Defining Moments of 2012: Med IV

Consider this a wrap-up post of sorts, in collaboration with The Daily Post’s Weekly Writing Challenge. It has been a big year for me, but also an incredibly tough and exhausting year. It’s nice to look back at what has taken place. I hope I have grown in some way, and I do hope that 2013 will be an even better year.

I started the year pretty eagerly, but discovering that I was the only remaining member of my original clinical group really bummed me out. It’s hard when the people who keep you positive – and people who helped you to study! – are suddenly in danger of not becoming a doctor. I realised again and again how incredibly fortunate I am to be studying medicine.

So I started putting my back into it. My grades started improving – not nearly what it used to be, but much better than it was in my second and third year. I began to think that just maybe I won’t be a colossal failure as a doctor.

Nevertheless, I slacked a lot with Anaesthesiology, and ended up having to cram all the work in a week’s time. I have never studied quite as earnestly. It ended up being one of my best courses of the year. Maybe I’m not an idiot after all.

Clinical Rotations were more fun this year, being trusted to do things rather than to screw up. Forensic Medicine scared and enthralled me. We performed an autopsy on a woman who was pregnant to term. I wept a lot, in secret; but I learned so much in that short rotation. I also learned that Dermatology is awesome and that Pathology and Radiology are definitely not for me. Paediatrics continued to make my uterus flutter.

I decided that I wanted to join the National Defense Force’s Reserve Medical Corps. I didn’t have much support from The Boy or my friends – in fact, they thought I was being downright stupid. I was sad. But the next day I discovered Semester at Sea and that became my new obsession. Clearly joining the army was just a whim. I didn’t get the big Semester at Sea Scholarship and I was rather heartbroken. It had been a while since I didn’t get what I wanted. I grew then, too. But despite my ego being bruised, I’m going to circumnavigate the world. Yay!

Electives formed a big part of this year. Meeting elective students, planning electives, and electives crashing spectacularly. Eventually I did organise an elective at a less developed hospital, where I spent two weeks in paediatric admissions, a week in paediatric oncology and a week in neonatology. It was good. Paeds is awesome.

My friends and I continue to be unfairly exposed to health risks. A great many of them had needle prick injuries or mucosal exposures this year, and it was awful seeing them go through the side-effects of Post-Exposure Prophylaxis. By something I can only describe as a combination of a miracle, luck and extreme caution, I did not experience this. I continue to have nightmares about the possibility. However, I had to be tested for TB recently and it was, without a doubt, one of the scariest tests I’ve taken. Working in a hospital where appropriate preventative measures are not available is akin to a human rights violation.

Inspiration was not in short supply this year. For that, I am eternally grateful.

My family remain supportive in an unprecedented fashion. My little sister will be joining me at school next year. Her gentle hard-working attitude are incredibly deserving. I am more grateful of her acceptance to university than I was for my own acceptance four years ago.

I have to say thank you, from the depth of my heart, to all my blog readers who have been phenomenal supporters this year. Cheers to year full of lessons!

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