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”
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.
So this is it?
Last night I did my last call duty of internship – in Internal Medicine, of all things.
This morning, I finished my post-intake ward round, said a few unceremonious goodbyes, and walked out.
And off I went. Continue reading “End Of Internship”
A few months ago I did something on the spur of the moment. Something unlike me, something I was sure I’d regret.
I invited a colleague for a coffee/debriefing session after work.
I’m an introvert. Initiating a social event, even a small one, is unlike me.
I asked her because we bumped into each other at work, and had a quick chat about how downtrodden and hopeless we felt. (Internal Medicine is hard.)
I asked her, selfishly, because I needed it. But also because I realised that she needed it. Continue reading “Not Waiting Anymore”
Since becoming a “real” doctor, I’ve never had a patient refer to my piercing. As mentioned before, it really isn’t that conspicuous. I’ve also noticed more and more doctors who have nose piercings, so it probably isn’t so strange in South African healthcare workers as it was in 2011.
This year, after working with a certain doctor for three months, he finally noticed the piercing. His response was, “Well that’s atypical,” then he laughed and we moved on with our ward round.
I removed my nose jewellery recently, and in many ways that decision was as difficult as getting it in the first place. Continue reading “Doctors and Piercings: Part 3”