Saturday, February 4, 2012

Highlight of my Placement.

It is now the end of week 4 of my placement. 3 more weeks to go. To be honest...these last few weeks have been going by quite quickly. Even the doctors on the ward agree that these last few weeks have blown by. Now 4 weeks in....I'm really feeling a part of the team. We are all starting to get to know each other better so there's a lot more banter going on and joking around, which I really enjoy.  Despite this, there are still a lot of up and downs during this placement. There are days where there's a lot going on, and then there are days where you start asking yourself why did you even come in.

Wednesday could have been easily the highlight day of my entire placement. This day also came at a perfect time as it's halfway into the placement and it really gave me a good boost. Every one noticed that I was in a very good mood on Wednesday and actually had a bit of spark in me. Found out that there was some paediatric surgery going on in the morning and I decided I needed a change of scenery. Heard the consultant surgeon apparently looks fairly stern (cue heart sinking) and no one could pronounce his name. Got changed into greens (oh I missed them soooooo much) and heard that surgery is delayed as the patient hasn't arrived yet. Sat in the coffee room and there was only one doctor in there (who looked kind of stern) and I figured he was the surgeon I will be following in the morning. It was fairly awkward in the room as we just sat in silence and watched a tv show. Few minutes later he got up and I shortly followed behind him and hope it didn't seem like I was stalking him. Saw the surgical list before going in and to my delight I found out he is a Paediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon.  Pretty sure I was smiling like an idiot at the list. Walked into the anaesthetic room and we did introductions and after the consultant introduced himself, I knew immediately he's a really nice guy. He asked me to help him out with setting up equipment and he seemed really keen to get me involved. Slowly my mood was picking up and I was really getting excited. He then allowed me to scrub in for one his surgeries (in grown toe nail). It was a really quick surgery but when a consultant asks you to scrub in, it makes you feel involved and you start to feel more included/less useless. You feel like you're actually helping. It's a hard feeling to describe.  Like during placement, especially early on, you feel unwanted and useless so when a doctor asks you to help even in a tiny little task, you get this good feeling/sense of satisfaction.

Anyways during a break in between surgeries, the consultant and I had a chat and he noticed that I seemed quite keen about surgery. It was cool having a casual chat with the surgeon and I told him I'm interested in orthopaedics. We had a really good talk about the specialty and then he told me to go to the Trauma list in the afternoon. Saw a fracture reduction + internal fixation and it was easily the bloodiest surgery I have ever seen, yet oddly enough, the one I enjoyed the most...ever. Even a few times I questioned myself as I caught myself smiling during surgery. I was really interested and I found the surgery pretty cool. There was a surgical trainee who was observing and he talked me through the surgery. The surgery was fairly complicated, but I was genuinely absorbing everything the trainee was saying. I was following along without difficulty and I just had this good feeling inside me. I think the hardest part about the surgery was wearing the lead aprons for 2.5 hours as there was a mobile xray machine in the room. Xrays were periodically taken to make sure the plate was in the right position and if the screws were placed properly. My back was killing me by the end of surgery (as I've been in surgery all day and almost all the procedures I had to wear a lead apron). But the aching legs and back was totally worth it. I could easily say it has been the best time I've had in surgery. The morning procedures were fairly simple, yet I still really enjoyed my time. It's quite weird.

"Be back by 4pm" said the registrar when I stopped by the ward to grab my bag for lunch. It was now 5:30pm and I was still in surgery watching the surgeon close up. He made stitching seem so effortless and simple, but I guess if you've been doing it for 20 something years, it'll become second nature.  I was in no hurry to leave theatre. To be honest, I didn't want to leave. My bleep went off twice and I knew I should get going. The consultant and I had a chat after surgery and he said throughout the surgery he noticed me looking very interested/keen. I don't think I have ever really heard any doctor tell me I look keen. To be honest, most of the time I probably look like I'm not even there. The consultant also said he was fairly impressed that I didn't get sick as he agreed it was a very bloody/gruesome surgery.  He asked when will I join him again in theatre or pop by his clinic as he said he wouldn't mind me around, especially if I'm interested in the specialty. Again I got this weird feeling of actually being wanted. Usually consultants don't want to deal with students, but this consultant seemed interested/keen to teach me.

Dragged my feet back to the ward and everyone was commenting how I look alive for once and happy. To be fair, I was very happy. I was definitely motivated. I can't wait to go back to theatre next week/hopefully I'll be able to escape to theatre. What a great day. Will never forget the last surgery of the day.

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