Monday, August 12, 2013


One of my deepest guilty pleasure is to watch Grey's Anatomy. It is usually my Saturday night tv. I am saddest between the months May and September because the season ends, the actors go on hiatus and we wait with bated breath to find out if the series is renewed for another year.

So, it didn't surprise Packrat when I told him that I signed up the twins (Muffin is still too tiny) to be  Doctors For a Day at the new Mount Elizabeth at Novena. We didn't know what they were really in for except for the fact that they would be dressed in scrubs. That, was enough to sell the programme to me. Jordan and Evan in scrubs. Heh.

That said, Packrat claimed that they didn't actually look like little doctors but little food production line workers. True too.

They went through different rooms, with different apparatus; a general clinic (with thermometers and real stethoscopes), an emergency room (with defibrillators and bandages and oxygen masks) , the nursery (with baby dolls that needed to be changed, fed and put back to sleep, complete with the bassinets) and the operating theatre (where they got to perform lung surgery on a lung cancer patient). A lot of thought was put into it and the children got to touch and play with everything. There wasn't a 'see but don't touch' rule at all.

So what did Evan like? According to him,
1. 'Shocking' the patient- One child pretends to be the patient who coded and the rest take turns to shock his heart. And every time he is shocked, the adult 'doctor' goes "JUMP!" and the coded patient obediently follows, causing all the other little ones to giggle and clamour to make him 'jump'.

2. He liked that the cancer patient's name was "Mr Smoke-A-Lot" and that he could remove bits of cancer from his lungs. Once the cancer was removed however, Evan must have felt that this patient's cancer was Stage 5 or something because he put back all the little 'tumours' back on the lung. Poor Mr Smoke-A-Lot, he really didn't have a chance.

3. He liked sitting on the wheelchair though I did tell him that doctors didn't sit on the wheelchair though the patient's did.

What did Jordan like?
1. The nursery ward: She fed and rocked the baby, changed 'her' (she insisted it was a her) diaper and laid her back in the bassinet. When I told Jordan that both she and Evan could fit in one bassinet when they were born, she asked if they were as small as the baby doll. Yes darling, you were and look how big you've become!

2. She liked the stethoscope though she claimed she had no heart because for the life of her, she couldn't find her heart beat.

3. She was let in on a secret that no other 'little doctor' knew. She had gone up to ask one of the adult 'doctors' why Mr Smoke-A-Lot's face was covered so unglamourously (my words, not hers) and she was told that Mr Smoke-A-Lot didn't have any skin on his face and it would be too scary for the other 'little  doctors' to see.

What Packrat and I liked and observed:
1. We didn't need to be involved at all. And we could see how the children could speak up and ask questions without us being there. I even saw Evan ask for help because he didn't know how to put on the mask properly.

2. The adults in scrubs explained things at their level and never turn down an answer even if it didn't make sense. Evan had replied that smoking caused HFMD and his answer wasn't dismissed as wrong though he was told what were the real consequences of smoking too much.

3. It was well-paced and the children were engaged right till the end though that meant ridiculously drained children by the end of it.

4. The 'doctors' and 'scrub nurses' were actually medical students who volunteered for this. That scored points with me because this wasn't something anyone needed to do. The parents kidded that if they were real doctors, they would have been down to do this because they hadn't seen their quota number of patients that week. 

5. There really was a gender thing going on. All the girls gravitated towards the nursery and baby dolls and some of the boys (Evan et al) were more interested in the powder puffs (it did cross my mind why there were powder puffs in the nursery since powder has been found non-kosher to be used on children these days)

What we didn't quite like but it was not a big issue:
1. The assistants who did all the administrative stuff like print the certificates (they got certificates!) and present them to the children spoke a) terrible Singlish and b) could not pronounce the simplest of names much to the offence of many parents. 

But on the whole, as an initiative to raise awareness of the hospital, it worked really well. Whether or not it is going to make any of the children want to be doctors, I'm not sure. Evan very adamantly insisted that he still wanted to be a scientist; his reason being that the mask and scrubs were uncomfortable. Packrat informed him that scientist wore masks and scrubs sometimes as well, to which he heaved a sigh of resignation. Jordan on the other hand asked if doctors could still draw. I told her they could when they had time and she told me she would get back to me if she wanted to be a doctor.

Whatever it was, it was a one-of-a-kind experience for them and we were glad that they went.


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