Just completed my 5th day as a houseman in Melaka GH. Man, does it blow... Started the first day doing nothing but report for duty and receive my first posting. Guess what I got - O&G... Yay! But come second day, we were all plunged into the sordid world of "professional" medicine. Within 5 minutes of reporting to the labour room, we had already pissed off the specialist in charge. Why? Well, he was furious because we failed to identify him as an "el supremo" specialist and introduce ourselves to him! Man, was that some ego trip. Lesson no. 1 : If you want to survive, bow and grovel before all superiors. We start with 2 weeks of tagging with senior house officers (HO) and medical officers (MO). Many of them are friendly and helpful but some are just full of themselves. One particular MO began the assault by telling us how lazy we are and how we know nothing at all. Then she tells us we cannot act like medical students and just sit back and watch. We must take initiative and learn to be "real doctors" like her. Fine... We will ask questions then. When I wanted to ask her a question and started by calling her, she told me "Shut up! Can't you see I'm doing something?" Then while I was waiting for the nurses to prep a patient for a minor patch of her episiotomy, I popped in to observe her doing the same thing in another room. Why waste an opportunity to observe and learn, right? The second I bent over to observe, she told me off, "You think you are still a medical student? Just watch and you know everything?" When I told her I was only dropping by to observe for a moment before going to do the same thing, she told me off again, "How are you going to learn if you don't want to take initiative?! Put on your gloves and do this one now!" I give up.. This is one psychotic MO. But guess what... if we fight back, they will only take pleasure in making life even worse for us. And it's only Day 2. Lesson no. 2 : Expect to get verbally assaulted by people for no more reason than you are lower down on the totem pole than they are. On Day 3, I was already ordered to go on an overnight tagging duty. That meant working from 7:30 am on Day 3 and finishing up 5pm on Day 4. Luckily, Day 4 was a public holiday, so they allowed me to leave a little earlier... at 12pm. So, I spent Day 3 luckily without that psychotic MO in sight. But I found out more bad news. 1. As house officers, we have to work 7 days a week. 2. There is no such thing as weekends or public holidays. Everyday is a working day. 3. While we are tagging, we do not get on-call pay. This is a situation unique to Melaka GH. In other hospitals, HOs get paid even if they come back for night duties (not overnight duty). 4. We only get 28 days of leave in the ENTIRE year, split into 9-9-10 days for each 4 month posting. And we must apply one week in advance (although a colleague informed me that in practice, we really need to apply one month in advance). 5. There's no such thing as MC. If we are sick, we have to apply for leave. If we take more than what we are allocated in a posting, they automatically extend our posting. 6. We usually have overnight duty every other day. But because this time there are relatively many house officers, we are "fortunate" to only get overnight duty every third day. Of course, we have to come back for night duty on another night, leaving only one night free. Sigh... What a life.. Wait.. This is NOT life. When it came to my first overnight tagging duty, I had to ask permission to leave the labour room to go take a bath before I stayed overnight. Unfortunately, the MO in charge for that night was that psycho MO. That subjected me to more verbal abuse. And that night, while she was officially the MO in charge, she did some of her duties and left the other house officer (with only 2 months of training) to handle the labour room while she "attended to other matters". Of course, she was supposed to be present until next morning... but I didn't see her until next morning. So, the ENTIRE labour room was left to this house officer and a rookie (me). I must say I admire the house officer because she had to do everything even with so little experience. We worked until about 4am and then we had some time to rest. I woke up around 6:30am and rushed home to take a bath because I had to be back in the same labour room by 7:30am. Luckily, I could look forward to leaving by 12:30pm. If you think that's okay because I have the rest of the day off, let me remind you - it was a public holiday! No one else in the country is working! I myself thought I would have time to watch some television.. but within minutes I was asleep until 6:30pm. Went out for dinner and work a little on ARP; and it's 1am. Man, I have to drag myself up to work the next day (Day 5) even though it was a SUNDAY!! And I have to work a full day. Thankfully, today was a light day. A nurse told me most pregnant women would be out with their family for the long weekend. And true enough, we didn't see much "traffic". Tomorrow, I am scheduled to start in the Maternal OT. Hopefully, I don't meet anymore egomaniacs.