What a week.
Driving to the peripheral hospital for 40 minutes each way every day does take a toll. Since Monday, I have been going in at about 9 or 10 am, which is considered a late start when compared to others. My consultant is fairly "slack" and told us not to come in too early because we do have to travel a long way and for safety sake not to tire us out too badly. Last few days my partner and I have been going around to different wards to take patient histories and do physical examinations. I swear we have not been that lucky this week. We have been given two patients on our ward who we should definitely speak to as they are quite interesting to talk to and one patient in particular is extremely fun to talk to. Every time we wanted to go speak to this one patient, he is asleep in his chair. We were told by the nurses and junior doctors to not wake him up as he gets tired quite easily (plus he is quite old). Finally, when my partner and I walked by his room he was awake so we went in to ask for permission to speak to him about his condition.
I am not kidding but I think the entire ward (nurses and junior doctors) were playing a mighty good prank on us. Here's the catch: this patient is almost completely deaf. We literally spoke right into his ear and he still could not hear us. My partner and I were absolutely baffled. We could not believe that the staff had been recommending us a patient who is deaf. The main point of patient histories is to ask questions and it does not exactly work if the patient cannot hear you. Now we feel like we are the joke of the ward. However I am VERY determined to get a patient history from this patient as I had a read through his notes and he is definitely an interesting patient. I think I will opt for the writing on a whiteboard to ask my questions.
After being absolutely baffled by this patient, my partner and I decided to abandon our ward and move to other wards to get patient histories. We went to the Cardiology ward and we managed to get a really good patient history. This particular patient was very kind and VERY patient with us. We visited him again today to do a Cardiovascular physical examination on him and again he was very cooperative and seemed really keen on helping us learn.
Today we also went to the respiratory ward and managed to get another patient history and do a respiratory physical examination. Despite being a Friday, I thought today was one of our most productive days. Last few days we were leaving early (e.g. 1:30pm-2:00pm) as we felt redundant. Today, we left feeling like we've done a lot and actually had some fun. Definitely a good way to end the week of placements.
Next week - hopefully we'll start off where we left off and continue to be productive. On Monday we will be doing a theatre list with our consultant so we'll finally see him again and hopefully get some teaching from him as well as he is amazing at teaching and very patient. I was also hoping to ask to be able to scrub in and maybe be a bit more interactive and try and help out as I think that is the best way to learn. Much better than standing in the corner of the room and trying not to be in the way.
Sorry for the long post. Will update hopefully soon. Have a good weekend!