anymore. As with the bigger leg space I have under my desk. Xin Yi is a happy girl. Of course, there's more to my joy that just a neat room. The living room is equipped with a brand new keyboard that way exceeds my expectations. I have been thinking about buying a keyboard for a long while, but there had been no enticing offers. I was looking for one with piano keys though, but now the one sitting out there's a new model with all the digital jumble and can be connected to the computer as well! Xin Yi IS a VERY happy girl. Thanks Daddy for approving my buy so readily too! :)) I'm sure the avenue for recreation will complement and advance my studies very well, haha ;p
Celebrated my Dad's birthday with the whole family via Skype today, while miles across the ocean. (The wonders of technology!!) It was incidental though, I was skyping with my brother when Dad brought up his own cake in front of the video to show me what the family got him, inciting screams of 'Daddy you're not supposed to carry your own cake!!' from the brother, and inspiring me to suggest doing the singsong-cutcake bit of the celebration together as a family. It was hilarious to participate in and watch. There was asynchrony in our clapping due to the inherent lag. My dad actually offered me a slice of the Bakerzin cake knowing full well I couldn't have it. I goofed around pretending to munch the cake off the small little slithole camera. My brother kept commenting that the cake was 'dammn sinful' while continuing to take huge bites off it. My dad chided him for 'his indulgence in sin'. Got me laughing like mad. That's my cranky family. Don't know what I'd do without them. The skype session ended off with my well-wishes, followed by Daddy's well-intentioned 'love you, will get you a slice of that cake when you're back'. Rumblerumblerumble. Well, so I did get hungry after the celebration, but I certainly hope that it was a one-of-a-kind birthday celebration for you, Dad!
This vision from our heavenly Father was given to minister to my broken heart from a relationship that had ended badly. May this vision encourage and comfort you in such a time, as it has touched my heart and helped me move on with life. The vision began early in the morning, as I woke from my sleep and started to dwell on my past relationship with someone I loved for the past 5 years which ended on a bitter note.
I saw a woman dressed in a grey rugged old dress, smashing a precious and beautiful alabaster jar. The woman smashed the jar using her hand with such great force against the wall that the jar broke into many small pieces. The great impact caused some of the jar pieces to fly and injure the woman’s eyes, face, hands, feet, and even made a cut on her dress.
Like the woman who smashed the precious alabaster jar, and sustained the wounds, I ended the relationship with such force and got wounded by the experience. The woman felt the pain of seeing her efforts to keep this alabaster jar new and intact - smashed into pieces, and the pain of breaking something so dearly cherished. It was exactly how I felt about my breakup, the pain of losing someone dear in my life.
In the vision, the Holy Spirit led me to see each wound closely and how our heavenly Father healed it. First, the wounded eyes: The woman’s eyes were red and teary from the cut in her eyes, just like how my eyes were after crying at night before I slept. I saw a man walk up to the woman and waved his hands pass her eyes. After his hands passed her eyes, I saw her eyes healed. It was beautiful, clear and white, not a single redness in sight. It then dawned on me, that the man is Jesus. He came to heal this woman from her pain and wounds. The Holy Spirit was telling me Jesus is wiping my tears away, taking away my blindness to see past the hurt. I could now see Jesus’ love for me clearer and the opportunities and road ahead.
Secondly, the woman’s face had a cut on her cheek which was healed by Jesus with a wave of his hand again. This symbolized how I felt (unattractive) after knowing the person I loved has his eyes on someone else. The Holy Spirit was telling me not to compare with other people’s physical traits. What matters to our heavenly Father is the inside, our hearts and attitudes. I felt God’s encouragement upon me to see beauty in the person He has created in me, and not the physical attractiveness.
Thirdly, I saw Jesus taking my own hand, as though I became that woman I saw, and gently wiping away the blood and wound, leaving the skin of my hand renewed and restored. Telling me I can go on with life, doing things normally. God was telling me to dutifully use my healed hands to accomplish tasks He will assign to me to further His Kingdom. God saw this little sacrifice of breaking away from this unhealthy relationship and has opened up opportunities for me to serve and glorify Him more.
Fourthly, the woman’s dress had a tear just above her chest area. It signified her body and the feelings of shame, embarrassment and disgust over the exposed skin, near the woman’s intimate breasts. Just like how I felt when the person I loved tried to be intimate with me. I saw Jesus not only close the tear on the woman’s dress, but He gave her a brand new purple and white silk dress! It was so beautiful and shimmering. It symbolized God’s forgiveness and His ability to cleanse us to be as white as snow. The colour purple signified royalty, just as how the woman is of such importance to God. Again, I felt the Holy Spirit telling me gently that my sense of self-respect over my body has been restored and I no longer need to feel shameful.
Lastly, the cut on the woman’s feet was healed. This signified that God can heal us so that we need not stagger on with life alone, but to walk well with God by our side. The vision ended with the woman and Jesus walking away from the smashed alabaster jar together, with the weeping woman being comforted as they walked onto a long path ahead of them. I sensed God’s comforting words to me, as though He was telling me, “Dear daughter, your grieving over this broken relationship may seem like a long painful process but it will end soon and you will be well.”. From this last part of the vision, I have learnt to trust God to be beside us, on our journey of life. To seek Him, know Him more and rely on His great strength and love to continue to walk on. I have come to know what it means to have God as our pillar of strength.
Sometimes such painful experiences are used greatly by God to mould us and change us, to teach us something that we didn’t appreciate before and bring us closer to Him. So what I am trying to say is, do not let bad life experiences stop you from discovering the fullness and goodness that God has to offer you. Learn from it and move on. It is a sign of good Christian growth for a Christian life is not a smooth sailing easy life, but a life with many challenges. Remember, our rewards are in heaven :) As you learn not to look back and dwell on the past hurts, pain, disappointments and regrets, your eyes will be opened to see the promises and the good plans God has in store for you. May you always walk closely with Christ in your life and seek him as your counselor, teacher, comforter, healer and heavenly Father. This vision ministered to me about a breakup but I believe the meaning of breaking the alabaster jar applies to anyone. We all have our own ‘alabaster jars’ in our life. It could mean breaking away from a bad habit, an unhealthy relationship that tears you down and brings you further from God or learning to break away from over-commitment to work, neglecting your family, etc. As I pondered on the alabaster jar, I saw the beauty of Jesus’ mighty sacrificial act on the cross for us. By focusing on this sacrificial act, it helps us to see which areas in our life can and should be sacrificed to Jesus, so that it pleases and glorifies him. This has helped me to develop a sacrificial mindset and attitude to all my relationships, to cultivate a heart of giving, not taking, and to be a blessing, not a burden to people around me. I hope you can take time to reflect and find areas to improve. As you make little sacrifices in your life for Jesus, he sees your sacrifices and will richly bless you more than you can ever imagine.
“I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with jewels” (Isaiah 61:10).
-- As written by a Sister in Christ
Ps. The author would also like to inform everyone out there that this was shared as a form of encouragement, and should not be a stumbling block. Many verses in the Bible talk about visions and the prophesizing of false visions, causing much ambivalence on whether one should believe any at all. Be discerning, and may the Lord guide you.
Footnote: The Alabaster jar as in the Bible [Matthew 26: 6-9]
While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. "Why this waste?" they asked. "This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor."
Jesus delights in us coming to him with our Alabaster jars - material or immaterial things we treasure most, things he's granted us in the first place - to be offered back to him as a sacrifice. When I read the vision my Sister in Christ wrote, I was shocked that it was revealed to her that we often take up our Alabaster jars and smash them in front of our Lord Saviour, in bitter vengence and hurt. We don't care anymore, we don't want to cherish the good, and don't want to offer our situation it up to the Lord. We break down, inevitably and inadvertently displaying outwardly the havoc that's wrecking us internally. God sees that, and though He might reprimand us for it, He still offers us what we need most at that time - comfort, and a healing hand.
Finally, the last part of the paragraph was intentionally quoted. Somestimes, the people around us don't understand the sacrifices we make. They think of practical ways our sacrifices could be better used. But don't be disheartened for we should indeed offer our greatest worship onto Him, whatever the cost. Easier said than done, and I'm definitely not the exemplar of Christlike-ness. But lets encourage one another along the way, and build each other up :)