Monthly Archives: October 2010

Baby Catch Numero Uno

Loads has been going on. This is my first clinical rotation at ‘home’, and it’s been great to be home with my girl and our assorted beasties. I’m liking getting to know the local hospital on a full-time basis, rather than the three-hour, once a month visits we had in the first phase of the course. And it’s full-time: the last couple of days have been 12 hours plus. I know, I know, wait for intern year… but at least then I’ll be getting paid.

This is an obstetrics and gynaecology rotation, and the ward is run by midwives rather than doctors. They are being very generous with their expertise, and I am learning loads. Especially things like avoiding perineal tears, which is a fine thing to know.

Having assisted at a few deliveries, today I was officially allowed to ‘catch’ the baby. He came safely into the world, a little speedier than anticipated, and mum was very pleased not to need stitches.

My happiness was topped off when the midwife wrote up the baby’s identification card. Most often on this ward, the ‘Doctor’ line is left blank, but for this little fellow, it read….

Doctor: Toast (Student Doctor)

… wow that feels good.

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One week’s break is not long enough to move home, unpack, do all the washing, dry it, fold it, put it away,introduce the bunny to free-ranging in the backyard, go away for a weekend, foster two goats, relax, catch up on study, pay all the bills, and weed the garden. It just isn’t.

While removing the weeds from 1/600th of the garden today – I chose an oddly shaped paved area – I had some good thinking time. I used this time for such quality thoughts as, well, the following.

You’d think with all the herbivores in my garden this week, ONE of them might have had the decency to eat some weeds. The weeds which are the hardest to pull up are also the ones with lovely juicy earthworms amongst their roots. I conclude that earthworms promote root growth. How do worms survive under all this weird concrete/paving/asphalt crap? Why would anyone deliberately put this oddly shaped area of paving/concrete/asphalt in their garden? There is so much grass here in these pavers. Maybe I should concrete or pave all the areas of lawn the chickens have scratched to bare dirt, so that grass will grow there again.

Ooh yuck an earwig. Maybe I should have fed that to the chooks. Ooh, was that a termite? Or just a very brown funny-shaped ant? Maybe we should knock down the shed like they suggested in our building report. I wonder if the shed is full of termites, I can’t remember if that was why they said we should knock it down. Maybe it’s just a general hazard. Right, this earwig is going to the chooks. Chooks! Here’s an earwig! No! Over there! I hope they find it. If we knocked down the shed, we could build a better shed. Wait, stop thinking about building a better shed. You’re supposed to be building townhouses. I wonder how much it costs to build townhouses. I wonder how much it would cost to put in some french doors and turn the extension into a second bedroom. That extension is so dodgy. I wonder if it was even approved. Hm there’s a hole in my glove. I wish those goats had eaten these weeds.

What is a weed, a weed is just a flower growing in the wrong place. Or a bit of grass. Ooh this one has burrs. Right, get all the burr-y ones. Hello cat. Ooh you’re vomiting. Dog! Leave him alone! Go away! Oh hell eat it then you filthy hound. MUST you make that slurping noise? Gross. NO, don’t even THINK about licking me. Ugggh shudder. Go away! Burr-y ones. Ooh spider. Another spider. Why must spiders hide here? Sorry, spider.

A weed is just a flower growing in the wrong place. A picture of a red poppy growing from a grey concrete crack. Falling in love at the wrong time or with the wrong person. Another juicy worm for the garden, no wonder that one was so hard to pull out. My god this is going to take for ever. I have dirt under my fingernail, I should throw these gloves out. A bath? Now? Yes, I’ll have a bath, I’d love a bath, I haven’t had a bath in… forever. I could shave my legs. Just one more burr-y one…

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Uh, My Reputation Precedes Me?

It was a clinical skills class with some particularly patient and generous patient volunteers, and we were practicing skills we had previously been taught on plastic models. Using a speculum and such. See I’m being sketchy with my explanation because I’m a little wary of search terms on the internet. The Lady Bits Exam.

We were to work in pairs. For a few minutes during the briefing I was uncomfortably aware of a sensation kind of like being picked last for the netball team. I guess working in pairs with the resident queer chick for this particular session could be some people’s idea of awkward. My old buddy Yoohoo rose to the challenge (if there was one).

In the spirit of great maturity, Yoohoo and I rock-paper-scissored for the first examination. I lost.

The volunteer and her chaperone were friendly, and we chatted away as I went about my tasks. My patient was elderly, and the mother of four children, and this was her fourth year of volunteering for this session. I did not find the examination particularly complex or daunting, and we were done with no fuss at about the speed I’d like my GP to get it over with.

As a pair, we were finished fairly quickly. The GP instructor appeared through the privacy screen as we were thanking the patient and saying our goodbyes.

GP INSTRUCTOR: How did they go, ladies?
PATIENT: Ooh they did very well. Yoohoo had a couple of goes, she just needs a bit more confidence. But she was very good.
CHAPERONE: Yes, they did very well. Very professional.
PATIENT: Confidence! Toast was so confident, and fast! Very very good. She may be the best student I’ve seen so far.
GP INSTRUCTOR: Yes, well, she does have a lot of experience.

One of those moments I had to just move on from so that I could roll on the floor hysterically later.

I should note that GP Instructor is not especially known to me, and I’m not sure where she gets her information… I can only assume she knew she was being hilarious.


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So, Mental Health.

This rotation was my second placement in mental health, the difference being that this time, I’d actually covered the theory before the placement. I liked it, a lot. I liked the shades of grey, the uncertainty, and the challenges.

That I may consider a career in psychiatry seems to provoke one of two reactions in people: genuine enthusiasm, or hysterical laughter. The former mostly from people I know through medicine, the latter from people I’ve known for much longer.

There’s probably no right answer.

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