IT’S funny how we know what makes us miserable, yet we continue to live with it.
Perhaps, we find our challenges quite amusing or we just don’t know how to win them over. Otherwise, why would we love the things that kill us? Pretty much, live for the things that’s choking us to death?
I kept thinking why I put myself in such a situation that doesn’t give me a choice. Well, sometimes it does when I am torn between getting up or getting fired.
For the record, I always get up. My conscience always told me that I’ve fought for this career, so I don’t have a choice but to do what I have sworn to do.
And, this is clearly one of these days when an angel and a devil are fighting inside my head. It’s killing me, considering the fact that it wasn’t an hour ago since I closed my eyes to get some sleep, but had to get up because another unlucky person was in an accident.
Could people just be more careful not to get in any kind of accident and have some time to actually make themselves healthy, so I don’t have to use my hands to save them?
Well, what’s a doctor without a patient, right? I figured out that’s how life works. Someone needs to be below, so others can go above. Sounds unfair, but what’s fair in the game of life?
“Zamora, take your goddamn phone!” Lauyton, a resident like me, demanded as the phone continued to ring.
“It’s not mine to take,” I lazily replied.
The fur blanket, my best friend Gabriella gave me, kept me from the cold breeze of October. I don’t even know why she gave me a blanket when I certainly don’t need it. Well, I guess she was reminding me to get some sleep which clearly I won’t be getting any time soon.
“Wake me up when September ends,” Lauyton groaned as he stopped his phone from ringing. He rolled over his bed, making the top of our deck bed move a little.
“It’s already October 1st,” I muttered.
It wasn’t only a minute when the alarm called code blue. I could only curse as I fought against my will. Why does it have to be at dawn? Doctors need sleep too.
“Now, that isn’t my phone to answer,” Lauyton surely said as he listened to the ringtone I set for one specific person, Dr. Sead - our fellow. I set a unique ringtone for him, so I know when not to answer my phone.
“What could possibly be wrong now?” I hissed in frustration. I counted one to five before pulling myself out of the bed.
“A vehicular accident,” Loud guessed. He jumped from the top of our bed, pulled his scrubs on the clothes rack and changed his shirt.
I yawned and slapped myself twice before getting my butt out of my bed.
We dashed to the emergency room. Lauyton was right. It was a vehicular accident.
“Damn!” he reacted. “That’s a lot to save!”
My eyes roamed around the scene as nurses and medics rushed more than ten people injured. Chaos were all over the place. Hospital staff were running side by side attending to patients whimpering in pain.
“What the hell happened here?” I whispered.
“Call Ortho!” The head nurse shouted while holding the leg of the guy who just came in. “I have his leg!”
“I need a hand in here!”
“More blood please!"
“Do we have any available beds?”
“Somebody call me Neuro!”
“Zamora! Layton! Are you just gonna stand in there?” Dr. Sead, the fellow I was talking about earlier, who has anger issues shouted at us.
“There you go!” Lauyton circled the penlight between his fingers before running to the patient.
I pulled my nude scrunchies, tied my hair, and ran to the nearest patient who started vomiting blood as soon as I reached him.
“What a beautiful thing to start the day,” I shook my head, but eventually smiled.
I’ve been in the medical field for years, yet I’m still not used to this kind of moment. But, this is the path I’ve chosen. I decided to use my beautiful hands to save lives.
AFTER hours of battling inside the operating room, saving lives, I felt the starvation. I wanted to eat, but my body couldn’t move. I sat on the floor along with the other residents who’re also exhausted from a row of surgeries.
The acidity was rising up my esophagus, which made it hard to breathe. My hands were numb and my mouth was so dehydrated that I could also feel it in my skin.
It took me minutes before I could recharge. I went straight to the residents’ quarter and washed my face that I wasn’t able to do a while ago.
The fridge was empty. A sudden frustration rushed in my mind, I told the interns to pick the groceries for us and no one bothered to follow my orders.
There was no other choice but to order food, so I picked my phone and ordered a bucket of chicken.
A feeling of refreshment lingered in my throat as I drank the cold water. I rested my back on the couch and tried to find sleep when Lauyton barged in.
He relaxed his back on the couch and threw a pack of banana milk towards me. It’s my favorite drink that often reminds me of the good old days.
“I’m freaking tired, but there’s a good cardio case. Do you want to battle with me?”
Lauyton waved the folder piled with a medical case that he probably stole, and started saying, “It’s a thoracic aortic dissection repair.”
“Dr. Tan will not allow you to scrub in,” I answered.
I pretended I’m not excited about the case, but my stomach is already filled with butterflies. That’s one of the most dangerous surgeries that I want to try. I remembered watching the procedure when I was still an intern, and hoped that one day I will be able to get my hands on it. I always wanted to be a cardiothoracic surgeon, so if there will be a chance I’ll fight for that surgery even if I don’t get to sleep.
Though, there’s no way they’ll allow us, residents, to perform such surgery without supervision. That’s a hell of a big procedure. Imagine, you are going to stop that heart from beating, and a heart-lung bypass machine will take over the heart’s function and maintain the circulation then you’ll replace the damaged aortic valve with a mechanical valve. Well, there’s other ways to do it. Much complicated to think, maybe even complicated to do. But hell, that’s fun!
“Dr. Arellano will be the assisting surgeon for that. It’s obvious,” I added. “So, give it back before Dr. Tan knows you stole it.”
Dr. Tan is the head of cardiothoracic surgery, and knowing Lauyton stole the case without even telling him means no scrubbing inside his operating room.
“Psh! Where’s the fun in that?” Lauyton sighed.
I stood up and grabbed a cup of coffee to sip when the code blue rang again.
“You gotta be kidding me! I want to sleep!” I screamed in frustration as Lauyton laughed.
“We don’t sleep,” Lauyton smiled as he grabbed his penlight. “C’mon, let’s have fun saving lives!”
And, I can only pray I still have his energy.
The medical team dashed inside the emergency room. The scream of terrors were seen in the faces of the victims as the team carried them inside. There’s no fun anymore, but trauma as patients cried in pain. Death is inevitable.
I blinked in disbelief. There are more than 30 people injured or so close to death rushing inside the emergency room. It was suffocating me that I had to inhale and exhale more than twice. It’s so hard to grasp.
I searched across the room, trying to determine who needs care the most when I am only a fourth-year resident and our attending surgeons were still inside the operating room because of a bus accident a while ago.
“What happened?” I ran to the medics and met the head nurse, Julia.
“It’s a plane crash. The craft fell in the bottom of the bay. It’s a big aircraft that holds more than 500 people. Victims that are not trauma or critical were rushed to other hospitals. We got more than 50 patients coming in, and also the captain of the plane is on his way here. He’s critical. It took them hours before they could revive his body from the bay,” Nurse Julia explained as fast as she could while both of us were checking the patients one by one.
“Same with the co-pilot and three flight attendants,” she added.
“What a day!” I sighed. “Okay, let’s do this!” I tied my hair and thought of a plan, yet there’s no plan, just do as much as we could to save the one who needs saving.
I ordered the interns and the other lower years to see the other patients that aren’t critical as we wait for the captain and the others. Professor Argazon, the head of General Surgery is still in the operating room with Dr. Sead. That’s when I realized there’s no available attending surgeon since most of them were still in the operating room.
Don’t tell me I need to operate on my own? I mean, I do a lot of operations, but I’m still a resident who needs supervision from the attending. I’ve done solo surgeries, but they’re not major surgeries, so I am hoping I don’t get to do a major one. No, erase that! Let me get a major surgery. It’s a big break and I know Lauyton was also thinking of the same thing. I will never lose to him! Hah!
After a minute, the ambulance parked outside the emergency room. We ran to meet them. They pulled the stretcher out as the rescue team started telling their situation.
“I’ll get this,” Lauyton said. “Get the captain. They called saying he’s in an asystole.”
“What? That’s freaking the most serious cardiac arrest,” I whispered to myself. It means that there’s no tissue contraction from the heart muscle, so there’s no blood flow to the rest of the body, which also means he’s near to death - well means he’s just waiting for the angel of death to fetch him.
Why the hell did the plane crash? It’s not everyday a plane crashes.
“He’s in V-fib!” The rescuer shouted while still doing CPR. They pulled the stretcher out.
“We need to warm him up!” I ordered. “Let’s get him inside-- Oh my God!” I gasped.
My body suddenly lost its motion. I was paralyzed.
There was screaming, yet I couldn’t hear them. It felt like the world was shut down for a minute as I watched him lying on the bed.
I closed my eyes and prayed that I was only dreaming. Maybe, I was only imagining his body lying on the bed because I missed him, and I always remember him whenever a plane crossed in the sky. Yet, when I opened my eyes, tears fell.
My lips started to tremble as I stared at his cold and drenched body. I screamed in my head, but the words were empty. The wind babbled through my ears, whispering terrors. My knees started to weaken, as the reality pierced deep into my heart.
“Dr. Zamora! Dr. Zamora!” They shouted my name. “What are you doing?” They tapped my shoulder, but I remained stationary.
The familiar smell of saltwater crawled in my skin as memories kept flashing back.
It was at that moment I knew I’m miserable at best.