Real Medicine

Abortion Care: Did I Provide My Best?

It’s funny how sometimes, long after the fact, you start questioning your levels of care and competence.

During my first rotation of internship (last year), which was Obstetrics and Gynaecology, I was one of the few interns willing to do pregnancy terminations. (For the purposes of this blog, the matter is not up for debate – I have been pro-choice for nearly half my life, and have thoroughly evaluated my own beliefs.)

Just recently I’ve found myself thinking back on those four months and wondering if I did everything I could, and if I was empathic enough. Continue reading “Abortion Care: Did I Provide My Best?”

Bookishness

Ten Books Every Lifelong Learner Should Read

Linking up with The Broke and The Bookish for Top Ten Tuesday. Today’s topic is “Ten books every (X) Should read.”

fa06114a227c0d6d401a3473ca949b4fI have a million-bajillion lists about books every medical student or health-professional should read; so I decided to pretend I know something and suggest books for, well, almost everyone. On Semester at Sea, we had “Lifelong Learners”. These were slightly older voyagers who had already worked and gained life experience, and who sailed with us and audited classes.

I like the concept of lifelong learning. I love the idea that you are not stuck with learning only about whatever you studied in college/university; I love the idea that you can gain knowledge about almost anything if you are inspired to do so (thank you, Google). I believe I am a life-long learner; and I believe that books are at least partially responsible for that.

The list, in no particular order: Continue reading “Ten Books Every Lifelong Learner Should Read”

Bookishness, Current Affairs

Fifteen Lanes by S.J. Laidlaw [Book Review]

25893705Writing an “issue book” for young adults can be dangerous. Writing an issue book that incorporates diversity and a non-Western setting can be disastrous. It can be shallow. It can be whitewashed. It can be a pity-party. It can be subtly racist. Issue books are hard to write because we all have unwitting biases, and they can reveal themselves in our writing, despite our very best intentions.

Fifteen Lanes by S.J. Laidlaw is nothing like that.

Besides being teenage girls in Mumbai, Noor and Grace seemingly have nothing in common. Noor (which by the way is one of my favorite names!) is the eldest child of a prostitute. She was raised in the red-light district of Kamathipura. Education is her refuge, but she lives in constant fear of following the fate of her mother. Continue reading “Fifteen Lanes by S.J. Laidlaw [Book Review]”

Bookishness, Real Medicine, Studying Medicine

What If Everything You Knew About Breastfeeding Was Wrong?

24612267How does one react to seeing a book cover that claims breast feeding is “big business and bad policy”?

If you’re me, you request a review copy of that book, fully intending to expose how wrong it is.

As a medical student, one of the important things I was taught again and again is this: BREAST IS BEST. We were given a nearly 100-page document to study about infant feeding during second year. We were expected to know the constituents of human milk and be able to compare it to cow’s milk and formula. We had to memorise tables of the various formulas on offer and their indications. In fourth year, an entire oral OSCE station was dedicated to breastfeeding.

Breast was best and formula-feeding was undesirable, and it all made perfect sense to me; and of course I never read up the literature because our professors had surely done that FOR us. Continue reading “What If Everything You Knew About Breastfeeding Was Wrong?”

Real Medicine

Recovery, Divided or Together

The burns’ ward in our hospital is kind of special. It is the only ward that hosts men, women and children together. It is the only ward where everyone has exactly the same problem. It is one of our cleanest wards, and has a high staff-to-patient ratio.

But it’s not a pleasant place. The smells and the pain levels are hard for me to witness, so being a patient there must be so much worse.

I cannot help but notice, whenever I go in there, that the male patients are all sitting around one of the tables, telling stories and having a good time. In the adjoining room, the women all sit by their own beds, doing their own things.

It’s just so… jarring.

As an introvert, I totally understand the need for alone-time. But I NEVER see the women in this ward hanging out.

Support is so important in recovery.

I just wonder why they keep away from one another.

Getting to know me, Real Medicine

How To Run A Clinic Without A Voice

When I was asked by Figure 1 which one piece of medical equipment I valued above all others, I said “my hearing”. We were taught from the very beginning that a good history was our first step to an accurate diagnosis, and I have always valued a physician who LISTENS: to their patients, their students, their allies, and their contemporaries.

Remember the game we always played? – “If you had to lose one sense, which would it be?”

I thought of my dad, who is blind: when he applied to do an honours degree in Psychology, his application was denied based on the fact that he would not be able to see his client’s faces (ridiculous, really. That was nearly 30 years ago). It had me thinking: what about a blind physician? We have many blind physiotherapists, but surely doctors must SEE… a quick Google search proved me wrong.

Blind doctor Albert A. Nast holding his ear to the back of a 3 month old instead of using a stethoscope.
Blind doctor Albert A. Nast holding his ear to the back of a 3 month old instead of using a stethoscope. Image: Time Life. Click for link.

Continue reading “How To Run A Clinic Without A Voice”

Bookishness

Book Review: Three Daughters

From the fertile hills of a tiny village near Jerusalem to the elegant townhouses of Georgetown, Three Daughters is a historical saga that chronicles the lives, loves, and secrets of three generations of Palestinian Christian women.

Three Daughters chronicles the lives of Miriam, Nadia and Nijmeh – three generations of daughters, wives and mothers. Although distinct personalities with their own secrets, their lives are finely connected not only by blood but by culture and the fine threads of society.

Each woman, in her own time and in her own way, experiences a world in transition through war and social change…and each must stretch the bounds of her loyalty, her courage, and her heart.

It seems I’ve been on a fantastic streak of finding and reading great historical fiction. Three Daughters is a reprint of Consuelo Saah Baehr’s Daughters of 1988. Continue reading “Book Review: Three Daughters”