Friday, May 13, 2005

My Week

The menningicocal vaccine (MenzB) programme has begun full force this week. New Zealand has one of the nastiest menningicocal disease strains in the world, and as such, everybody under the age of 20 needs to be immunised. Anyone attending school will be done through the school system....the Ministry of Health are being very strict about this....noone between the ages of 5-17 are to get their injections at medical centres. There are 3 injections per person altogether, and each one will be spaced 6 weeks apart.

The programme started for our medical centre on Monday. Also, we have finally received the flu vaccine. We have extra nursing staff coming in each day to pick up the slack of patients that desperately need this injection and have waited too long for it's arrival. This delay has been stressful for everyone. I had an 85 year old man ring me the other day asking if it had arrived yet. He was terrified of getting the flu...with his age and the fact he had an acute illness...should he have contracted the flu, he'd be a goner. I was pleased to finally be able to tell people it was here now and book them in for an appointment.

Monday morning was diabolical! The phone goes crazy as soon as we turn it over to us (from the after hours clinic) on any Monday, let alone a Monday we were expecting extra nurses and extra patients (youngsters at that). Why do people decide that Monday mornings are a good time to ring and notify us they've just moved into the area and could they please register their family of 6 with us?? This is not a good time for me, but I try shutting out any background noise, bite my lip and register them anyway. The nurses are run off their feet with all this extra activity. The pre-schoolers are brought in to have their injections...understandably they cry when they have it...it's not an easy injection, it's like having a tetanus...then each youngster has to wait 20 minutes in the waiting room just in case they have a reaction. This is the same for ANY vaccination...anytime you have one, you need to wait the requried 20 minutes before you can leave. Of course this gives us more noise to deal with. I'm sounding selfish about this noise thing aren't I? I'm just griping because I'm doing double shifts at the moment and am coming home with the squeals and crying of toddlers echoing through my head. We now have a TV and video set up near the children's corner, with various videos playing...The Wiggles, Pooh Bear, Disney stuff etc....to give these youngsters a distraction of some sort, while they sit being cuddled on mum or dad's knee sucking lollipops or marshmallows or whatever else it is the nurse gives them in sympathy.

One of my patients yesterday, came in carrying her 3 month old son...beautiful little boy. Watching her with him pulled my heart strings. 18 months ago, this same woman had come in to see us with her 11 month old son. He was gorgeous too...huge blue eyes...smiley little baby. Two weeks later he was no longer with her...he'd died of Cot Death (SIDS). This was a horrible horrible case obviously. As expected, Mum blamed herself...she felt she shouldn't have covered him with that extra blanket...felt the food she'd given him that night for dinner had something to do with it...the doctor spent a long time trying to explain that she'd done nothing wrong. How could he explain the unexplainable? The following day I received a phone call from her mother...she'd flown in to be with her daughter...part of the support system. She rang to ask for sleeping tablets...said she was here trying to support her daughter but she was getting no sleep whatsoever and felt she was being a hopeless pillar of strength without it. I rang the doctor at home...he didn't start until the afternoon that day...and he came in early to see this lady who brought her oldest son along with her. When registering them both on the computer I realised the wee baby had been named after his Uncle....the grieving man that stood before me. I went in to see the doctor before he took in these two, basically to warn him about the name. He sighed, nodded and took a deep breath..."Send them in". If I'd had the opportunity to hide out the back that day, I'd have spent a good amount of time crying. When Mum came in with her new baby son yesterday, I congratulated her on the new addition to her family.

I've had children throwing major tantrums...high pitched screaming (how DO they manage to get their voices THAT high??)...the phone going nuts with parents booking their toddlers in for the MenzB injection....other patients ringing to book in for their flu vaccines. I've had one teenager bleeding profusely, after being struck on the back of the head with a rock (what the hell's wrong with these kids??)...another teenager gracefully 'crumple' in front of me (now you see her now you don't kinda thing), fainting right at the feet of a screeching 4 year old (stopped the child mid-screech, bonus!)...an elderly lady who choked so badly on her dinner that her grandson did the Heimlick(sp?) on her and promptly broke one of her ribs....and a mental health patient that decided a full waiting room was a great audience for abusing me because his prescription wasn't ready yet. (If I'd had those pills to hand, I would've liked to shove them right down his throat myself.) Yep, it's been a big week.

Happy Friday the 13th to everyone!

My venting is over...as you were.
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