The first day of the New Year...and yet again I find myself at work...
( Note to Self:- get a life! )
Bitterly bitterly cold , ice on the car this morning, and on the newspapers of the homeless people lying in the doorway of the Unit... and as I survey the packed waiting room,I cast my mind back to other New Year shifts...in Johannesburg in 2001,wrestling on the floor with a blood-slippery head injury patient who had tried to hit a colleague...helping to perform a thoracotomy to save the life of a policeman with a gunshot chest...and saying to a TV crew,that the Johannesburg Trauma Unit was the busiest place in the world that night...apart,-maybe-,from Afghanistan.
The good old days...what challenges will come my way today , I wonder.
"Ms Heidi Vodka?"
From amidst the seething, coughing and spitting crowd of assorted hungover and vomit-covered maligners...most of the patients have not gone home but rather have come straight from their Bacchanalian excesses...a young woman heaves herself from her chair and lumbers towards me.
She is clinically obese.Life threateningly obese.
The sort of obese that is no longer a lifestyle issue but is becoming a lifestyle-limiting issue.
And she is clearly unconcerned because she is holding an Egg McMuffin in one hand a can of Coke in the other.
She has successfully won her battle against anorexia.
And she has a cold...the same cold that I have.Indeed,that most of my colleagues have.That virtually all of the patients in the last 4 weeks have had.
Her cold is exacerbated by the vast amount of alcohol she has consumed in the preceding 12 hours...she is very hungover.
After a diligent and thorough examination...during the course of which the head of my stethoscope virtually disappeared into the fat of her chest wall...indeed,there was a small 'pop' when I pulled it out...I advise her that she has a viral URTI.
Oh...so what can you do for me?
(gee...I don't know...gastric bypass perhaps...give you my copy of 'Dieting for Dummies' )
"Well...nothing really to be honest...you need to take plenty of fluids...and take regular paracetamol and ibuprofen....just let it burn itself out..."
Oh...but I can't take ibuprofen!
"Oh...why not...I asked if you were allergic to anything...or had asthma...indeed had any medical problems...and you answered 'no' to all the questions?"
Well...my friend told me that the ibuprofen are covered by a hard sugar coating...
Well...I'm thinking about starting a diet...and think of all the extra calories that I will take in if I take the tablets then...I'll put on weight!
Dear Lord...what I wouldn't give to be in a combat zone again!