Monday, May 09, 2005

Chest tube / Rape

Well, it was all happening tonight.

Two thirty in the morning on mothers day.

I should point out, by the way, that if I can turn these into something interesting I am going to see if I can hammer them into a book. Then I will be able to retire on the fabulous wealth.

So: random thoughts from today.

I put a chest drain in today. This is a big polypropylene tube which, for reasons I am sure are only dimly understood by the victim, doctors stab into the chest of patients. Basically, if you have fluid (exudate, blood, whatever) in between your lung and the membrace of the lung, we paint you yellow with iodine and inject local anaesthetic into you. Before we do that we have lied to you about how successful the anaesthetics and analgesics will be - if you ever have one done, it's gonad-explodingly painful.

Basically, it goes yellow stuff - local anaesthetic - five centimetre cut parallel to and between your ribs (sortof under your armpit), then I alternately stick my fingers and some tong kind of things in and smurch my way into your chest, like something from Alien. I am a naturally gentle soul, but today I learnt that the best thing to do is really go for it and virtually lean on the forceps so as to drive tehm into the chest. I poured in the lognocaine (the local anaesthetic that you get when you have stitches) but it didn't seem to do much good, and we were pumping in the fentanyl (sortof like morphine) as well.

Once you've burrowed your way into the chest (the layers go yellow-stained skin, subcutaneous fat that looks a little like bubble-wrap, smooth glossy red flat muscle, and then "inside"), you have to get between the ribs (which is a bloody narrow space - feel it), making sure to go over a rib rather than under one (all the important nerves, vessels and arteries run below each rib, but it's not fra from just above one rib to just below the next one).

And then you lean on the forceps with what seems like a fair amount of weight, as the woman shrieks, and drive them through into the empty space where her lung should be.

You break through into the emptiness and there's this hissing, sucking, gurgling sound, and red stained fluid starts gushing out and the hole gurgles and spits and sucks with each of the woman's breaths. Then you get the polypropylene tube and stick it in the hole you've made and sew it up tight. Then she lies there, all zonked out from the pain relief, with this plastic hose sticking out all covered in tape, and slowly the stuff inside her lung starts to drain out and she goes upstairs to get better.

What else. We had a man in his thirties come in today. He had been riding a dirt-bike and had come off. Only doing about twenty kilometres an hour, he reckoned. But the handlebar had driven into his spleen and he was bleeding pretty badly internally, and he just lay there getting paler and paler and paler. Almost the first thing he said when he came in (and almost the last) was that he was a Jehovah's Witness and he didn't want blood, even at the cost of his life.

Anyway, he just got worse and worse and eventually arrived at the Royal with a belly full of blood and a blood pressure of sixty and needed urgent surgery. By this time the fluids (non-blood) we had given him were fairly clearly not working.

I mentioned this to my boss and she said that they might give have to give him blood. I pointed out we had both documented that he would rather die than have a blood transfusion. She said it was very hush hush but sometimes they do it anyway, secretly in surgery. It depends on which surgeon you get.

There you go. Daddy does know best, after all.

Let me point out here that my rage at this is in no way due to any soft spot in my heart for the fanatics who teach this kind of crap. People who teach that blood transfusions will damn you to Hell, even if they are large and organised groups of people who wear suits and so forth, are dangerous people. Exclusive religion is dangerous.

It's also a sign of a poisonous degree of egotism - anyone who believes that God will chose, from amongst the entire human race, to surround himself for all eternity only with Jehovah's Witnesses has a very disturbing different view of the Lord.

Brief rant here:
All fanaticism, and you can lump the young socialists and the young conservatives and the Amway Youth and most patriots in with this, seems to me to have the same brain-deadening, us lot uber alles effect. Any Christian splinter group that originated in the US after about 1800 AD seems particularly prone to this pathology: shit theology plus blind obedience equals ruined lives. I have lived like this, in my previous waving the Bible and shrieking in tongues phase. It's a venomous mix of self-deception, mealy mouthed desperation and lower spinal cord reflexes behind an increasingly brittle smile.

And it's the only way that faiths like that one operate, their principle mode of preying on the lonely, the earnest and the overfed. Epistemological Amway, McGod and Jesus Lite.

(Bile gland off/And here I was a few posts ago worrying about expressing my anger/bile gland on)

I don't know a lot about how God made us, but He made our brains too good for fundamentalism. I have atheist friends who would nod sagely at the last few paragraphs, but from what I can tell they beleive in the potential for unlimited goodness, wisdom and mercy from human beings instead. I don't know how you can do that. To see the poor bastards trudging from house to house, each of them believing that the Creator of all things visible and invisible has chosen them as a vessel is to see a walking refutation of every humanist vision of paradise.

In the end I think I believe in God because the alternative is believing some kind of salvation is available from my fellow human beings.

My God. Evident issues here.

And don't feel especially despised if you're reading this and you're a Jehovah's Witness. You can cut and paste and apply the same tirade to most denominations. Tragically, there is nothing special or unique about any form of fanaticism. All of them are alike in believing themselves unique. I can say that because I've been there. You can say that fundamentalism works for you, but you can't say it's never a cage, because I was there and it was one, and that's what you're building each time you go door to door or hand out Bibles on the street. A cage to put your children in.

But anyway. It may be a stupid, ungainly, ugly religion that sucks IQ points as surely as one of those bowling ball sucking vacuum cleaners sucks bowling balls, but it's their choice. If you want that, no-one has the right to take it from you. We don't sneak ham into the Islamic Student's dinner. I don't know if there's such a term as theological rape, but pumping blood into someone who didn't want it is close.

Well, that's that. Me cast into Hellfire if it turns out God is the small-minded bigot these people preach - not that I'll mind. I'll be down there with the Jews and socialists and the lesbians and the winebibbers.

I am too tired to even mention the murder waiting to happen that we sent home.
Maybe next entry.

But God that was cathartic.



Anonymous Camilla said...

That was good.

I hope you do put these together in book form one day (or something like this).

9:15 PM  
Blogger Benedict 16th said...

Q. What's the difference between God and a Surgeon?
A. God doesn't think she is a Surgeon!

Also heard in the Cardiothoracic ward (Open heart surgeons)
Q. What's the difference between God and a Cardiothoracic Surgeon?
A. God wishes he was a Cardiothoracic Surgeon!

So ya gonna publish the comments as well?

Also some food for thought:

Provine's Rules of Evolution
From "The Faith of an Atheist" by George Liles, MD, March, 1994, pages 59-64.
1. There are no gods or purposive forces in nature.
2. There are no inherent moral or ethical laws to guide human society.
3. Human beings are complex machines that become ethical beings by way of heredity and environmental influences, with environment playing a larger and hereditary a somewhat smaller role than is commonly supposed.
4. There is no free will in the traditional sense of being able to make uncoerced and unpredictable choices.
5. When we die, we die--finally and completely forever. (The idea we can somehow survive death is a myth.)
6. This is what we are and all there is.

Benedict's addendum:
7. These rules are all subject to revision as more information becomes available.

9:27 PM  
Blogger Foilwoman said...

Excellent theory on U.S. religions formed after 1800. Actually the pre-1800 ones (except the Quakers, although since they originated in Britain I guess they don't count) are pretty sucky to, what with the Calvinism, the witch-hunting, the Puritanism, and the joylessness. But yeah, Congregationalists lead to Unitarians, which compared to Mormoms, Christian Scientists, Seventh Day Adventists, and Jehovah's Witnesses are pretty mild. I mean, no doctrinal god and you can get medical treatment, have a beer, and have caffeine.

4:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The following website summarizes over 200 similar court cases involving Jehovah's Witness Parents who refused life-saving blood transfusions for their children:


6:21 AM  

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