Favourite Funnies

I don’t believe in using too many mnemonics or rhymes to remember things, as remembering the mnemonic in itself can be a difficult task. To work, it must either be very funny, very relevant, or very entrenched.

Here are some of my favourites – some because they are hilarious and some simply because they work. Enjoy 🙂

Carpal bones of the wrist: The first medical mnemonic I ever learnt.

Some lovers try positions that they cannot handle / Sailors like to peep through the cabin hole

  • scaphoid
  • lunate
  • triquetrum
  • pisiform
  • trapezium
  • trapezoid
  • capitate
  • hamate

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Studying for exams: Reproductive System

Today I studied for my Reproductive System examination. Yes, I am trying very hard to take this studying-thing seriously.

The more I study this system, the more I am scared of having children one day. Nevermind that, the more I fear my Obstetrics rotation which will happen next year. That is a bad thing, since I would really like to be an OBGYN one day.

Take episiotomies, for example. An episiotomy is an incision through the perineal muscles for delivery of the foetus. To make it clearer: you cut through the muscles between the patient’s introitus and anus… I do think that hurts. I think it hurts the doctor almost just as much.

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Endocrine System: When studying for the exam

Yesterday I studied for my Endocrine System exam. I have decided that I simply cannot have a supplementary exam in January as

  1. I need actually to have a holiday in the short time provided
  2. I won’t be able to take too many textbooks home with the airlines’ baggage allowances for domestic flights

Endocrinology is supposedly the easiest module we do in second year, but I am not sure that I agree. The difficulty lies in the complexity of hormones and the fact that symptoms can be so non-specific. The volume is not so much though, which makes it easier.

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Introduction to Clinical Medicine: Presenting a patient

As part of continuous assessment for this module, we have to prepare and present a case to the Module Head.

Due to my apparent silence in hospital rounds since everybody knows that I can actually speak in public, my wonderful clinical group (I do love them :P) informed me that I would be presenting if we were selected.

We got selected, but then I kind of had an idea we would.

This is the gist of our patient. Bear in mind that it is not a particularly rare or strange case. This exercise served to teach us how to present a case, as we shall be doing so for the rest of our careers.

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How to tell you study medicine

Some of these are my own, some are my friends’, others have come from the internet. All of them are a reflection of being a medical student. Enjoy, laugh, and feel free to add some more below. 🙂

1.When you look at a person on the beach, the first thing you notice is their appendectomy scar.

2. You feel there is something wrong when you don’t have an exam coming up.

3. You wiz through a 500 page textbook in a day (which happens to be the day before your exam).

4. You know the size of a red blood cell: 7 microns in diameter

5. You are always tired.

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Protesting on campus

Tygerberg Campus is not the most politically active campus in South Africa.

Earlier this year, the student council organised something called “courageous conversations” in order to address concerns about homophobia on campus [courageous conversations can address any issues, though]. The audience consisted almost solely of the student council and the media.

This campus is one of the only university campuses in South Africa where the election of student government is not influenced by national politics; where a candidate’s political views will not affect the elections.

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When fate meddles with my profession

My friend was in an accident. It is not my story to tell and he would not appreciate me doing so, but it set me thinking.

As medical students of the 21st century, we are drilled in several things that were not always considered as important. These are things like the interdisciplinary approaches and holistic histories.

We are taught that it is not only about the biophysical history – we should also be interested in the patient’s economic, social and relational welfare.

The latest buzz word in our course is PREVENTION. Consultations are to be used for more than merely healing; we should also take preventative measures.

Find out if the patient lives in a house or a shack. Do they use electricity or gas? If they use gas, teach them about safe gas usage. Does the patient have access to clean running water? If not, find out how they clean their water and teach Mother what to do if her child develops diarrhoea. Does the patient smoke or drink? Advise about tapering down or quitting.

One of our lecturers told us that a lot of people who study medicine do it because they have a “complex” about “saving the world.” [that’s true]

Yet you can do whatever you want, remember to give advice on anything and still lose a regular patient to fate.

Some drunk driver can still come crashing down the wrong lane and obliterate everyone in its way. A bullet can still find its way into an innocent’s chest. Somebody with absolutely no risk factors can still be diagnosed with small cell lung carcinoma.

In the end, health care practitioners can do whatever they want, and a patient can be as compliant as elastic bands (sorry, couldn’t find a proper figure of speech)… and things can still end in disaster.

My friend is alright, save for a few small injuries. He was extremely lucky and so is everybody who cares for him. But it could have been different and it is every day, for some people.

And for that small truth, I am angered and immensely saddened.

Introduction to Clinical Medicine: Learning to Listen

One of the most important things they try to drill into our heads at Med School is the ability to take a good, relevant history. If we get a question in a test or exam asking, “Patient X has these symptoms, describe the steps you would take to reach a diagnosis” and we do not start with Take a relevant clinical history, we’re pretty much screwed.

The importance of a history is not exaggerated. Apparently some UK study indicated that over 75% of diagnoses can be made on a good clinical history. I am still scouring Google for that study, so if you know it do pass it along.

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My dramatic evening: a real-life medical emergency

Clinical Group arrived at Canal Walk (nice mall in Cape Town) at 21:00. We were going to have baklava (which I had been craving) and seafood. Ocean Basket was full; so onto the list went our names and a-walking we went.

At about 21:30 we were heading back towards the restaurant when we passed a little corridor and saw a young lady fall to the ground. She was seizing.

I once heard a definition for a coward: one who, in perilous emergency, thinks with his legs. [Ambrose Bierce]

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