Tomorrow at 6am I will attend ward rounds for the last time with the vascular team. I have enjoyed the rotation far more than I thought I would. Surgery is not something I expect to pursue as a career, for several reasons. One, I’m freakin’ uncoordinated. Two, I’m really not that great when it comes to precise vision, especially regarding spatial relations. Best not let me too close to your arteries, too often. I mean, I can make do, but don’t expect artistry with the scalpel. Three, there are too many other things I’m more interested in.
So, vascular. Lots of old people. Lots of poor people. Lots of ischaemic limbs, emboli, diabetic feet, aneurysms. Gangrene and lots of festy wounds. Very, very interesting medical problems. Very, very interesting patients. I liked it. Surgery itself? I am in awe of the work of the consultants, and I admire the tenacity of the registrars. I have an abstract interest in the work, but I really can’t say that I’ve discovered a new passion.
Highlights of the tour? Chatting with patients, learning new things from smart people, and being challenged. Lowlights? The very elderly lady wrapped up in bed with her doll, quietly oblivious to her impending leg amputation, and the look on her face the morning after.
Biggest learning points? Reconciling different approaches to the patient as a person vs the patient as a problem. Balancing clinical distance with empathy is a fine art.
Things I learned about myself? I know very little, I guess very well, I like how I approach a problem, and I need to know more.