Monday, 9 April 2018

Those little efforts near the end of the day

On and off, it happens that near the end of the day, we still have something quite important to do. We feel tired and consider putting it off until the next day, but there is this little piece of conscience that nudges us not to postpone it, but forget how tired we are and still do it.

It is often during these small extra efforts we make that we encounter the nicest opportunities to do something really meaningful for our fellow human beings or something really useful. I share here a small story of this afternoon from my work:

This afternoon I got a call of one of our medical officers about a child of 1.5 years old, who was connected to a breathing machine (ventilator). It was a ventilator they had borrowed from our unit (for newborn babies) and he asked some technical questions about the settings on the ventilator and the settings (pressure, timing) the child should receive. I give him the advice that I felt best suited the child and promised to pay a visit to the child as soon as my teaching finished. 

After my teaching I was called by my own ward of newborn babies. It was late in the afternoon when I remembered the promise to go and see the child, I had been consulted for. The child was not directly under my care and I felt I had been well informed over the phone and given adequate advice. That was my ego, trying to talk me into going home instead of making the long walk to the other ward. I tried to silence my ego and followed the nudge of my conscience and went to the ward. 

The baby was in a stable condition and had responded well to the suggestions, I had given over the phone. I reviewed the charts and blood results and the monitoring of the child and decided to keep the ventilator settings unchanged. Then the mother started to talk to me. We talked for a while. I think it meant quite a lot to the mother.

Looking back, I am glad I went to see the child and had not listened to my ego. I was reassured that the advice I gave over the phone was OK. And what was more, our universe had given me a wonderful opportunity to relieve some of he worries of a mother in distress. And that gave me truly peace of mind. 

Over time, in my profession as a doctor, I have had quite a few similar experiences, when I went through a small struggle between ego and conscience and whenever I managed to listen to conscience, I have found a sense of peace of mind and often some serendipity (unexpected good things) within the event.

I hope this little story will inspire some friends. It is not at all intended to boast about myself :)


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