in threes

people say that bad things come in threes. well, at least by obgyn lecturer said so. apparently there’s a bit of superstition in the obgyn circle that when a patient comes in with a complication like, say, postpartum haemorrhage, you can be pretty sure there’ll be two more by the end of your call. i’ve seen this happen before – during my rotation, there were 3 still births within a week.

but this “rule of three” doesn’t just apply to the obgyn setting – there was one night during my elective in an emergency department when all the beds in the red zone were occupied by patients with status epilepticus. the rule even pops up in non-medical situations, like the game germany played against slovenia. lukas podolski had already missed two brilliant chances in front of the goal when germany were gifted a penalty, a chance to equalize. as he stepped up to take the kick, i leaned over to my friend and said, “do you believe that bad things come in threes? he’s gonna miss this.” my friend gave me a good glare before looking back at the screen…just in time to see podolski botch the penalty.

despite that comment, i don’t have any superstitions. it was a joke, and i believe poor ol’ lukas just caved under the pressure of the game. it was a coincidence that 3 women lost their babies that week. there probably wasn’t an alignment of stars the night 3 people decided to have seizures.

still, right now i find myself hoping hard that the rule isn’t true. you see, after the debacle that was my cracked windshield, one of my tires burst last friday. i hit a curb as i was coming out of a petrol staton and the impact was hard enough to rip a hole right through my left back tire. it ripped a hole through my wallet too; the tire cost rm210 to replace.

so that’s strike two…unless the laptop crash is counted, in which case i guess i’m out.

i still don’t think there’s a set rule for misfortunes. they probably come in threes because we expect them to, and therefore look for a pattern in the manner they occur. the bad things that have happened to me and my batchmates were all a result of the stress we’re under. i heard someone knocked a cup of coffee onto his laptop. another friend just survived a car accident over the weekend.  i know for sure that i hit the curb because i was in a hurry to get to the hospital in time for a class and was more careless than usual.

whatever the case, it’s (hopefully) my last week of medical school and the last thing i need is another catastrophe. it’s enough…i just hope it’s enough.


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