What a Relief!Temitope Oyetunji
When was the last time you slept with one eye open?
For me, it was three days ago.
Three days ago, I was on call and a woman who had just given birth had pushed against a partially dilated cervix and sustained an extensive cervical laceration. Though the laceration was sutured in the labour ward, at the start of call hours, it was discovered she was still bleeding actively, so we had to go to theatre for a repair.
But the storm wasn’t over. She continued bleeding even after the repair in theatre and the second on call figured there might have been an extension of the tear to the body of the uterus. But he thought it a bad idea to enter theatre a second time because if we ran into trouble in the wee hours of the night, help may be far away, so we were to watch till morning while she was being transfused with blood.
That was what brought about sleeping with an eye open, not just because I was on call but because I was the one in labour ward when the tear happened and I was responsible for the woman. When the house officer called me at daybreak to update me about the patient, relief swept all over me. She was still bleeding minimally but she had received two units of blood and was clinically stable.
In the morning, we explored the genital tract again and discovered there were clots in the uterus which we evacuated as much as we could and hoped the woman wouldn’t need another trip to the theatre.
I handed over to the next doctor at some minutes past eight and I have never been so relieved to hand over. To have someone else continue the management was such a relief. Like a runner in a relay race, I had done my part, and now it was time for those who slept with two eyes closed to continue.
Today, I checked on the woman first thing when I got to work and she was doing well. The bleeding ceased shortly after we left two days earlier and she had received an additional unit of blood, totaling three. And that was another point of relief.
A doctor is relieved when they transfer the management of the patient to another member of the team, and a doctor is relieved when their patient get a good clinical outcome, when the sleepless nights and hard work pays off.
You know what else gives me relief? When I engage in ‘extra-doctoral’ activities like writing these blogposts and making videos. By the way, I uploaded a new video about five things doctors wishes their patients knew, watch here.
So tell me, what gives you relief?