Thursday, August 24, 2006

Hospital Humour

Just came back from handling a particularly fractious patient and it's quite a relief to return to find the computer utterly abandoned, alienated and alone. Gotta take a short break before the next case since it took all my patience and bedside charm to talk the patient out of tearing apart his restraints and making a desperate run for it - a bit difficult especially when I'd have probably done the same in his position. :)

Unwillingly dragged kicking and screaming from home by his concerned relatives, the poor octogenarian found himself practically interred in the ward for days. Finding himself stuffed with needles and medical thingamajigs certainly wasn't on his to-do list. The grumpy geriatric never expected to have such a young, funny doctor ( his words, not mine! ) and it amused me to hear his cantankerous comments - since it isn't the first time I've heard it. Well, the funny part, I mean. The surprisingly youthful comment actually tempted me to call for an urgent opthalmological referral since I've never looked the part of the baby-faced twink, even in my heydays. Then again, for a man his age, everyone's probably a kid.

Somehow it always surprises me to hear that most laypeople expect physicians to be dull, serious-minded wet blankets with no life away from the hospital. It's not too far from the truth since I have to admit that the majority of doctors are boring, tight-assed fuddy-duddies ( since the motley crew's generally composed of overly ambitious nerds with some aptitude for science ) but occasionally we do find a jokesmith Patch Addams or even some of the hilarious folk from Scrubs. Nature needs to find a reasonable balance after all.

Doctors away from work!
These doctors do clean up real good, don't they?

Even I have to admit that the nature of our humour is a tad morbid - and possibly not accepted amongst the general population ( who would be rightfully horrified by the things we say! ) - but it still helps to release some of the tension and stress buildup. Just think of the odd quirky moments in Grey's Anatomy and you'll get the general idea. Light-hearted banter about dead men walking, flying limbs and perforated bowels might be unpalatable to the public but it can bring a smile to even the sternest resident. Otherwise life here in the hospital would be intolerably dull - and it's possible that the rate of job burnout / suicide amongst doctors would rise exponentially.


envy said...

Yes, i suppose since doctors deal with lives and hospitals are about life and death they should kind of reflect a solid serious image, but then again when you're on the inside a joke, a laugh a smile is deeply needed i guess... Specially with the cases, the things, the blood, the death, and the unexpected things you face everyday, not to mention the late night shifts...I spent a month while my father was in the hospital not so long time ago, yes we used to wait for a smile from the doctor to feel that everything is gonna go well or going ok...What if he jokes to! i would take him home!

thompsonboy said...

you can always try smoking...or not. that's something totally unexpected of from doctor. but then again, I know some of them fact a medical student friend (who intro me to smoking btw) said alot of them do.

sharon said...

i hope i get a colleague or a superior like you when i start my internship. i was told it's going to be hell working, especially as an intern, in malaysia. seniors told me that we're going to be like clerks, and very little doctor. i guess i'm approaching it like an adventure. making a lot of other plans, so that i have something to look forward to after work each day...

Jemima said...

Paul, you can be my doctor any day. I'm serious. :)

Anonymous said...

do you wear anything under your scrubs or do u let swing around?

nyonyapenang said...

as unwell as they may be, the patients would welcome a sincere smile and a joke or two. i dislike pretentious ones. can i consult you too?

Sue said...

My priorities for my doctor:

1) Save my life

2) Make me laugh

Bonus points for being sexy!!!

Annie said...

Ditto on what Sue said! I work in a hospital. It's the most depressing place in the world next to being at the front lines in combat or attending a funeral everyday. Somber guests, sick patients, broken hearts and broken dreams. Shock, trauma, loved ones hurt and/or dying. I try to be the sunshine in people's lives. I walk around with a smile and greet people and help them out during this trying stage in their lives. I understand it. I can never ever walk up on the 3rd floor of my hospital however. I'm reminded of when my Dad was there. I'm given something to deliver there on the 3rd floor and I see my Dad's old room. Can't imagine how doctor's deal with it everyday. You have to have a balance and some sense of humor.

Grafxgurl said...

well at least your life is never boring!!

PLus youre nice! :D

hrugaar said...

Sounds pretty similar to the humour in our workplace actually. I guess armed forces and emergency services need the extreme/gruesome sense of humour as a way of blowing off steam ... you have to have a sense of the ridiculous to preserve some kind of sanity.

Definitely not for joe public to hear, though, heh.

Anonymous said...

My doctor just came back from a two-week trip in Sweden for a Swing Dance conference. Pretty cool.

Gay doctors are hot.

Las montaƱas said...

depressing place the hospital... well, make some jokes at the patients' expense.

savante said...

Well, can't be serious all the time, envy. It'd drive me crazy.

thompson boy, it's true. Alld octors have their own ways of dealing with the stress. i blog. They smoke.

Hope to see you in the hospital soon, sharon :) Hope the nasty residents don't bite.

Thanks, jemima!

Depends on the time of day, callen.

No problem. Open all hours, nyonya.

A bit hard to get the sexy part, sue :) I'm alright for the rest.

Deal with it by laughing, anniiieie...

It certainly is never boring, grafxgurl.

Odd humours for crazy people, ru. Since only crazy people would take those jobs.

Cliff, swing is so cool!

Hardly ever, las montanas.


hrugaar said...

Crazy people? Yeah, I guess thats about right la. :oD

Chalks said...

when i started working this year, i was surprised by the jokes that were thrown around the department - the complete opposite of the professional facade that we have infront of patients. now, its what keeps me going when the going gets tough.

love ya blog

hb jock said...

Aww isn't it great to be young? Heheh and I'm glad to see that some doctors still have a sense of humor :)