Chapter 1: Coronary Arteries
Being a teaching assistant comes with many responsibilities.
The professor's droning voice was enough to lull him into a state of delirium, but a flash of light at the corner of his eyes prevented him from doing so. Panicking because he knew his phone has the tendency to produce a loud sound when it vibrates, he snatched it as quickly as his arm allowed him to, sighing in relief when he found out that the vibration was turned off.
With all due respect,
I'm sorry to inform you that we had to reschedule our study session, as some underclassmen had just asked me to help them with reviews. I hope you won't mind. Another time, another place? Preferably with good coffee. My treat.
P.S. please spare me, Lord Soo.
Sneaking a glance at the professor who was still talking passionately about the many types of hepatitis, he chanced a reply. Alright, then.
Yeah, yeah. Have fun with those cells.
I hope those freshmen spare you some mercy, then, as they can be kinda handful. First-hand experience speaking here.
Had to explain the coronary arteries for, like, at least ninety-something times.
Well to tell the truth they're ~actually~ hard to understand?????
You just need to remember each branch's branches and its course? It's easy once you could imagine the whole heart.
Aneurysm sent a photo
BUT IT'S HARD.
The blessing of strong long-term memory isn't given to everyone, jsyk.
Says the one who passed the test for lab assistant and only needed a day to learn and memorize the whole book.
That /was/ short-term, too! I couldn't remember a thing post the selection test.
Junmyeon nudged him with his shoulder without taking his eyes off the slides. Kyungsoo looked up, flabbergasted, half-expecting the professor glaring at him. Well, not really, actually--he's still talking, but sometimes his gaze lingered too long at Kyungsoo's general direction like he knew one of his students isn't listening at all and is in need of an earful of words later. Well, shoot.
Shit, the professor's looking at my direction.
Talk to you later. Preferably at lunch. Don't miss me. Bye. Focus on your classes.
KARMA'S A BITCH WHO BITES YOU RIGHT BCKA
Though I don’t have class rn.
Um Soo? Baekhyun said hi and also he needs the money you owe him asap
I said LATER.
1. Kyungsoo is a teaching assistant of anatomy (and embryology) department. She's one from the histology department, obv.
2. I would very much like to be taught by Kyungsoo-senpai.
3. I too can't memorize the coronary vessels' branches to save my life during exams.
4. Stellate is a type of cell... found in... many parts of the body... with different functions... I'll stop now.
5. And aneurysm is the condition where your artery enlarges excessively because the supporting wall got weakened. Yes, it's deadly and is an emergency case.
Chapter 2: Signet Rings
Hey. R u still in ur class.
Yes, the prof just wrapped up. Students are still flocking out of the class.
Where are you? I'm on my way out.
Some random discussion room. Forgot the number. It's on the first level, if that helps. Still doing some reports.
Screw anatomical pathology.
SEHUN JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE AN ANATOMICAL PATHOLOGY TA AND DON'T NEED TO DO THE REPORTS DOESN'T MEAN YOU CAN RUB IT ON MY FACE EVERY FUCKING TIME
Be there in a bit.
Or maybe not. Want me to grab something?
It sure seems merry over there, right.
A bottle of coffee and sandwich pls. The spicy one
Thank the Lord and the Heavens above.
Thank me instead, you ungrateful kid.
That sure was easy--Kyungsoo didn't need to ask which coffee she'd like to have since she hates that funky mixture of coffee and green tea. The cafeteria's instant coffee machine offers two flavours and nothing else. Piece of a cake.
But of course there were bound to be more obstacles because his smartphone vibrated again before he could put it in his pocket.
12:08 Oh Sehun
You guys are so gross. So freakin' gross
12:08 Do Kyungsoo
Watch your mouth, Sehun.
12:08 Oh Sehun
I DIDNT DO ANYTHING U MORON
12:08 Oh Sehun
Anyway can you get me some water? And an onigiri pls?
12:08 Oh Sehun
Please with a cherry on top?
12:08 Do Kyungsoo
12:09 Oh Sehun
12:10 Oh Sehun
IM TELLING IM SO GOING TO TELL HER
12:11 Do Kyungsoo
Sure, go ahead.
But he took an extra bottle (a grand total of three in his very occupied hand), because,
Can't you just get him a bottle of water......
He's whining nonstop
I can't do my reports
oH fuCKING SEHUN IS SUCH A BRAT HOW DID YOU SURVIVE BEING IN THE SAME GROUP WITH HIM FOR A YEAR
You'll survive, too. Somehow.
I got the water anyway. Figured I'd have to do it, even if I don't want to.
I better get something for this.
I love you to the moon and back
Is that enough because
This is embarrassing
Smiling softly to himself, he pocketed his phone without any hassle this time.
"Lover boy, why are you smiling to yourself like that?" Junmyeon snickered.
Stomping his way to the main building, he ignored Junmyeon's cry of "Hey where are you going? Can I join you? No? Are you going on a date? Like that nerdy studying-together-in-the-library date? Do Kyungsoo, answer me!"
Are you free @ 2 tomorrow?
I need someone to explain the mechanism of inguinal hernia to me.
Kyungsoo. Dead to the world already?
Oh well then.
Hey. Sorry. I just woke up.
And sorry (again), I have clinical pathology at one, so no.
But I'm free after three. How's that?
Whoa. I thought you were dead
No teaching duty? Then 3 is fine!
Why are you still awake?
I'll bring coffee!
Haha I'm just working on my group's banner's design
It's 90% done!
This late? Are you doing it all by yourself?
Well, I need to wait for the materials before I can start on the design… so there.
Sehun was being extremely helpful though
At least I can talk shit about ~the other people~ with him
And he was the earliest to submit his part!
Suddenly, the 'please don't kill me' chat Sehun had sent to him made sense. He made sure to send an 'It's okay, she needed it anyway, thanks.' to him, perfectly knowing that that brat is already fast asleep by this time and will probably only read the text tomorrow. Well, it's the thought that counts, right?
Wow. That's… good to hear.
Coming from Sehun.
Go to sleep as soon as the banner is finished, yeah?
But still, I thought we have talked about your tendency of getting /too/ involved. It's going to be your downfall someday. Don't let them take advantage of it and burn the hell out of you.
Thanks for getting mad in my stead. I'm already fuming though
Well, you should.
Anyway, you too!
Please get some rest. Don't overwork yourself
But I just woke up...
Go to sleep when you're tired then.
But knowing you, I don't think you'd get tired.
Still on Cosmos. Last few pages?
I will sleep when my brain tells me to.
How I miss reading Sagan instead of geriatric-specific care textbooks
Tell your brain I said hi!
She said hi right back.
It's a she????? Wow how did you know?
And ask you to call it a night.
I… just know.
Hello Kyungsoo's brain, I'll stop when I'm done with these shits.
Ehhhh I haven't meet her properly!
Will we get along well?
You will. Don't ask me how I know, I just know.
Listen to that playlist I gave you some days ago if you can't sleep.
For God's sake, just close your eyes.
Hey. Asleep already?
Well then. You deserve it. ❤
08:16 Oh Sehun
so tell me when did u get so cheesy
08:16 Oh Sehun
❤ u 2 baby
08:33 Do Kyungsoo
08:33 Do Kyungsoo
08:33 Do Kyungsoo
What the fuck.
08:34 Oh Shithun
08:34 Do Kyungsoo
08:34 Oh Shithun
I'm still very much alive, just getting lazier as the time goes by. Currently in my clerkship and it is so tiring.
The gravelly pathway and students flocking out of the library in hurried steps, exhausted after pulling an all-nighter for the end-of-block exam and couldn't wait to meet their beloved beds at home, is never a good combination. Her nose scrunched up a bit as another group of her friends passed by, bringing with them small flurries of dust which almost choked her breath. Whispers and shouts were heard, some people complaining about the unpredictable questions, but she felt like she had done the exam justice--the best she could, though still a mediocre score compared to what the smartest people in her class get. Ah. Well. There's no use crying over spilled milk, and she had long come in term with the fact that you don't have to be the best to make your efforts feel rewarding.
What mattered now that the burden of unread materials have been left behind was whether they would actually go to the cinema or leave the plan for another day.
Hey where are you?
Hopping to her left side to take shelter under a staircase from the scorching sun, she rolled her shoulder and heard a satisfying pop. Wincing, she felt an incoming headache pounding from somewhere inside her head--something that was bound to happen with the lack of sleep last night. If it was another occasion, she'd like to just go home and sleep for the rest of the day, but they're going to watch Suicide Squad and he had been excited since the release date was… released. And if that's the case, she wasn't going to miss it for the world.
Are you joining us or nah
Baekhyun & Chanyeol r pestering me rn
Actually its just Baekhyun since Chanyeol is getting his car frm the parking area but theyre the same entity right
A jet-black SUV pulled up in front of her. Baekhyun, who was running his mouth off with profanities about biostatistics, squealed in joy and practically ran towards the car as the driver's seat window rolls down, revealing a grinning Chanyeol inside. It's straight out of teenage rom-coms and she couldn’t help but scoff, pocketing her cellphone for the time being before getting into the car.
"Buckle up, Baek. Hey, he coming?" Chanyeol asked after she had slammed the door shut. She shrugged, "Dunno. He's not answering my texts."
We're in Yeol's car already so if you're going to join us let's just meet up at the cinema ok
Pls reply asap so we can get the tix for you too!
Im at gomr
Ill pasd for todat
Im sotry im just tpo sleepy to go
Well, that's too bad, she mused, before telling Baekhyun to only buy three tickets for the earliest screening they could catch. Thank God for online ticketing.
Ok then noprob
Please just get some rest!!
Did I wake you up?
Ffs you made so many typos you must be either half asleep or on the verge of sleepiness
I've told you to not overwork yourself right
You didn't sleep??? At all???? Last night?????
Chanyeol said so
Ive told thwm both that im not going if thwy keep bothering you just tekl me and ill do spmething
Yes i didnt sleep last nught sorry
You didnt wakr me its okay
Have fun b safe i love you
Do i need to pick you up latee or
Chanyeol said I can tag along after the movies and Baek wants to go look for something...
So nah. Anyway i can always get taxi too or something like that.
Just get the sleep you'd missed
You deserve it
(In the end he showed up for the sake of watching Suicide Squad because he can't miss the movie for his life.)
(It's her second round so she's bound to spill some spoilers.)
(And he bought a large cup of chocolate smoothies as a bribe to stop her from spoiling the whole movie.)
(So whipped, Baekhyun said. Kyungsoo effectively shut him up with a well-aimed kick on his shin.)
This was written when Suicide Squad was the equivalent of Thor: Ragnarok of this day (regarding the hype)
His eyes fluttered shut for a moment before he shook his head in alarm, trying his hardest to stay awake. He couldn't afford it, after all--the case report due next morn was still unfinished, the residents' writings in the medical record pages are still as illegible as they would ever be, and he could sense a headache coming. It's just--even if he'd tried not to let things stress him out, the threat of tension-type headache had decided to stay around. Couldn't let that happen, he's running out of painkillers.
It's nearing midnight, that much he realize, but the ER was still bustling in a cacophony of painful wails and monitor beeps and gurneys being wheeled away and grunts and chatters and he's exhausted. It was a long day, his performance on his mini-clinical examination a little bit underwhelming (for his standard, everyone knew he holds it high), so at the end of the day he just wanted to be home and sleep in his comfy bed to shoo the fatigue away from his tired body.
Something that wouldn't happen for at least eighteen more hours.
Sighing, knowing full well that he wouldn't get anything done in this state, he closed the lid of his laptop, letting it went to sleep mode. Sleep. The very thing he wanted. Good thing the pediatric department had zero patient at the moment, so he could have a poor excuse of rest in this too-cold room, in the form of slumping the upper half of his body atop the empty examination bed. His eyes refused to focus and the world around him started to spin, just a little, but he knew it's a sign--he'll see spots, soon, if he couldn't get his blood sugar level past sixty. And there's nothing he can do other than cursing himself for his dumb decision on skipping lunch earlier and mourning the pathetic growls from his stomach.
Maybe he could sneak to the pharmacy and ask for a small flask of dextrose. Chanyeol said they actually taste sweet. Or...
Abruptly, he sat up straight. A mistake because he had to hold onto the bed's railing to steady himself as hypotension kicked in together with the ongoing hypoglycemia. He blinked--once, twice--until the on duty resident's face came to focus through his grimy glasses. The nametag on his chest pocket gleamed a little. dr. Kang. He almost forgot his senior-on-duty's name.
"Er... yes?" he hesitated. The resident glanced at his phone, then his wristwatch, then at Kyungsoo's face. He stopped there. The student-doctor flinched. He never liked being scrutinized like that. He's supposed to be the one doing that scrutinizing thing, after all.
Deciding that Kyungsoo's not that worse for wear, the resident brought the papers he had been holding onto to his junior's line of sight. "A patient's coming--a 3-months-old baby--referred with biliary atresia. Please help us prepare the incubator, and can you fetch the medications I've ordered from the pharmacy, while you're at it, too?"
"Alright," he already got half of his mind to activate and work on autopilot, reaching out to put the warmer's power cord in an electric socket. "Is it an emergency?" he dared to ask, fingers working on the incubator's button to set the right temperature for the oncoming patient. Babies are the fussiest when they're uncomfortable. These past few weeks had taught him that. In a hard way.
"The baby isn't, but apparently difficult parents are." with his still illegible hand, dr. Kang filled the papers in a hurry. "Better get it done as fast as possible--I hate know-it-alls, you know? Some assessment here and off to the ward they go! Anyway, can you get the radiology form on your way to the pharmacy?"
"Will do, Sir." the dark blotches persisted at the periphery of his sight, but they're easy to ignore. At least for now.
With drugs collected and forms half-filled (with assessment template, they couldn't live without those templates), he went back to his station, a little bit of alertness on his mind. Looks like there won't be any hour left to catch up on some shut-eyes?
Oh. No wonder the hospital's name sounded familiar.
She bounded over to him, clearly excited though he could see faint dark circles under her eyes. Smiling despite the weariness in his posture, he tilted his head to a side, "What brought you here?"
"That baby," she answered, flipping through her pocket-sized notebook, "had severe jaundice since a week after his birth, the mother thought it was something normal at first but realized something was wrong when it refused to go away. Pale yellow poo. Poos? Anyway, we thought it's an obstruction, but turns out there were never a passage after all. At least, according to his ultrasound results. No resource for ERCP there."
"Sounds neat," a yawn nearly escaped through but he collected himself. "Er, well, actually, it isn't. So. That's all?"
"Yeah. Didn't know you were on duty. Busy?"
"Just tired," Kyungsoo rubbed his eyes, as if to make a point of his statement. "Wait. I need to take the baby's measurements first."
She hummed, scrubbing her hands before going to assist him. "You can just ask me for the numbers?"
"I have your number already?"
If they weren't in a busy ER she must have laughed out loud but right there a chuckle was all she was allowed to let out. "His measurements, doofus. Wake up!"
The baby gurgled when Kyungsoo handled him and he was worried that a wail will resound any time soon, but the little boy just stared at him with his tired, icteric eyes. Good vital sign, no signs of dehydration. The baby yawned. She cooed at the small bundle, attempting to baby-talk to him while Kyungsoo took notes of his assessment.
"Okayyyyy, look after him for a while, won't you?" Kyungsoo asked. He needed to report his findings to his superior and by the looks of it, dr. Kang seemed like he needed a bail-out from the baby's parents' queries. She shooed him with her hand gesture, still making faces at the sleepy baby.
"Incoming report, dr. Kang," he tapped on the resident's shoulder. "Do I have to write it down or will a verbal report suffice?"
"Both, please. Has anyone came by and took his blood samples?"
Five minutes later and Kyungsoo's back at the baby's side with a wing needle, syringes, and test tubes. "Help me?" he said. She turned to face him, "Help you do what?"
"I've never taken a baby's blood sample before. They're just so... fragile."
Her expression looked like she's saying really, now? but still she took the equipments from his hands. "What will you do without me?"
"Asking for another person's help. Uh, I think I saw Baekhyun earlier over yonder."
"You trust Baekhyun? With kids?" she looked scandalized. He winced. Everyone would respond the exact way, somehow, when it comes to a particular Byun Baekhyun and kids. Heck, that boy may as well be one. Kyungsoo had had the thought of having him restrained or knocked down with a haloperidol shot multiple times.
He watched her put the tourniquet on the baby's small arms, prickled the vein with a wing needle, taking the needed sample, and dividing them into their respective tubes. The baby barely stirred. Then, "What can I do?"
"Maybe watch and learn." she bit back with no malice in her words. "Here. Send them to the labs. Now shoo."
When he came back, she had sat down on his chair, idly scrolling through his presentation file. He didn't remember leaving his laptop open. There were no residents or parents in view so he hopped onto the vacant bed next to the incubator.
"Why don't you rest for a while?" said her without sparing him any glance. "All that's left is to wait for the ward staffs to take him, right?"
"Mm," he let out a big yawn, covering his mouth with a hand. "Someone has to watch over the patient, though."
"Can't we just, I don't know, chat?"
"This is barely an ideal place for a date, Soo," she countered, typing something on the slide. Kyungsoo couldn't care less--he trusted her enough not to mess with his case report. "And I really question your coherence right now. Sleep."
Still, he watched her through half-lidded eyes. When was the last time he saw her? Was it last week? Two weeks ago? What was her last text about? Did she get enough sleep? Has she complained about anything?
"Have you had dinner?" he randomly asked. She shook her head, "I was going to eat earlier but this whole shenanigan happened. I'll eat after we come back, though. Have you?"
"Well, it's just... I got no time, and--"
A call of her name was all it takes to get her off the chair. She rummaged through her coat's pocket, filled to the brim with things. Just her other quirk of stuffing everything into her pockets.
"You look like you need some sugar. Hang on, and catch some rest if you can."
A pat on his head, a bottle of strawberry-flavoured milk (he knew she's obsessed with this particular brand, but he didn't expect her to always have them on the go) thrust to his hand, hurried steps, and she's gone like a whirlwind. But before she completely disappeared through the ER's automatic door, he chased after her and caught the end of her coat in a firm grasp.
"Uh," he stammered. She eyed him, half curious, half impatient. He could hear the ambulance's engine humming somewhere outside, but the nurse and pediatric resident who came with her earlier were still busy with the last of their paperworks, as if they're buying him some more time. Unintentionally, though.
"On your next day off... just tell me? Call, text, whatever. I'll pick you up?" and I missed you but I'm not going to say it out loud in the middle of this stupid place.
Her eyes crinkled in amusement. "Yeah, sure." It looked like she had something to say. He waited. It never came. Slowly she peeled his fingers away, touch lingering for a short while before she disappeared for good.
He took a deep breath. Maybe he could ask dr. Kang for some timeout after this baby has been taken care of.
Things like having a friend who was assigned at a peripheral hospital came unannounced through the emergency unit door to refer a patient when you're on a night shift is real.
ERCP: endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography--though USG is usually enough to help in diagnosing biliary atresia.
Anyway, hello...? Last time I updated this thing was a year ago? Now I'm on my last leg of clinical rotation and why does time fly so fast I'm still not ready for the exit exam yet?????
Chapter 6: Serotonin
Potentially triggering: Kyungsoo being a pushover because he wants to care while being emotionally constipated at the same time.
Friendly reminder to seek for help when everything feels too overwhelming, and be on the lookout to help people who needs someone to talk to!
You're one to talk
I haven't said anything!
Sorry, I mean
Here he goes
Why are you still up when you're supposed to be sleeping, else you're going to have that cranky mood all day tomorrow and I don't think I will have the time and patience to take care of a sulky person who refused to be given chocolate sundae to calm her tempers a bit.
... typed quicker than usual
I can smell your frustration
I don't know anymore.
You know I'm trying
Do you want to talk about it?
I don't know what happened, my mind refused to cooperate, my mood has been sour for some time and I'm--I'm trying to not cry because it's dumb? I don't even have any reason to cry? I just want to curl up and sleep but these stupid lacrimal glands just don't want to stop
I'm sad and I feel like things will always go the wrong way for me
Even those videos of corgis and cats Sehun has been spamming me with couldn't help
Kyungsoo I don't know how you put up with this emotional mess
I, too, wonder sometimes.
Thanks for giving me a legit reason to cry
I'm going to call. You better pick up.
I don't want to
I'll listen, even if all you're going to do is sobbing through the line for hours. Please?
I want to be sad alone, Kyungsoo.
No, you're not going to pull that card on me.
[Aneurysm started a voice call]
[Stellate rejected the call]
Good night, Soo.
Aneurysm sent a voice note
Reach back when you feel better. I meant what I said.
You're going to win this battle.
Chapter 7: Braxton-Hicks
Don't laugh at me but
Labor scares me
Why do you think I'm going to laugh at you?
Giving birth is scary.
I KNOW RIGHT
SEEING ALL THESE NICE LADIES
Honestly I can't imagine pushing a baby out of my body through a small orifice.
AND THE FACES THEY MADE
AND THE EXERTION
Yeah, I know.
AND THEIR PIERCING WAILS
I CAN'T IMAGINE IT
Yeah, I can't either.
YOU WILL NEVER EXPERIENCE IT THOUGH
YOU DON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT IT
THE PAIN I FEEL WHEN I HAVE DYSMENORRHEA
IT'S THE WORST THING IN THE WORLD
AND THEY SAY GIVING BIRTH IS WORSE STILL
Do you know that somewhere in this world they have this parenting class where the dads-to-be can wear a special suit to simulate the woes of being pregnant and giving birth?
I DON'T WANT TO GET MY PERINEUM RUPTURED
…TMI, but relatable.
Stop abusing your caps lock and just get some rest.
I swear someday I'm going to put you on a steady dose of propofol if this keeps happening.