My Atypical A-Team
Recently, over lunch hosted by Marc & Jean at their impressive club 1880, Marc asked what a normal day was like for me. In truth, it is difficult to describe what a typical day is for anyone in the children’s emergency team, whether it’s a doctor, nurse or porter. I’ve worked in many general emergency rooms and without a doubt, the stress of working with kids (and parents) is unparalleled, as is the satisfaction of watching a baby improve from ill to well with the right treatment. I guess you could say our typical days are just plain atypical. Let’s take this past Friday for instance.
On the morning of 27th July, I was scheduled to shoot a health trailer for the hospital, on how to care for children with fever. M5 was cast as the febrile child, the loving parent was played by Nurse Ziying and I played myself. Thrilled, M5 had been up since 7.30am singing and dancing, chatting and drawing while waiting for her call time. Unfortunately, by the time they were ready for her scene at noon, she was exhausted and grumpy. Fortunately, that was perfect for her role as the unwell child so I didn’t cajole her too much until her scenes were over, then I gratefully plied her with snacks. If you’d like to know what tips I shared in the trailer, check out Fever Pitch.
I was quite pleased that filming ended on time because that meant I had an extra hour to spare before jetting off for my next meeting. All month long, friends had been sending me photos of a campaign M5 & I had shot for Poh Heng Jewellery’s 70th anniversary depicting the bonds we have with the ones with trust, but I simply hadn’t had time to check it out myself. This was my one opportunity to see our portrait on Orchard Road before the exhibition ended so I dragged M5 along, who obliged to smile for the photos although she absolutely wouldn’t let go of her precious snacks. Ah the loving bond between a child and her E numbers.
Covering All Bases
Lunch was an eclectic affair of fried chicken, fresh pineapple and coffee, with colleagues who had similarly rushed from research meetings and clinics to make it for our briefing at Seng Kang Medical Centre where we would soon be helping to provide senior children’s emergency cover. During the tour we were impressed by the sheer space of the hospital and excitedly checked out their cool gadgets including their code blue/ call assist buttons. I secretly hoped I wouldn’t have to use that button to call for help if I got lost on shift. How embarrassing but how typical Jade though.
Death And Life in the Children’s Emergency
By the time the briefing ended, I was very aware that I had only a few hours before I had to return to the hospital for night duty. I hurried home to hug my family before grabbing a disco nap but it was not a good rest. I went to bed worried and I woke up worried. The past month had been terribly busy for all of us in the department and you could see the strain on our faces. I myself had a slew of very ill babies whom we had to resuscitate, in particular, one whom we couldn’t and it made me so sad. I had nightmares, headaches and unexplained bouts of crying. It’s a little personal but I open up about this in Melancholy & The Infinite Sadness.
That Friday night, we did indeed have to manage several very unwell children. Then at 4am, my porter, Abbas, came running to alert me that someone needed help outside the Children’s Emergency. I sprinted out with my nurses and found a very gravid lady lying on the ground, where some ambulances were parked. She told us she was having contractions and minutes later, I delivered her beautiful baby girl right there by her parked lorry. We were so delighted that we accompanied the parents and the baby to the Women’s Tower, and took photographs to celebrate the joyous occasion, with both parents’ permission of course. And that, is just a typical day for our children’s emergency team in our atypical lives.