Laminating the numbers

Only take criticism from people who you’d ask advice from..

Here I am on a public holiday doing my revision, preparing for tomorrow’s vaccination drive and minding the two kids in the comfort of my own home. Thankfully, the husband is buying pizza for Iftar today which means I don’t have to cook. I just need to prepare drinks and plan simple meals for Sahur tomorrow. I am thinking of fried rice.

My mental noise is interrupting me every now and then with thoughts of how people will perceive this when they see this tomorrow. Harsh critics as we know is poison to one’s success. Maybe a supplement to some. There seems to be a trend that when you decide to do something good or different, there will be a few people who adopts the crabs in a bucket mentality.

Semua salah. Tak seragam. Tak ikut SOP and god knows what else.

I am hoping for a favourable response but I am kind of prepared for the crabs to come and try to pull me down.

An exhausting lunch call week

We used to enjoy doing lunch call as we get to go back home one hour early. Some are willing to take another person’s call just to get those perks. Those who’d give up theirs are those who’d prefer to take a hearty lunch or a power nap just before the 2pm session starts. Those were the good old days.

Now it is not so much fun anymore as there are added responsibilities and mental burden. Taking Covid-19 samples that walk into your clinic, having endless discussions with the specialist on who is eligible for which investigation, covering the rural clinic the week after and other miscellaneous ‘lunch call Doc’ duties.

I am getting old. Lol.

I usually end up exhausted when I reach home everyday. I couldn’t even muster enough energy to cook up a meal. Thankfully, my son has had his dinner at his grandmothers house. Yet, I am still overweight. HA HA HA. All those stress eating later at night doesn’t help. The cookies, the crackers and cups of hot choc or tea are the main culprits. I don’t even have time to finish my Takdir Yang Tertulis series because my little free time is taken up by my much needed sleep and my assignments.

My misc task this week is to prepare a talk regarding the Covid-19 vaccine to an audience of healthcare workers. Like most people, I copy pasted the slides. I had an erratic sleep habit because my daughter likes to have those short wake-up moments in the middle of the night just to ask for a hug or a blanket. Sometimes I can resume my sleep. Otherwise, I’d had to wake up, smell the coffee, switch on the laptop and keep up with my assignments. So, it can be like a really early turn in at 830pm only to wake up later at 3am. Or shutting the eyes by 11pm and waking up at my normal hours of 530 in the morning. I hate the occasional, extreme, sleep-deprived hours of sleeping at 11pm, forced to wake up at 200am, trying to get back to sleep finally at 4am, only to be waking up again at 530am. That gives me a headache. I think it happened once this week. But it got me bothered, groggy and slightly disorientated the next day. I can’t even remember where I parked my car and there were only 2 parking lots at the clinic.

I did however learnt a few things about myself this week.

  • If things have to happen, I will by hook or by crook, make it happen
  • Resilience is my middle name.
  • Patience is my forgotten middle name but have lately resurfaced as my mental health is getting better. I owe it to the brief absence of my husband few days of the week. HA HA HA. Kidding. But yeah, I am using less profanity on the road. Maybe there is not much cars anyway because school is still closed.

well, that is to name the few. I believe there will be more surprises to come for lunch call staff. I can just feel it.

Vaccinator Team in action

Being in the middle of the medical fraternity food chain, puts you in a position where you have to cover for those above you or below you. In other words, you clean the mess or be the diving midwife (bidan terjun). The national vaccine programme started on the 24th of February 2021. It was officiated by the PM, Tan Sri Datuk Muhyiddin Yassin. On the same Friday, the first few vaccinator team members had their jabs including myself. Our moments were very low-key. No banners, no speech, just sign the consent, had the vaccine, observed for 30 minutes and then we were good to go. We received the Pfizer brand where 1 vial = 6 people.

The following week, there was an officiating ceremony at my state by the Chief Minister. I was told that I need to do some briefing for the participants. I was expecting that the CM will be one of them with his entourage. Maybe bodyguards or office staff. Turns out it was a big event for all the big guns in the state. I was flabbergasted. I was not prepared for this. I mean, what kind of honourifics do they use? how best should I address them? The last thing I want is to piss off an official just because I got the name wrong. shouldn’t you have like at least a specialist to give the briefing? why have an ikan bilis like me?! Until now, I still cannot brain the logic of having a medical officer doing this very important task. ni memang nak throw me under the bus ke apa.

I still ploughed through the sessions. Thankfully, there were no mean comments. The officials were quite nice actually apart from a few who had their nose stuck in the air. After the morning session, my team had a quick lunch and zohor prayers. We had an appointment at TYT’s place. 12 people are due to be vaccinated there. Again, another briefing. I was totally exhausted from the adrenaline. There was another medical team on standby from the emergency department. They sent an emergency physician to lead the team. I felt relieved. At least, there is a specialist I can consult should shit happens.

My day ended at 6pm. That’s just the 1st dose. I wonder if I have to see them on the 2nd dose.

A Vaccine EduTalk

It took me 1 night to get my slides together and another 1 night to polish my speech throughout the slide show. I was preparing for a 1 hour talk although it really came down to only 30 minutes on that day. The outline of my talk included an overview of the PICK policy which is Malaysia’s mass vaccination programme, the nature of the COVID-19 disease and a touch on the vaccine. Highlighting more of Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine since that is the one we are getting for Phase 1.

I will be part of the Vaccinator Team for Phase 1. Which means I will be among the first few who will be vaccinated TODAY. It will be an opportunity for the team to go through the system, walk with the flow and see where our potential pitfalls are. As a patient myself, I think it matters where we sit and how long we wait. It is those little logistics that will contribute to the success or failure of the activity carried out. Of course, having a fantastic leadership is important too. I will update on how it goes in my other blog post later.

On a less informal initiative, I recorded a video of myself in a non moving car talking about the same thing. Only, it is presented in the Sarawakian Malay dialect. Hoping to educate my relatives, family and friends who is more well versed in the language. Not really the general public of Sarawak. Ha ha.

The vaccine is not compulsary.

As we are also aware that there no data on the safety of it onto certain populations especially the pregnant and lactating mothers and children. Those with severe allergies are also not advisable to get the vaccine.

The aim is to get at least 70% population coverage by next year for the herd immunity to work.

My take on this is as a social responsibility to protect those who cannot protect themselves and those who do not have loved ones to do it for them.

Malaysia starts COVID vaccines in crucial week for Asian jabs - Nikkei Asia
Prime Minister of Malaysia taking his vaccine shot. I admire the stability of this senior nurses hand – I wouldn’t be able to do the same.. her technique is clinical ART!!

Liar liar

This needs to be documented. Of patients who lie.

As healthcare workers that becomes the first point of contact for patients, it is of paramount importance that we should be informed of risky health points. Nowadays, Covid-19 is one of them. Every time a patient walks into our primary care facility, it has become a norm to ask if they have been in contact with those who are Covid-19 patients or suspected of Covid-19. It is a simple yes or no so that we could decide whether we need to attend the patient wearing the full astronaut PPE or the basic PPE. It’s a cost and personal health issue.

When a patient fails to declare this, it will put me, my family and other patients that I see, at a risk of getting Covid-19. You need only one HCW at a facility to get it before the whole centre shuts down. So honestly, I don’t want that to happen. While I may remain healthy and asymptomatic, others may not be that lucky.

Last week I was in charge of Fever Counter. This means we see all patients who present with fever, upper respiratory tract infections, those who come for other ailments but with the said symptoms, those who come from high risk areas with/without symptoms and whoever that fits the bill. I was dismayed by two separate encounters. But I will share only one story today. And of how thankful I am for gut instincts especially with this 1st family.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

She was a lady in her 50s who had underlying non communicable diseases. Unfortunately, she defaulted her appointments at our facility and bought the meds at her nearby pharmacy. She presented with undocumented temperature and URTI symptoms and mentioned a short trip to pick up her son from a high risk area because PKP was due soon. Her son, according to her, was well with no symptoms. I asked the lady to come back in 2 days time to repeat another set of bloods because her counts were a bit low and I was more suspicious of dengue.

The next time she came, she brought over this son. To be honest, we wouldn’t have known this if I hadn’t ask her back ‘how old was her son and why did she had to fetch him?”. That’s when she pointed to the young lad beside her and said,” this is my son “. Suddenly bells just started buzzing in my head. There was a knot in my stomach that signaled me something is wrong somewhere.

I reconfirmed with the son, a young man in his 20s, of where he stayed in this ‘high risk area’ and his answer was totally different from what the mother told me a few days back. He had already declared earlier with the nurse that he had no contact with any Covid-19 cases but I asked him again ” Is there anything else you need to tell me, that I need to know?”. He said NO. That restless, suspicious feeling lingered. So, I directed him to the Covid-19 tent to wait for his turn and had his mother did the same too. I referred the case to my MALE COLLEAGUE who is in charge of any case who may need a swab test. I had to BOLD the male part because in this part of the city, patients still think that male docs are better than females, chinese docs are the smartest of all, docs serving the suburbs or rural areas graduated from the jungles and other prejudiced thoughts.

Guess what, the young man revealed that he went back to his hometown here because his housemates there all have Covid-19. When my colleague asked, why didn’t he said this earlier, he said “no one specifically asked me about it”

Well. That is just BULL *&%^*!! Did he expect a question like “what kind of house do you live in? do you share it with other people? is the housemate in Room 1 well? how about room2? room 3? ”

He and his mother ended up having a sample taken and well.. as you’d guess, they were both tested positive for Covid-19. I am concerned for the mother because she is at risk of deteriorating whilst the selfish son may survived this episode due to his young body.

I was disappointed with the young man’s attitude towards this pandemic. Undeniably, some patients do fare better than others but shouldn’t that trigger you to protect those at risk from harm?