April 25, 2009

'Cause at a Point, Some People Will Make You Realize How Lucky You Are

The first rotation for this summer was the best! Honestly, all of us never thought it would turn out that way. The 'Ward' may be the most boring area of hospitals, but not in NCMH (National Center for Mental Health).

We were assigned in the Infirmary (Pavilion 7) - Male Med/Surg Ward. This hospital's infirmary is what they call the hospital within the hospital because it has its own ER, OR, etc. This means that besides having the psychiatric illness, patients in this pavilion are also having med/surg problems.

The whole NCMH, according to our CI is 46.5 hectares, making it the biggest hospital dealing with mental illness in Asia. Imagine how big that is and how struck we were when we walked from the gate up to Pavilion 7.

The feeling at first was indescribable - scared and all. The smell inside was unbearable even with mask on, but eventually we got used to it after the 5 days of duty there. It's not the typical ward you see, it's more of a prison cell at a glance, with padlocks on the gates. You see patients with restraints, a patient who keeps on talking (actually just blabbing), patients who are quiet, really quiet, and patients who look normal... Who wouldn't be troubled when at the back of your mind it's telling you: "Hey, you'll be inside that prison cell few minutes from now and you'll touch those persons because you'll be getting their vital signs!"

But once you're inside, all the anxieties will be gone. I cannot totally say they're harmless, maybe during our stay none of them showed indifferent manners, but we were warned that some of them have the tendency to be impulsive. You take their vital signs and you interact with them. For my individual patient, I often asked him about how he feels because he might be having some episodes of angina since he was diagnosed to have IHD (Ischemic Heart Disease) but he'll often answer: "Ipinapanalangin ko na lang lahat sa Panginoon. S'ya na ang bahala." I can tell that he really is a religious person. He often shouts "Jehovah po" or sometimes "Iglesia ho", like campaigning to vote for them. He also kneels at time and prays. He even said that he prays for us (students), so that we can graduate. He often say thanks to me whenever I have done little things for him, especially the afternoon care.

Third day was the day I was really touched.
I never told my patient my name because I'm sure he cannot remember it. I think that his mental problem was inconsistent because whenever we're in a conversation, he answers questions accordingly with what I have asked. But whenever he forget the next sentence or lines he is suppose to say, he will just utter "Ah, yun lang po," or "Jehovah po. Jehovah po." Then when I was cleaning his arms with the towel, he suddenly said, "Kahapon, nilinisan din ako eh. Si Eder ba yun," then I said, "Estudyante din po?" and he looked at my nameplate, "Eh, ikaw din pala yun e. Ethel pala," then he giggled about not having to recognize me sooner. Awww. *touched* Er? with our mask and all of course he'll not recognize me that easy. That's the longest conversation we had. :)

It really made me wonder how each of them seems to understand each other well. Nobody's complaining of the noise made by the other. Some of them even help other patients who cannot sit on their own during feeding by holding their backs so they can sit.

We had our daily dose of jokes from the ward. Unexpectedly, you will just notice yourself smiling or even laughing while watching the patients inside.

I'll share some of those scenes here:
There is a restrained patient, he's quite strong and he kicks staffs whenever they're near so both hands and feet were restrained. One night, he got fed up of being restrained, 'nagwala' in our term. He was shouting "Ayoko na, pakawalan niyo na ko." Then a few minutes after, he was saying "Picolo, Goten! Tulong!" And the funniest part of all, he suddenly shouted in slow-mo "KA-ME-HA-ME WAVEEE!"
*If you're not familiar those were characters and lines from Dragonball-Z. :D

In relation to the first one, that happened when we were conducting our interview for our case presentation. Our client couldn't help but look to the patient above. The problem is that patient is not wearing shorts or even underwear, so his organ is exposed. Our client for case pres is gay. :) So we told him not to look and asked him what to say to the patient shouting. He said "Yakkk! Mag-shorts ka nga," in a gayish manner. :D
With the staffs, HANDS DOWN! They are very kind and accomodating. No wonder, because with the job they have there, it really requires love and passion. :)

Yay! I want to tell more about the experience we had. Maybe I'll have a separate entry about our last day there.

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