Sunday, 30 March 2008

First day in big school.

Posted by Dr. Thunder

So, I'm a working man.

I've started my new job. Babies everywhere. And I mean EVERYWHERE! It's a huge unit. Much bigger than I'm used to back in the UK

But it's all good. Much better than being bored at home.

It all started slowly enough, with no real action to speak of on my first shift. Day 2 started the same, until Jacob entered this world!!!!

Jacob had reached 28 weeks gestation when he decided he was bored in his mummy's tummy. So, encouraged by the local spell of good weather we've been having, he decided to go on his holidays the outside world. He was born 2days ago weighing just under 1kg.

We were ready and waiting for this young man when he popped out,though, and the team sprang into action. It all went well. He wasn't too well at first, and needed to be resucitated for about 20 minutes in the delivery room where he was born. This all happened in close proximity to his parents, which is never ideal, but is sadly unavoidable in many cases. Then he was transferred to the special care nursery, where he had a rough ride for an hour or 2 before he was stabilised. He's doing well at the minute. His folks are a bit shellshocked, which is to be expected, but so far so good.

It was good to get the first big resuscitation over and done with early on. Things like that are important when you're trying to establish yourself as an important member of a team.

The team itself are all pretty friendly. There's a very laid back atmosphere in the department, and the consultants are on first name terms with us all.

So, for now, there are no complaints. The hours are infinitely better than back home. When I work overtime I get paid overtime, and I rarely work longer than 8.5 hours continuously.

Of course, some things are the same wherever you work in the swipe card still doesn't work. I still don't have a password for the blood results system, and the coffee is dreadful.

But, overall, the move seems like a good one. Watch this space, though, and see if I still feel the same in a month's time.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Finally registered!!!

So, nothing here is straightforward.

I'm now registered with the medical board. Happy days. I applied in October. Was supposed to start my job mid January. So, why am I sitting on my ass mid march, bored out of my head and writing silly "archives" posts to fill space? :P

Registration came to me today, via email at about 5pm. That's all very well, except the conversation with the hospital just hours prior to this went as follows:

me: Any news on my registration?

hospital: Well, the medical board have given us an assurance that you will be ready to go a week from monday.

me: A whole other week? I'm going stir crazy here. I'm considering going away to Cairns for that week to see my relatives, as I can't just keep sitting round doing nothing.

Hospital: Oh yes, there's no way your registration will come through before monday week, got on a plane and have a nice wee holiday.

So, I get off the phone and book a flight to Cairns at 3pm, leaving tomorrow morning.

At 5pm I get an email from the medical board "Dear Dr. Thunder, your registration has been approved. You are free to start work immediately".

It would make the baby Jesus weep!

I'm going to Cairns anyway. There's a locum covering me, so she can have a few extra days getting twice my hourly wage, before I take over.

I'll keep the blog posted about what's happening. if I have access to "an internet" in Cairns, I have one more installment of the Dr. Thunder archives that i want to post. Then hopefully the next time you hear from me, I'll have some interesting stories to tell.

Wish me luck!!!

Dr. Thunder.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

The Dr. Thunder Archives

So, In the absence of a work permit for the next week or so, blogging has been thin on the ground. I'd hoped to have many varied tales of life and death exploits in the neonatal unit to share with you by now. But sadly not.

Now, I'm assuming nobody wants to read about my daytime-TV-watching exploits, or my latest martial arts injuries. Therefore...ladies and gentlemen....let me present....episode 1 of....


Until my work permit comes through, I'm going to reminisce about the good old days (ie the pre-blogging glory days!). I'll be writing about some of the experiences that have shaped me, for better or worse, into the quack that I am today ;)

I was reading the excellent "studying under a palm tree" blog today ( This is a blog by a young Australian medical student, who is currently coming to terms with putting drips into patients, and taking blood.

This brought back fond memories of a student Thunder enthusiastically learning the noble art of intravenous access. It all started in our 2nd year GP placement. Myself and my colleague were told by the GP tutor to take blood from each other.

We'd both seen each other's manual dexterity on show in the dissecting room, where neither of us had covered ourselves in glory.

"let's just do this, mate. Get it over with, then get to the pub", I said to Pete.

"OK, I'll go first" he replies.

So, I'm sitting there. Pale, shaky, sweaty. I'd not seen anyone looking so nervous in a long time. Until i looked at pete, clumsily clutching a HUGE needle in his tremulous hands.

"Oh Jesus".

Attempt 1: Well, it was in my ARM. Nowhere near a vein, but at least it was the right limb. Oh, the pain, though.

Attempt 2: "er, i think that's my artery"

Attempt 3: "aaaaarrrrrggggghhhhhhhhhhhh"

To this day, the nerve implicated in attempt 3's disaster has never fully recovered.

At this point, pete gave up, and I was all ready to get my revenge. I picked up the needle. Cleaned his arm. Stuck the needle in........


Sweet baby Jesus, blood is gushing into the syringe.

My GP tutor expertly guided me through the rest of the process. End result..successful blood taking. 1st time. Thank you very much.

So, after a week of being Mr. Cocky around campus, I found myself on the liver ward in the local hospital, under the "supervision" of a very tired intern.

This exhausted girl seemed at the edge of reason as things stood. So, when she was presented with 6 2nd year medical students for "clinical practise training" she almost cried.

"I don't suppose any of you guys can take blood or do cannulas, can you?". In unison, my 5 colleagues said "student Thunder can".

"Oh f*ck".

It seems that, in my attempts to impress a couple of the hotter medical students, I may have told them that I was "competent" in cannulating and taking blood.

"ah good. student Thunder, go and put a drip into the man in bed 4, and take the bloods that are written in his notes".

"Oh sh*t".

"and bring the other students. You can teach them how to do it."

"Oh B*ollocks".

Anyway, in I went, followed by a gaggle of white coats. The patient was the same as every patient I ever came across in liver wards in Scotland...he was an alcoholic, with severe liver disease, and very grumpy as he was in "cold turkey".

"Who the hell are you?"

"Hi sir, I'm student Thunder. I'm going to be putting your new drip in and taking some blood".

"OK, but I hate doctors, I hate paddys, and I hate needles".

So, a good start.

So, I'm ready to go. My colleagues were leaning over my shoulder...far enough behind me to gain protection from this Father Jack lookalike, but close enough to see exactly what I'm doing. So, bear in mind that, at this point, I'd never put a drip into anyone. I'd only taken one total fluke of a blood sample from Pete the rugby player, with his huge veins.

Attempt 1: I place the needle directly into the man's muscle. I don't know which muscle. Probably several muscles, as I went so deep.

"arrrgggggggghhhhh you f*ckin c*nt paddy, what the hell are you doing????".

My sweat levels are rising, my hands are trembling.

Attempt 2: Somewhere near the gentleman's shoulder, if I recall correctly.

"arrrrrggggggghhhhhhhhhh HELPPPPPPPPPPPPP, please HELLLPPPPPPPPPP. There's someone trying to kill meeeeeeeee". The sound of his shrieks would have deafened an elephant.

So, as 2 nurses and a doctor rushed into the cubicle, I'm standing there with a blood covered needle. There's blood all over the patient's arm. He's writhing in agony. This is not a good look for me.

"Get this f*cker out of here. He's a monster. He's trying to kill me"

I got shunted out of the way by the intern, who slided the cannula in effortlessly. The patient said "Thanks doc, I hardly felt it".

One embarrassed looking student Thunder stood outside the cubicle with his colleagues. "I thought you could do cannulas, Thunder?" says hot lady number 1.

"yea but he had really bad veins".


Just as I was trying to escape to the relative safety of the library, I heard the voice of another junior doctor behind me. "Thunder, I heard you saying earlier that you can take blood".


"yea, he's been telling us all week how good he is at it" says hot lady number 2.

"here, take blood from the man in cubicle 3. He's an intravenous drug user, so he hasn't got much in terms of veins. I have to run. Bring the other students with you, and show them how to do it" he says, as he disappears away down the corridor.

A bad, bad day.

I never got a date, and it was another 2 years before I successfully put a cannula in. Thought it would never happen.

But it did. It always does. So "stick" with it, kids :P

Practise on rugby players with huge veins.

And when you get good at it, make sure to tell EVERYONE ;)

*Also known as the Dr.Thunder gratuitous space-filling exercise

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Jealous + Cold all out there, apologies from me too. I also neglected the blog, life got in the way, along with a few x-box games and the usual post-xmas slump. I'll echo the word of the good Doc though, in saying that I'll be making much more of an effort!

So, now back in the motherland, we're in the beginnings of the Irish springtime, its wet, mostly pretty cold and windy from time to time. Not at all like Oz.........its going to be interesting when Dr Thunder gets going though, and we can compare and contrast the differing healthcare systems.

Since the last run of posts, things have been fairly turbulent in the world of Irish healthcare.

We've had the embargo on hiring new staff to the service, with a few exceptions. This was supposed to finish in January, but apparently this hasn't happened across the board yet.

We've seen media reports of the health service needing to shave about €300 million off the budget inorder to get close to breaking even this year.

The nurses have been at it again..........the latest round of pay discussions about to kick off, following a governement sponsored report which gave pay increases to no-one apart from a lucky bunch of senior managers across the public sector, pharmacists and consultants are also getting in on the act, though, fingers crossed the consultants have gotten sorted.

And in the middle of all this we've had patients on waiting list for colonoscopies for months, dying in A&E departments while lying on trolleys, contracting MRSA and other hospital acquired infections in pretty overcrowded hospitals and generally making a nusisance by being sick and expecting a decent standard of healthcare services from their government. Some things never change!!

To hear me going on, you'd think it was all doom and gloom! But its, as luck might have it, Mary the health minister got to go to the Superbowl, and we all know how much of an American footy fan she is!

Seriously though, its not all bad. I've had, on a personal level a good couple of months. Wedding plans are proceeding nicely, and the missus hasn't gone mental with wedding stress yet, though I have a few rectal diazepam in a safe place for when it does happen. Work has been busy but good, lots of interesting stuff coming through the door, and not all in our normal speciality which has been cool, and I'm also starting to maybe get plans together for a US working excursion, so maybe in a year or so, your favourite nurse-blogger will be telling it like it is from the good ol US of A, cialis adverts and all.

Thats it for now, I'll be back at the weekend. i've something in mind for a post then,but until then feel free to comment or make requests!


Tuesday, 4 March 2008

I wish I had something to blog about....

.....I really really do!

I've been in Australia 3 weeks now, and my license to practise still isn't ready to go. Seems the ozzies are a lot more strict about who they give work visas to than the New Zealanders were. Anyway, they promise me it should all be sorted in the next week or so. Then hopefully I'll be back to work, complaing about the lack of time off!

I never realised how difficult it is to pass the time when you're essentially unemployed. I mean, daytime TV just doesn't cut the mustard for me.

In a boredom-fuelled frenzy, I've taken up martial arts. A very very sore foot, courtesy of a huge eastern european, is testament to my lack of success in that particular field. I'm also back taking drumming lessons. And I've gotten involved with a local first-aid group.

That's a total of about 8 hours per week sorted, then :P

The good news, though, is that all this free time has given me lots of time to go to the gym, with noticeable gut-reduction already.

Right, time to get up out of bed and....well, do nothing. But at least I'm doing it in the sunshine :D

Wish you were here,

Dr. Thunder