I’ll be your baby tonight

baby.jpgAt 4.45 am on Sunday morning I’m sitting in a back room on the ward, fiddling with songs on Logic Pro, buzzing from too much coffee and waiting for the bleep to go off.

Yet it doesn’t. I kind of like this job. I’ve had two very civilized nights so far. I’m most impressed.

I am now back in the world of full time employment. And while I’m in no way busting a gut, I do at least have to turn up every day as opposed to when I want to like my recent locums.

I am also now a little person doctor (which is different from being a little doctor…). Smaller, sightly less hairy versions of the homo sapiens I’m more accustomed to dealing with.

This has advantages and disadvantages. There is a distinct lack of drunken violence and suicidal ideation. This is what I would normally spend my Saturday nights in work dealing with. I suppose I consider this an advantage.

Of course being smaller, it means the veins are a tad harder to hit. So I have to use the wee tiny needles all the time and try to maintain an even steadier hand than usual – which the coffee earlier on wasn’t helping. I suppose this would be a disadvantage but I kind of like the challenge.

The neonates (ie newborns) are the biggest novelty to me. They are, completely and unsurprisingly – tiny. With tiny hands, and tiny feet and tiny toes and tiny noses. I know this sounds elementary but they are especially cute and I get to play with them as part of my job.

One of my jobs is to do routine ‘baby checks’, screening for heart conditions, hip problems and cataracts mostly. Mainly it’s a simple head to toe and a “your baby’s normal” and onto the next one. The idea of assessing normality needs a completely different mindset from that which I’ve practiced for the last three years – ie that most patients I saw would be at immediate risk of serious illness and possibly death (whether they were or not I was to presume the worst and hope for the best).

The concept of normality and routine health checks are a tad foreign to me. I’ve surprised myself at how much I’ve actually enjoyed it.

Though the wee buggers do try to piss or vomit on you when you’re examining them, especially the boys with their multi-directional apparatus. Surprising the height of the fountain a 36 hour old can generate. I had one this morning who was doing his very best to pee in my eye while I checked the pulses in his legs. It kind of backfired and and he ended up peeing in his own face. Is it wrong to feel smug bout getting one over on someone barely a day old?

When you realize how much can possibly go wrong with the process then the fact that any of us make it (never mind how many of us make it in perfect normality and working order) at all is stunning.

Neonates are a bundle of peeing, pooing crying reflexes that somehow end up with personalities we come to love and hate and people who learn to be happy and sad and bring joy and pain into the world.

The whole concept of human development from embryo to person is simply mind boggling and a beautiful process. Though I admit it tends to take a bit of a downturn once we learn to talk and think and invade Poland the like

Not that I don’t think it’s good we move on from being bundles of pissing, pooing, crying reflexes (with such cute little noses…)  it’s just that it all seems to get a lot more messy, and I’m not talking of poo or pee…

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February 2008
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