Archive for September, 2014

The Promise

Posted: September 21, 2014 by gerardloh in Storyboard

This is a story about my mentor

My second posting was one I dreaded the most – O&G

I remember it quite vividly.

It was my first day reporting for duty at the O&G department. Having just came back from a long CNY break, I wasn’t upbeat about this.

The steps were similar, first find the department’s PA, fill in forms…and ooh wait, something different. This time, we were assigned MENTORS.

Ofcourse, prior to the posting, we would ask friends who had passed the posting. How is it like? Who’s the fiercest MO? Who to watch out for? It was always exciting to join a new department.

One by one our names were called. And then came my turn.  I got Dr R.  And yes, she was one of the most feared ones. Gulp!

Tagging in O&G was different. There was a list of things you had to do and a viva with your mentor to pass – including delivering 10 babies.

There were about 10 of us new HOs. So the rat race began. I was never the outspoken HO, and didnt like racing with the rest, so I was quite left behind.

I didnt have the best luck in O&G. While waiting for my potential victims to complete my list, they usually ended up going for a EMLSCS…or a Vacuum delivery! That’s when I met my mentor the first time. She performed the VAD, and I stood there starring at her.  Is this the right time to say hello? Looking at her, she had that aura too..

Suddenly she turned around and looked at me, with those stern, fiery and experienced eyes….and then ignored me, and called for another senior HO to assist.
That’s it lah- I thought. Gone…

Needless to say, I did not dare to approach her as the days gone by..Alas it was time for my assessment…with my mentor.

I gathered all my strength and nervously went up to her – Hello Dr, errr…we are your mentees…(me and wife)…
What came next was something I wish to forget. The thing I call the HAIR DRYER. It was dreadful. I never looked at her face, but I assume it was full of fire and anger.
She stormed off after giving me a piece of her mind, and left us with a certain “promise”.

I was at fault. I admit it. I had waited till assessment day to introduce myself to my mentor! A week after starting at the dept.  I was terrified at the sight of her, what more to approach her.

Eventually, Dr R cooled down, and was REALLY a cool mentor. All of my first times were with her…my first caesar, ectopic…what a coincidence, no?
O&G was the most eventful and disastrous posting for me, but I took comfort in my mentor, and she defended me, and guided me to the finish line. She may have a fiery temper, but deep inside, I saw a confident and caring lady.  She was always approachable and I discovered the funny side of her.

She never really fulfilled her “promise”, and in fact it was the complete opposite.


Ever since then, I always remembered the important lesson.  Always introduce yourself to your bosses, and mentor!



Thank you Dr R, my mentor, my friend.  This is for you




The Malignant

Posted: September 21, 2014 by gerardloh in Storyboard

I remember my first day vividly.

It was a fine day in October. Having successfully appealed my choice of hospital, I was quite upbeat, and a little nervous.
This is the day we have been waiting for ever since reading medicine. Am I ready for this? No.

We first assembled at the Jabatan Pentadbiran office, and were soon directed to a small meeting room. There were about 30 of us new House Officers.
Some of them happened to be my university mates, how wonderful.

After the usual filling in forms and other materials, the question was finally dropped upon us. Which department do you want to begin your journey?

Which department? Hmm..Some of them started chattering – Oh, I must start with medical first, then I have the basics for the remaining postings. Oh I want Surgical first, because I love Greys Anatomy….and things like that.

Me? Absolutely no idea. I was never someone who planned anything. Eventually, it came down to lucky draws. My gosh, at that moment, all I was hoping for was not to be separated with my girl (wife now, eventually we completed all the postings together 🙂 ).

Alas, we drew the lots, tabled the results. Orthopaedics it was! And the same for my girl and uni mates. Here we go!

So we left the office and were instructed to head to our respective departments – The Pejabat Pakar.
Finding our way to the office, I saw photos of previous housemen, pictures of our future Bosses, it was intense.
After meeting the PA and filling more forms, we headed to the wards to meet the House Officer Captain. (The usual steps when moving to a new dept)

At the ward, we met the house captains. Dr Annuar and Rina. He welcomed us and gave an interesting briefing – the proper attire, what time we start, and that we are all colleagues, no need to call each other by Dr___ , simple things like that.  Next came another revelation. He had to divide us into 2 groups. He needed 4 brave people to join him at the female ward, while the rest, to the male ward. The thing was, there was a certain Doctor let’s call her DR L. She was the scariest Medical Officer in the department. Oh sh*t. I heard these stories before…bosses giving the hair dryer treatment and all. But somehow, I ended up volunteering along with my 3 uni mates.

So off we trotted to ward 5C. Looking left and right, we saw them, the patients..some with weird equipment stuck to their foot, some with no limbs!  Some with rotten hands, and what was that smell??

And then there she was, Dr L, putting on a stern, black face and starring at each one of us. I could feel the aura. OMG, she looked like she wanted to eat us up.
After a nervy Hello~ from us, she put on a forced smile, and then looked away without a word. Oh sh*t what did I get myself into.

The rest of the day was about following rounds, and learning to use the computer system,  attempting our first procedures. It wasnt easy!  We started tagging – working from 7am till 10pm everyday, for 2 weeks. Deprieved of sleep and proper meals, we strived and struggled, trying to read thick text books. There were no guidelines for us new “taggers”.

At last, we passed our first assessment and started the full time HO job. Fortunately, we had very friendly and helpful senior HOs – Annuar, Rita, Vijay, Sheng, Munira, Hidir, Adilia, Syed…just to name a few.


Months went on, there were interesting encounters, Grand ward rounds, interesting cases, assessments, VIVA…I started writing notes for HOs …and then came the end of the posting.

We had a farewell party, and plenty of fun. When the last portion of chicken briyani was eaten and the last sirap drunk, then came a funny question for all of us.

Who was your favourite MO?

Looking back on the first day, and then today, there was no doubt, my answer was Dr L!
Ofcourse we were terrified at the sight of her at first, eventually she softened and became my favourite MO, and friend.


That’s it. My first day and first posting

It has always been my favourite moments in my HO life.  The pace at orthopedics was perfect for newcomers like us to practise basic procedures.
The medical officers and specialist were always approachable and helpful.

But it wasn’t easy at first. That’s when I decided to compile notes for the newcomers.

I was never the brilliant HO, but as I completed my postings, I always left them with a piece of my heart – the HO guide.


How was your first day? Your first encounter with the fierce MO?