Angry Doctor

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Down but not out... yet

Like Dr Oz Bloke, I too have been feeling low, from a combination of factors.

1. My stethoscope broke.

It's been with me through dark times, dire emergencies, and dirty toilets, but it's heard its last heart sound. I have never had this happen to me before, and I don't quite know what to do with the remains of what had literally been an extension of my professional self for so many years. I limped along the rest of the workday until I could acquire a 'loaner', but it's just not the same.

It's a stark reminder of my own mortality, and also of the number of years I have been in this profession, and how I am still angry after all these years.

2. You win a few, you lose many.

The other day I had a patient lose his temper after I challenged his immature thinking pattern. But a few minutes after storming out of the clinic, he returned, apologised for his behaviour, and we had a long talk about his problems.

But compare that with the number of patients who persist in being 'clueless', I am still on a deficit here.

3. For some people, the new year is definitely NOT going to be better.

The 'big picture' means very little when you are looking at individuals with very real problems which they cannot hope to solve on their own. It breaks the heart to see human dignity obliterated by a combination of incurable illness and crushing poverty. And more so when you realise that you yourself cannot see a viable solution for them.

It makes me want to cry 'Enough!' and wonder if there is a way I can better the world we live in more efficiently than doing what I am now doing.

But unlike Oz Bloke, I remain convinced that I am worth more alive than dead. I'll be back, fighting tooth and nail.

I just need some time to lick my wounds.


  • I can sympathise, angry doc. I had two stethoscopes for years, one that was my 1st one from med school, one that I got from graduation.

    They were stolen after many years of service...despite my name being engraved on them! Some people...

    Th upshot is the newer scopes are actually a lot better :)

    By Anonymous Dr Epicurus, in Oz, At January 05, 2006 9:24 pm  

  • we have two choices: we either give it all up and go search for greener pastures, or we knuckle down and do what we can. bit by bit, person by person.

    even though you're angry (or actually, because of it), it's inspiring that you're still at it.


    By Anonymous distinguished mediocrity, At January 05, 2006 10:02 pm  

  • Frankly, I really don't understand you docs. Christ, you fellows are supposed to be DOCTORS who are expected to have a steady heart and mind. We count on doctors to console and advise us when our health is down the tube. But here, two of you are whining and one is even contemplating about the futility of life!

    The whole thing boils down to "detachment" and "contentment". You must detach yourself from ever feeling sorry for your patients so long as you have done your very best for them. That's professionalism. And be "contented". If you can't afford to drive a Merc. a Nissan would do just fine. If you can't afford to stay in a bungalow in district 9 or 10, a comfortable HDB apartment would do just fine as well. Every job has its difficulties. Doctors are also not exempted from the vicissitudes of life. It is how you go about handling the emotional trauma and the problems of life that matters.

    By Blogger uglybaldie, At January 05, 2006 10:21 pm  

  • Hey angry doc,

    in what way did your stethoscope break?

    You can always replace the broken parts.I mean a stethoscope is basically made up of a few parts. Easy to construct a new one.

    I know what you mean. The stethoscope is like the lightsabre of a jedi. But we should also know how to contstruct our own. :)

    My stethoscope is a mishmash or welch allyn tubing and chest piece with 3M diaphragm and generic earpieces.

    My master taught this padawan well.

    By Blogger Dr Oz bloke, At January 06, 2006 10:56 am  

  • The U-piece in the 'neck' broke, so it's totally useless now.

    Maybe I'll keep it for spare parts.

    Tired of my old blue light-sabre too... maybe I'll get a red one like Darth Vader this time...

    By Blogger angry doc, At January 06, 2006 12:44 pm  

  • Of course the most "power" is to be like the emperor, just raise his hands and.....

    By Blogger Dr Oz bloke, At January 06, 2006 1:24 pm  

  • My professor once made me trim my stethescope as it was too long for me. I felt like I was castrating it!

    By Blogger tscd, At January 06, 2006 7:18 pm  

  • Ouch! *grimace*

    Don't ever mention THAT word on my blog again.

    *uncross legs*

    By Blogger angry doc, At January 06, 2006 7:20 pm  

  • "Of course the most "power" is to be like the emperor, just raise his hands and....."

    Grade IV murmur at least.

    By Blogger angry doc, At January 06, 2006 7:21 pm  

  • Ah, the grief of stethoscope loss....I,too have experienced that and it was quite acute as I had spent almost $200 on it!

    My newest one nearly deafened me as I went to use it and discovered the amputation of an earpiece! Yikes! Easily repaired,though.

    When good stethoscopes go bad....

    By Blogger Kim, At January 07, 2006 4:51 am  

  • Hmm... now I know why the Emperor's name is PALPATinE.

    By Blogger angry doc, At January 07, 2006 8:10 am  

  • The missing ear-piece is a real hazard.

    And then there's that long stethoscope whose head reahes exactly the level of your crotch...

    By Blogger angry doc, At January 07, 2006 8:16 am  

  • Ouch!

    Either that or the jedi knight is too short.

    Yoda anyone?

    By Blogger Dr Oz bloke, At January 07, 2006 9:03 am  

  • erm... can i ask a question?!

    isn't the stethoscope like a pen or a keyboard which all labourers use in their daily work?

    is it such a big deal when it breaks?

    in other words, is it a bad thing for someone to play with another's stethoscope? <-- like what i did in my profile pic?

    pls educate me!!

    By Blogger blinkymummy, At January 07, 2006 12:38 pm  

  • "isn't the stethoscope like a pen or a keyboard which all labourers use in their daily work?"

    If it's a Mont Blanc, or if you wear your keyboard around your neck... (score House points!)

    "is it such a big deal when it breaks?"

    Think of it more like if your car broke. :)

    "in other words, is it a bad thing for someone to play with another's stethoscope?"

    Oh behave! Personally? I'd say you can play with MY stethoscope anytime, BM...

    By Blogger angry doc, At January 07, 2006 2:02 pm  

  • Hi, i just chanced upon your blog thru Dr Crippen's link. May I ask why are you called "angry doc"?

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