The final stitch placed
Surgical clamps released
A kidney turns pink.
* * *
He was right. Nothing compares.
Every few months, the mental health of doctors/medical students makes it to popular media. It seems like these spikes in attention occur, and everyone shouts YOU SHOULD CARE FOR YOUR DOCTORS! and then we write blogs and we tweet and we make youtube videos and eventually we go back to work, and nothing has changed.
I think we are the missing link. And by “we”, I mean qualified doctors. And also, you, the older doctors. Continue reading “Mental Health Begins With Medical Students”
I don’t really know how to start this post, because it’s been so long since I wrote anything more than a point-by-point replay of my day and my patients, or maybe a little book review. Partially it’s because my apartment was robbed in February, and my laptop with it, and I’ve yet to replace it.
Partially it’s because I haven’t known what to write. Blogging and writing have been some of my greatest coping mechanisms, but when things get really bad, I tend to draw a blank and avoid writing at all.
So I guess that’s how I’ll start: things have been really bad. Continue reading “The Best Gift I Ever Gave Myself”
I don’t know how much time the average person spends thinking about prisons. It usually crosses my mind when I have a patient who is brought from prison – which happens a lot less now that I’m working only with kids. Every once in a while there will be a report of a jail break, and in high school we had a few debate topics around prisons (This House Supports The Right To Vote For Prisoners, etc). Every year at the anniversary of my aunt’s murder I think about prison, and wonder whether her murderer is still incarcerated.
Besides that, prison doesn’t cross my mind too often, and I’d wager it’s the same for those who don’t work with inmates, or don’t have a close relative currently imprisoned.
Baz Dreisinger’s Incarceration Nations dares to coax us from this comfort in a multi-national exposé of prisons around the world, and the justice/punitive systems within which they function. Continue reading “[Book Review] Incarceration Nations”
Did you know that housecats are classified as one of the world’s 100 Worst Invasive Species?
Or that one of the earliest cat shows was won by a ring-tailed lemur?
Or perhaps that house cats have made virtually no evolutionary changes to adapt to a human environment? Continue reading “[Book Review] The Lion in the Living Room”
If you’ve wondered where I’ve gone, or why my last post was such a random shout from the dark… it’s because adjusting to a new life in Cape Town has been hard. Even though it is sort of the land of milk and honey (see previous post).
I started the year with a lot of plans (don’t we all) of having a gorgeously decorated apartment that was always neat and tidy, continuing to read a lot, writing more often, working on furthering my career, and having a lot of friends.
By some kind of dumb luck, I am doing my Community Service posting at an incredible children’s hospital in Cape Town, rather than the archetypal middle-of-nowhere clinic post we all expect for ComServe.
And it’s incredible.
This hospital is just something else. It’s public, but has so much private funding that it might as well be a private hospital. It gets a lot of private patients so clearly I’m not alone in my perception.
Some things that continue to blow my mind:
1. Pain management team
Absolutely essential, of course, but not something we had access to in the Eastern Cape. As part of pain management, our kiddies have access to aromatherapy and music therapy. How cool is that?!
2. Psycho-social services
When adults bring kids to hospital and they have witnessed violent events, the adults get debriefing practically before the kid even leaves the emergency unit. When a kid gets hit by a stray bullet, he gets trauma debriefing. There are support groups for kids with any number of conditions. All of these things should be a given, should’t they? But again, it’s something I’ve never seen.
3. Palliative Care Team
Last year, I often had to decide on my own whether a patient was for active resuscitation or not. It was a horrible responsibility, but not that I’ve learned just how much is involved within the practice of palliative care, I realise how WRONG it is for a clinician to have to make such decisions without an entire palliative care team.
My entire view of palliation has changed.
4. Gorgeous Operating Theaters
There are theaters with views of Table Mountain, and I just… wow. (The on-call room also has a view of the mountain.)
5. Clinicians who love their jobs
I can’t begin to tell you how amazing it is to be surrounded by senior doctors who are still passionate about their work. It gives me hope.
* * *
One thing that is not available in the land of milk and honey is small-size theater scrubs. I still have to use a whole host of improvisations to prevent my pants from falling down when I scrub in for theater.