Reflections on Orthopaedics

ortho giraffeI’m really just looking for an excuse to post this awesome picture. This giraffe is an educational model. It’s big and fluffy and beautiful – I have an affinity for giraffes in part due to my great-grandmother – and also it has a real spine that the orthopods used to teach the students on rotation and also to educate their spine patients.

I kind of hoped that I would be an ortho queen. I just loved the idea of being a tiny woman in a male-dominated specialty (at least, it is in South Africa) and kicking ass at it. I’m sure I’m not the only person with those kinds of bad-ass dreams. 

Anyway, I did enjoy Orthos. It was just unfortunately the last rotation before surgical exams so it earned the place of “thing that is keeping me from studying”.

I especially loved paediatric orthopaedics and spine. Spine because it makes sense, and although it is hard at first, once you have the examination waxed it’s awesome. HOFFMAN’S REFLEX! It’s the most fun reflex ever. Also it’s pretty fun watching the Ortophods and Neurologists battle for the territory.

And Paeds was fun because… well, do I need a reason? But honestly, I really liked seeing babies’ feet improve with their Ponseti casts week after week, and I loved how many things could be fixed without invasive measures.

Oh, and although I already did this during Family Medicine, POPs are so much fun. I just feel like, when you’ve had a crazy call and you feel like you’ve been through a war, you should look that way too. And with Ortho, you do! At least, the kind of war where people throw Plaster of Paris at one another…

But, ultimately, Ortho still has surgery… and the surgery in Ortho didn’t make my heart beat any faster than it does for General, or Abdo, or Vascular, or any of that… (Which, as you probably know, is not very fast at all.)

I honestly don’t have a grudge against surgery. It’s just not my thing.

But overall, Orthopaedics was one of the rotations I didn’t hate getting up for every morning – and that is quite an achievement!


  1. crankygiraffe says:

    I thought you were going to say you love giraffes because of me! Haha, that is an awesome spine model!

    1. Aaaaah! Well, OBVIOUSLY that contributes too! Did you ever say why the Giraffe part in your name, by the way? Do you like them too? 😀 Or is there more to it? Is it one of those things I’m not supposed to ask (I did go through your blog looking but I can’t seem to find a related post)?

      1. crankygiraffe says:

        There is no real reason why I picked a giraffe, except that I have always loved giraffes. They are pretty awesome animals, and I think as a kid I liked that we shared the same first letter of our name :). Kids obsess over funny things like that!

      2. That’s true! They have big beautiful eyes and are so sweet. Except for that one time that I was chased by a teenage giraffe with long gangly legs it could hardly control (growth spurt, anyone?). That was… less appealing.

  2. Dr. Mom says:

    When I saw the giraffe I thought it was crankygiraffe’s blog. Haha!! Great post! I loved the surgery part of Orthodox even though I was holding retractors forever. The mechanical nature of joints is very cool.

    1. Hah! Thanks 🙂 I have to say scoliosis surgery was pretty fascinating (and messy). And we did a lot of hand explorations because of a high incidence of self-defense wounds, and the tendon repairs were pretty cool! And terrifying given that they told us that in rural areas, we may be expected to do that…

  3. harveylisam says:

    Giraffes are one of my favourite animals. 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed ortho to some extent!! I think it’s a pretty cool specialty, for sure.

    1. Cool and hardcore!

  4. Hestie Collett says:

    My daughter need to go for scoliosis op. She loves giraffes. Any idea where I can buy a giraffe model like this with spine inside? I will be forever greatful

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