ASJ Anniversary

22 THE GLEANER | SUNDAY, MARCH 3, 2019 ASSOCIATION OF SURGEONS IN JAMAICA 60TH ANNIV SARY FE TURE: T E SUNDAY GLEANER MAGAZINE | MARCH 3, 2019 F EAR AND apprehension are common experiences of the interaction between doctors and their patients. In fact, it is not an overstatement to mention that an elevationof one’s bloodpressure is an expectationof a patient when facing his/her doctor. Apprehension, yes, as one can never correctly predict the out- come of what might appear to be the most basic medical examina- tion, as it ranges from the‘all is well’, much to the patient’s content, to something far more complex with the need for further intervention. And such was my experi- ence when I first sought to self-medicate on a September morning before panic and later, what can be described as a real crisis was experienced. It started with what first appeared as the common cold, accompanied by stuffiness in the ears. This was similar to the symptoms I expe- rienced when I was assessed as having a middle-ear infection. The ailment was treated with a course of Cephalosporin, which was effec- tive after two days, so the remaining course was stored just in case it was needed again. Remembering this, I carefully researched the tablets in order to deal with this new problem. The next morning, I became con- cerned as I experienced a change in my voice, which was accompanied by a strange feelingof the tongue.The beginnings of the allergic reaction were self-assessed as the possibility of pharyngitis! Thankfully, the pres- ence of the antihistamines taken for the runny nose slowed the onset of shortness of breathof the self-treating physician. But greater panic was left to be experienced. The dyspnea created another level of alarm that required the need for urgent second opinion. One cannot go to thedoctor untidy, so it was imperative that a shower be had before the journey to the hospital, which was, fortunately, on the same compound. Knowing that my problems were in the upper airway, I thought best to find the Entertainment Servicewhose sched- ule I knew well as that was the last rotation, I had been placed on. Tonsillectomy is a quick operation in thehands of the skilledDr Johnson, so I decided to await the completion of this procedure. There must have been some difficulty as he did not seem to finish fast enough to avoid the onset of stridor. The emergency room, fortunately, was adjacent to the operating suite. The initial blood investigationwas ex- cellent, and a thought of a supraten- torial diagnosis must have been entertained. However, the struggles during hypoxia were followed by a wave of tiredness and then panic for my surrounding friends as the cyanosis nowbecame evident inmy peripheries. Next was the slowing of my heart rate; which I was not aware of as I was a distant spectator to the commotion aroundme. My good friend whispered to me that he was going to administer adrenaline and that “I would feel bad”. The possibility of death had not entered my mind as I was in a hospital surrounded by competent medical staff, all of whom were my friends. He did not lie! The adrena- line went straight to my heart and ripped it out or at least, that was how I felt. I was sure I had died, and I felt that I sat up and shouted the same, but no one can remember this event! The next words I heard were, “I need more retractors”, as the stab into my windpipe. The surgical clamps could be felt hanging off the neck, but there was no pain! The completion of the tracheostomy was done in the operating theatre. I truly recognised the fortune that I had, being close to the hospital, and the fact that it happened during the early morning, when everyone was present. The lines were slowly being placed, but I grabbed the hand which seemed to be heading to insert the urinary catheter. Our eyes met, and I pleaded and hand -signalled that I could use a urinal. Being on the other side has taught me what it is like to be a patient, experiencing anxiety, real fear, and eventual panic. Thankfully, many doctors may never experience ill health until well on into their careers. This also illustrates the need for members of the medical team to View from the other side of the table PLEASE SEE VIEW, 23