The first three weeks of Student Internship are over. Well, almost over. I’m one of the poor people who is on call on the last weekend of the rotation. But whatevs.
I was not looking forward to this rotation. The last time I had had to catheterise a man, he had looked at me skeptically while wondering out loud if I was old enough (the night before my dad had jokingly warned me to “close my eyes”). I guess I had the same kind of apprehension about Urology as I had before starting Gynaecology and Head/Neck/Breast surgery rotations, except this time maybe more so.
And this is what I thought Urology would be like. It kind of was, but you quickly learn to get over yourself. You learn that men, too, get over themselves when they are experiencing terrible LUTS and just want it to be better. And you learn how many unnecessary hospital referrals could be prevented if all family practitioners were confident with transurethral catheters and DREs. (Do you know how many people get unnecessary suprapubic catheters from their doctors? A LOT).
I’m not saying I’m great at it now, but I’m definitely more confident. And it feels good knowing that when you’re in the middle of nowhere, you’ll know what to do.
I liked Urology, for the most part. There are many unpleasant sides to it (which I’m sure I don’t have to explain) but there is so much to do. Patients come in with problems like LUTS and erectile dysfunction and strictures and incontinence, and they’re absolutely miserable, and more often than not there is an easy way to help them. The impact on their quality of life is immense, and then they are so HAPPY. I loved that.
And although their problems may seem trivial compared to the big illnesses you see in other disciplines, it is not trivial when poorly managed BPH or strictures lead to renal failure and a patient that arrives in the ICU after coding. And it is not trivial when a child with a neuogenic bladder has never had the opportunity to go to school because nobody ever told her about clean intermittent self-catheterisation. And Fournier’s Gangrene definitely isn’t trivial either.
It may just be the enigma of being an SI, but I did not feel once like I could not wait for the rotation to end. I felt like I actually belonged in the medical profession, and that was awesome.