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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

It's been a very long time since I've updated, yeah? The inertia is too great most of the time, even though I feel like updating every single time. Call it inertia, or laziness, or ambivalence. Anyway, thought I'd better do it now, before everything becomes a haze in this fuzzy memory of mine!


Taster Week

We have this thing in the Foundation Programme, where we are supposed to do a week in something other than the placement we are working in at the moment. It can be something which is arranged by the postgrad centre, or something we arrange ourselves, and hopefully it would be interesting for us. This is so as to give us a 'well-rounded, diversified' outlook on the other aspects of medicine.

Had split my week into 2 parts - 3 days in one week, go back to work on thurs and friday (coz my boss was oncall those days and I wanted in on the clinics and trauma lists), and 2 days the following week. When I got back, was told I was sorely missed though. =p

Anyway, back to the taster week. I did mine in a combination of both. Namely, it was partially something which I was allocated to, by the postgrad medical centre - Renal Transplant (under Mr Chemla, SHH), and something I arranged as well - Paediatric Surgery (under Ms Body, SGH). And it was brilliant! I got to do a couple of AV fistulae on lists, and go for clinics, got to do a circumcision on a kid (and that didn't turn out too badly!). Now I'm definitely more interested in vascular surgery. It's so intricate, delicate, fine-tuned to precision. I like the aim for perfection for it (if the vessel fails, that's it!). I'm still not so sure about Paediatric Surgery. Guess I have to do more of that before I decide. Then again, I love the kids. Still. Seriously miss them at times. =)

Advanced Life Support

In between the taster week, I had to go for the ALS course. Those who do A+E have to do it before they start A+E. I must say, the ALS course in Epsom is wicked. The instructors were fantastic, absolutely brilliant. We were split into small groups of 5-6, and there was a written exam, as well as mock scenario stations and on the final day, a scenario at the exam. As the team leader, you're under pressure to appoint people, make decisions on what has happened, what needs to be done, what are the causes of arrest and correct it, and keep on re-assessing, all the time staying calm. Or at least projecting a calm image, even though most of the time your mind screams 'I don't know what I'm doing or what I'm looking for!' (which mine does at any point) or your non-verbal communication (aka wringing your hands/fingers or scratching your neck or playing with your hair or just looking puzzled) tells it all.

All in all, it was a great 2 days packed with lectures and scenarios and lovely instructors (some of whom were very good eye candy even though they are married) and group members. A must-do for anyone in the medical field really. And it is at the stage - just after PRHO. Very appropriate level, I think. The next one to get over would be the ATLS!


Things outside work

Amongst other things, I was quite ill, towards the end of my week of nights. So much so that the medical SHO and lots of the nurses said that I should be at home resting, and not at work! See, it takes people to tell me repeatedly, before it registers in this brain of mine that I am actually sick and need to rest. And yep, I was down with the flu. It came on insidiously really, starting with a sore throat, then progressing to a cough which became worse and more productive every time I took cough linctus. And guess what. I lost my voice. for 3 days. 2 days before and after those days were interspersed with a hoarse (aka husky/sexy, as evidenced by the guys saying I'm gonna give them a run for their money) or croaking voice, which I still am sounding like, but at least now, I'm not hacking my lungs out, or waking up to bouts of coughing, which was rather painful. Literally.

I'd much rather like it if I had the sniffles every now and then. It would take the edge off these occasions of sickness. You know, the last time I had something like this, was in March 06, where I actually had to take a sick day off. It's the same this time, and I had to take the last night off. The word - unbearable, comes to mind during those few days that it was getting worse. This was despite medications, and supposedly adequate rest. Guess that was my body's way of telling me that 7 days straight of on-calls doesn't agree with me and that it was time to take a rest. And so, that I did. The night I took off, out of the 24 hours in a day, I slept 18 hours of it! And the next few days, because it was the weekend, I had 12 hours each day! It was a great feeling not needing to wake up to the alarm, and to silence in the house (none of the housemates are around). And although I was oncall again yesterday, on new year's day, and we didn't finish till midnight, I was off again today, and slept till 11am, pottered around the house for a bit, then had a long nap in the afternoon. Indulgence, I tell you. =)

Amongst the sickness, meet-ups with friends for dinner and drinks are the norm now, especially on thurs or fri nights. Oh yes! We had the Orthopaedic Xmas Dinner at Wimbledon Village, this posh place called the Lighthouse, which served really good food! Great service too. Then we headed to the club in Wimbledon and danced the night away with the boys and girl (apart from me, there was just Dominique)! It was great fun!

Oh yes, we went for this MOH dinner networking thingmajig at the Singapore High Commission, in London. Where all the biggies were, and they were saying to go back home to work. It was catered more for the health professionals, specifically the docs really, the way the talks were geared. However, despite all these visits, which all sound the same btw, they can't give a good reason or an incentive for us to go back to work there, apart from that it's home.

Anyway, enough of that for now. More later when I actually have the energy to write about general surgery and the oncalls I've been doing. It's just been manical.