Posted in Paediatrics 

To be honest, I’ve never been around kids younger than me and maybe that is the reason why there’s an unsurmountable divide between us, the kids and I that is. 

It goes without saying that there’s always going to be that air of awkwardness when I get posted to the dreaded department of paediatrics. Me being uncomfortable would be an understatement. Physically and mentally paralysed would be more appropriate. 

While I’m here, I might as well make up for all the lost years. With the exploding population, of which, a majority happens to be of the paediatric age group, I hardly doubt I can turn a blind eye to them.

First day of posting. 

Wearing a stethoscope around my neck and fidgeting with the clinical manual for paediatrics in my hand, I take ironically long strides to reach Ward 5. This reminds me of several movie narrations where they say, “and here we are, crossing the line that will decide whether we shall live henceforth or succumb to the beast beyond. There, in a chilling glory, stood room no. 326, the hotel’s most eery corner.”

Only, this wasn’t a hotel room and there weren’t any damned spirits waiting to unleash their wrath upon my tiny frame. 

Lucky me.

Determined to get past this problem, I take a deep breath and enter the ward. Thankfully, the patients were scarce and that was definitely a huge relief. Both for the parents and us medical professionals I suppose. 

I never wanted to learn swimming. I was more of a football and basketball enthusiast (any sport other than swimming actually) but then again my mother had a mind of her own and neither my protests nor my high pitched child cries could do anything to change her mind. The coach, resembled the crafty old wolf while I was the naive little red riding hood. Quite obviously, I hated him. My personality doesn’t seem to be in congruence with the kind little red but let’s just go with it for now. 

Without an iota of concern for my escalating heart rate, the cruel coach lifted me off of the edge of the pool and threw me into it at the deeper side like I weighed nothing (I didn’t, I was the size of a peanut) and not to forget how he made the effort to adjust his stance and launch me like a javelin. 

For those who ask, no, it wasn’t a joy ride. 

Sorry, I’m digressing. The point is, I felt a sense of deja vu. I was being thrown head first into an unknown territory but the difference is, I’m actually enjoying the ride this time. Of course I will, I’m not kicking and slashing desperately to avoid drowning. Duh.

So yesterday, I was assigned a case and this patient was diagnosed with Tuberculosis. A fairly troublesome respiratory illness. Curable if things are done at the right time and right way. 

We were a group of four students who were asked to examine her. Yes, her. Therein lies half of our problems. You see, the female population has these annoying pair of appendages on their chest and you just cannot ask them to take their top off in an open ward.

This kid, though only 10 years of age, had the chest awareness of an adult. I mean, I don’t remember being shy to take off my shirt in front of the doctor but then again, this was a ward and my memory is terrible. 

We took her into the examination room, casually conversed with her whilst trying to get her acclimatised to our presence. Seemed to be working. Or so I thought. 

The minute we asked her to take her top off, she broke into fits of laughter and expressed her shyness. After a lot of futile attempts at persuasion, I had no choice but to go for the last resort. 

“It’s ok kid, there’s nothing you have that we haven’t already seen and I understand your problem, I have them too you know.” 

Nailed it. 

One down, several more to go. As we proceeded with the examination, I was beginning to think that the chest exposing part was the least difficult of them all. I prayed that she wasn’t ticklish. 

I cashed in on all the unluckiness I think. I didn’t even have to touch her for her to cower and turn away. 

Time for plan B. I got my friend to talk to her and keep her distracted while I checked everything. Mission accomplished. 

The next case I got was of an eleven month old infant and boy was he adorable. 

Lessons learnt about an infant: 

1. Don’t give them your ID card to play with, especially not when it’s still around your neck. The kid almost chocked me to death. 

Death by mini homo sapien. 

2. Don’t keep your case record in their vicinity. He managed to drool on it and his saliva managed to sink through half that book. Not to mention how he then reduced that pile of wet paper into a pile of torn paper. 

3. Don’t hold your stethoscope against their chest when they’re active and in the mood to be sadistic. I think I lost my eardrums that day.

4. Don’t delay their feed. The kid will have no problems in scratching your eyeballs out. Their nails are too tiny to be cut. In other words, the kid hath no mercy.

5. Try and Wear a helmet? They fling things at you when you least expect it. Stealth mode on.

That’s all for now folks! 

A.W.

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