Archive for October, 2009

when the phone rings at night…

Posted in doctoring tales on October 31, 2009 by twotwoeight

“Shit…not another child abuse???” was the first thought that came to mind when I was awakened by the sound of my phone at 5.22am during my call.

Me : Hello…anything?

Dr.Svetlana : Hello Dr.Wong, this is Svetlana from A&E. I have this 10 years old girl who was brought in dead.  She had embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma, according to her records.

Me : Oh yes…is her name X? I remember her…they ran away and opted for traditional treatment.  You’re right, cause of death is the cancer.

Dr.Svetlana : Yes, that’s her. I’m referring to you because her mother wants us to remove the chemoport.


(A chemoport is a device placed under the skin with a tube running into a large vein for easy venous access eg.chemotherapy)

Me : You can just go ahead and remove it.  I can’t offer any help because a chemoport is inserted by surgical and removed by surgical team.  But it shouldn’t be difficult to remove.  You should call surgical, not me.

Dr.Svetlana : Oh…is it? Okay.

30 minutes later…my phone rang again.  I thought, again?

Me : Hello……..yes?

Dr.Svetlana : Hello Dr.Wong, I called surgical and they said they won’t operate on a dead body.

Me : WHAT?  It’s not an operation! They just need to make an incision and take it out. It’s just underneath the skin!

Dr.Svetlana : But they ask me to call the forensics MO, so I called Dr.Yolanda and she said she will do it if you stand-by.

Me : WHAT???  You want me to stand-by for a dead body? For what? What harm can she possibly do?  What does she think I can do? I have never seen a chemoport being inserted or removed!  If anything, surgical should be there to advise her, not me.

Dr.Svetlana : I called surgical already, and he said he doesn’t want to be involved in case of medicolegal issues.

Me : My dear Svetlana, the poor girl died from a cancer that was not treated.  Now her mother just wants us to remove the foreign body from her daughter so that they can proceed with the burial rites.  What medicolegal issues are there???

Dr.Svetlana : So how?

Me : Either you ask surgical to “stand-by” for the forensics MO or you ask the surgical MO how the chemoport is removed and you remove it yourself.

I wanted to tell her don’t call me a third time for a dead body or I will kill you.  Of course I did not.

PS/ In case you were wondering, they were not Russian doctors.  Names have been changed to protect the identity of the individuals 😉


the good things in life are free

Posted in family, love, penny for my thoughts on October 26, 2009 by twotwoeight

I hadn’t consciously kept count, but as this year’s birthday came around, I realized I had not celebrated my birthday at home with my family for 10 years now. An it dawned on me that it has been a decade since I’ve left home.

30th bday

There was no big party, or elaborate plans. We went out for a nice family dinner and then cut cake in our dining hall after.  Simple, but meaningful.  As we grow older (and hopefully wiser), we learn not to take things for granted, even the simplest things in life, and appreciate every opportunity we have to build memories that will carry us through in life.

And so as I entered my third decade with mixed feelings, I paused for a moment to reflect upon all the good things life has dealt me this far…and remind myself to be grateful everyday.

Happy 30th! 🙂

Can I retire now please?

Posted in cloudy days, doctoring tales, penny for my thoughts, the box of chocolates known as life on October 12, 2009 by twotwoeight

On call – post call – pre call – on call.

Six of these in a row.

I am exhausted.

Find me an island…I want need to retire.

my island

Four down.  Two more to go.  Sigh…I wish I had built-in auto-recharging Duracell batteries.