Layla's space

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams it is still a beautiful world.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sod the SlimFast, get hepatitis!

I have lost nine pounds in weight over the past week.

NINE POUNDS! Cue ridiculous little dance....

The downside is, my liver hasn't been working. It's a longish story so I'll cut to the chase: ate some oysters, felt flu-like for a few days, then started throwing up, then went to A+E with hideous right upper quadrant (ie liver) pain. Seen by A+E SHO (sorry, ST1) who didn't enquire as to the severity of the pain or offer me pain relief, didn't examine me properly (kind of an OSCE-style examination, ie going through the motions without the aim or ability to pick up any clinical signs) and fucked up my blood test (I have HUGE veins, this is pretty hard to do and indeed has never been done before). Lo and behold, my blood tests come back and my liver enzymes are up the spout. ST1 is rather bemused, but is coming to the end of her shift and clearly wants rid of me so packs me off to my GP so he can organise my ultrasound and referral to a gastroenterologist.

Long story short, I still don't know what it is. It's not hepatitis A, B or C, it's not CMV or glandular fever. Still waiting for ultrasound and gastro appointment. Feeling better, starting to eat, back at work tomorrow.

About work. I imagine that if one of my colleagues called me to say they had hepatitis, felt like crap and could I cover their patients that day, I would say 'Of course! I hope you feel better soon, please don't worry about work, we'll sort it out.' I would, I'm sure I would. Even if I had a million things to do and was too busy to cover, I'd tell them that and then go and find some other colleagues to help with the cover. My experience was:

'Oh. Well I'm really busy on my firm at the moment, so I don't know if I'll be able to cover for you.'

I suggested a couple of other SHOs who might be able to help, emailed her my patient list/jobs list and gave her the bleep number of my SpR. What did she do? Fuck all. Didn't see any of my patients, didn't use the list, didn't ask for help. I spoke to my SpR later (I'd already called to say I wouldn't be in that day but called again to say I'd been signed off for a week):

'Oh. Well the SHO you asked to cover hasn't done any of our work, the patients haven't been seen and they're not getting us a locum.'

Well, what do you want me to do? I'm so fucking sorry my liver doesn't work, I can't eat and I feel like shit. Shall I come in and vomit on the patients? Would that help do you think? Shall I come in and make a hideous chemotherapy prescribing error and kill someone?

It made me so fucking angry. Mainly from the obvious lack of concern and support from fellow doctors, but also because it made me feel guilty and actually consider whether maybe I should just go in.

Why are doctors a) awful patients and b) so bloody unsympathetic to their colleagues? We don't take our own advice when we're ill, we have to be on death's door to take a day off sick, and if somebody does go off sick we act like the entire hospital is going to implode because of it. I know we're spread as thinly as possible, there is very little 'give' in the system to allow effective cross-cover in the case of illness and it is therefore always challenging if we're short-staffed. It's just the bloody attitude. From the 'caring profession'.

I'm not looking forward to tomorrow. They found a locum to cover some of my days off, but I know there'll be a pile of crap that hasn't been sorted out. It's the same in any job. The main thing I'm not looking forward to is seeing the people who made me so bloody angry last week.

Obviously, not all my colleagues behaved in the same way. I've had calls and texts saying 'Come back when you're ready, everything's fine here, don't worry, get well soon'. I wish everyone was like that.

Oh, and one more thing:

Don't eat raw oysters, boys and girls. It's not big and it's not clever, and it nearly killed Michael Winner.


Anonymous Someone's mum said...

I hope you are better now Lyla :)

February 24, 2008 11:20 PM  
Blogger Layla said...

Thanks, feeling back to normal now :)

March 03, 2008 8:46 PM  

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