To be deployed in the hospital to function as a doctor is a whole lot of a different experience than how it was almost a decade ago when I worked in the wards as a student nurse. From the number of hours per shift to the overall role in the work place, the difference is a thousand miles apart.
This year, I got to experience my first birthday inside the hospital. Honestly, it wasn’t the schedule that I wanted. I would prefer to have a day off or from-duty post on my birthday but I didn’t bother to switch schedules with other members of the team since, let’s be honest, one would have thought about it as a fun new experience.
A few days after came Christmas eve. Everyone in the ward suddenly became extra busy last December 24 trying to balance the time for each admitted patient and decorating the Pedia Clerks’ Work Room for Noche Buena. To put it simply, “Noche Buena” literally translates to “(the) Good Night” where families and friends gather together a few minutes before 12 midnight of Christmas Day to dine and celebrate. It’s a common tradition among Spanish-influenced countries such as the Philippines, Mexico, and most of the Latin American nations. On that day, I was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) attending to a preterm newborn patient delivered via Cesarean Section. The three of us assigned there only had intermittent chances to go to the ward where our Christmas dinner was prepared. Nope, that wasn’t fun at all. Imagine everyone else in the ward having fun taking a break from the everyday scenes inside the hospital while the three of us downstairs had to keep a patient inside the NICU alive and thermoregulated. Not. Fun. At. All.
When I went upstairs, I was surprised to see the effort of all the ward people scattered all over the place. From the Christmas decors to the food in the table, it’s safe to say that the Christmas dinner that we had in the hospital was a good one. Though all of us weren’t with our families for Christmas, the team didn’t fail to somehow let us feel the spirit of Christmas inside the hospital.
The career path that we chose is a perilous one. I’m aware that these firsts will have succeeding sequels. Despite the tight schedules that usually lead to occasional disorientation to time and date, the most important thing to consider here is the fact that I am enjoying what I’m doing. Celebrating a white Christmas (Christmas inside the white walls of the hospital) wasn’t bad at all. In fact, everyone had fun and got a click of revitalization, leaving the stresses and all the sleepless nights in temporary oblivion. It was Christmas away from home but near the company of great friends and mentors. I think I could get used to this. At the end of the day, no material thing would top a former patient’s Christmas greeting and endless gratitude.
Feliz Navidad para todos.
Que Dios nos bendiga y nos proteja.