Getting to know me, Real Medicine

Why I Paed

il_fullxfull.1060268322_b3xh_1b44cb32-38e5-43f0-83cd-e66691807124_grandeWhenever I talk about my love for child health, and my intention to pursue it as a career, I get this kind of response:

“Oh, I could never work with kids. It just breaks my heart to see them suffer!”

I don’t get it.

I mean, maybe I’m a cold-hearted bitch, but I don’t think so.

I hold children down and stick them with needles, because I know it’s necessary to make them better. I scrub burn wounds and I encourage parents to wait outside because I know they’ll cry and/or likely try to assault me for hurting their babies.

I also use topical anaesthetic cream liberally and question IV lines when I don’t think it is absolutely necessary. I’m liberal with analgesia prescriptions because pain is more harmful than useful in a hospital setting.

I see malnourished and abused children, and sometimes I bite my tongue raw to keep my temper.

I’ve told mothers that their children had cancer, and I’ve told them that their kids would be developmentally delayed for the rest of their lives. I’ve told them that their kids will live, but that they will be long-term patients.

(Thankfully rarely) I’ve informed parents that their baby was no longer alive.

* * * 

But I give more high-fives than I give pain.

I get gummy smiles and snotty laughter and the wide-based gait of children waddling around my legs.

I call in the social workers and the dieticians and we (try to) address systems, not just lapses in judgment.

I get to pick up a crying infant and feel it relax, because although human contact isn’t medicine, sometimes it’s just what you need in that moment. Both of you.

I get to discharge more patients than I ever have to declare demised.

When I tell a parent that their child is disabled, I get to tell them about disabled people who don’t only live, but THRIVE.

I get to admit a shocked child, and see her running around the ward two days later.

I get to witness the purity of the human spirit first-hand.

I tread among the future.

Paediatrics is the great success-story of 20th century medicine, and I rarely cry for it.

* * * 

Adult medicine? Oh I couldn’t. I’d cry all day.

Real Medicine, Studying Medicine

A Key To Disillusionment In Work And Play

disillusionment2The phenomenon of disillusionment is well-discussed in the world of medicine. Roundabout third year of medical school, students begin to realise that the medical world simply does not live up to what they envisioned.

It is easy to say, “Just don’t have such high expectations,” but in reality a doctor without vision becomes a mindless drone. Disillusionment is discussed so widely because even though by definition it seems simple, its origins and characteristics are complex.

Funnily enough, I began to really understand disillusionment when I started club-running. Don’t be mistaken: joining a club was the best decision I could have made. It introduced me to many like-minded people and provided ample opportunity to amp my mileage.

I joined a club because I felt that I loved running enough to do so, but not long after joining I started experiencing an emotion I recognised from the medical world. I was feeling disillusioned. Continue reading “A Key To Disillusionment In Work And Play”

Campus Life, Real Medicine, Studying Medicine

Lies They Tell You About Medicine

Canada’s The Globe and Mail recently published the piece, “Think medical school is for you? You’re probably wrong.” Trisha brought it to my attention with her great response piece here. While I think the author has some salient points, I disliked the strong undertones of the piece. It did get me thinking, though, how a big part of the reason medical school turns out so different to how people expect, is because our expectations are all wrong. So this is my response, in the form of rectifying the lies we perpetuate.

fingers lies Continue reading “Lies They Tell You About Medicine”

Real Medicine

Medical School in South Africa: How does it work?

I think South Africans have a better grasp of American medical training than they have of training in our own country (thanks, Grey’s Anatomy). This is an attempt to lift that shroud of mystery. (If you already know all that and want a step-by-step guide on the application process, click here.)

Please note that South African medical training is not standardised per se, and that I speak only from my experience and the bits that I have picked up from friends at other schools. There is variation and I cannot be held accountable for any misunderstandings. This post serves as a starting point only: if you are considering medical school, you should do additional research (links below).

sa med school Continue reading “Medical School in South Africa: How does it work?”

Studying Medicine

Journal Flashback: 2009_03_30

I wrote this last year. It may well be one of the most honest journal entries I have ever done. Whether I still feel the same and my opinions on these facts, now… are inconsequential and a matter for another day:

A country requires many more doctors than there are people who have a calling to study for almost a decade and then work ungodly hours in a truly horrific setup.

Continue reading “Journal Flashback: 2009_03_30”