Monday, July 19, 2010

Settling in

I think I've finally settled into my Trauma elective. It may have taken me 2 weeks to pull my shit together, but I'm starting to think that maybe I'm getting a hold on things now. Naturally, I've also attached myself to the Haematology team whether they like it or not, sort of like a fungus growing on a dead carcass. I suspect the Haematologists haven't quite figured out that I'm not actually one of their students yet, I'm sort of lying low at the moment. Although I think the Director of the unit is onto me...

Anyway. Exciting stuff today:
  • I scrubbed in for surgery. Okay, this may be extremely lame, but somehow I managed to get through an entire year of adult medicine without ever scrubbing in ??? It wasn't because I was scared, or busy, or lacked the opportunity etc. It was an initiative problem (related to surgery) that I'm sort of kind of addressing at the moment. Previously, going to theatre meant hanging out with the anaesthetists. But now I figured, hey, this is my freaking elective. So I scrubbed in. And for that, I got to retract the triple chin of a morbidly obese, obtunded patient as he got himself a tracheostomy (tube into wind pipe). Taking that step today, finally committing myself to the entire surgery (because hey, you can't just walk away from surgery when you're retracting bits of chin, right?), was a step I wanted and needed to take.
  • I discovered what pseudomonas spp. smells like. It's oh-so foul. So as we were prepping the above said patient, this odour starts wafting through the OR. For a second I thought it was from the neighbouring theatre, where the surgeons were busy draining a massive abdominal abscess that was so deep it was like a mining shaft. Literally. But then one of the registrars remarked: "This smells like pseudomonas." So now I know what pseudomonas smells like.
  • I saw petechiae. Yeah...I don't know why I got so excited about that.
  • I had to translate for this Chinese patient who spoke very little English. It was crazy! You'd think medicine, being all Asian and all, there'd be tonnes of doctors speaking Mandarin. Apparently not. So it turns out I was the only one who could speak Mandarin (vaguely), asking questions like where is the pain, do you need to pee, have you peed? Shit like that...
To cap off the day, I got a sign from God, or so I like to think. Unfortunately the vending machine goodies in this hospital are cheaper than those at my home hospital. I'm also hungry before I go home. Ergo = Kevin buys unnecessary trans fat junk food in the late afternoon. Except today I placed my only $2 coin into the machine AND IT ABSORBS MY MONEY WITHOUT GIVING ME MY FRIGGIN CADBURY! I took it as a sign. Maybe it's time for a change. Maybe I'm meant to start going to more surgeries and stop eating out of a vending machine.

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