So yours truly is half-way done with this housejob thing. Yay!
I recently completed my second posting: INTERNAL MEDICINE.
Let’s just say the posting was more of presentations and the likes, than anything else.
Internal medicine doctors like to brag about their “stuff”, unlike the surgeons who love “action” and just want to get a knife under your skin. To their credit, the internists seem to spend more bedside time with their patients.
The longest ward round of my life (about 5 hours) was during my internal medicine rotation and it was not funny.
I spent my entire posting in the Endocrinology unit where about 90% of our patients had diabetes.
Some Diabetic cases were really bad especially those complicated with Diabetic Foot Syndrome (DMFS) and we lost a number of them, sadly.
Still there were more successes than defeats and for that I’m thankful.
The importance of patient education and regular health checks cannot be overemphasized because without those complications, Diabetes is pretty manageable.
I’m especially thankful that God kept me through those 12 weeks of ward rounds, emergency room calls and outpatient clinic activities. I had some tough days as well as a few long nights.
I’m glad I was able to make friends with my colleagues, seniors, nurses and even a few patients. The Unit Consultants and Residents were also kind and helpful.
I’m especially thankful for my unit partner, Dr. M. He made my life easier in so many ways and he took the bulk of the work on days when the unit was really busy. He really deserves some accolades😂
I’ve since resumed a new posting (Obstetrics/Gynecology), and I’m gonna be seeing lots of preggos and cute newborns over the next couple of weeks.
Unfortunately, more than half of the hospital staff are currently on a National strike (that excludes doctors), so I’m yet to do some of the cool things I’ve heard about like taking deliveries or repairing episiotomies.
Tbh…can’t wait for the strike to be over (the holiday is enough). Learning is still important to me, abeg.
Here are some of the highlights of my Housejob experience:
1. Being called a Doctor
It does feel good to be officially addressed as a doctor. I know I feel entitled but who wouldn’t?
After the stress of medical school and MDCN licensing exam, I know I paid my dues so I deserve
some accolades sorry, the title😉
So it’s kinda annoying when that random patient or patient’s relative refers to me as a nurse. Maka gini?
I know it’s not a crime to be called a nurse but I think it’s an identity theft, to answer to a title that is false 😉
On days when I have the strength, I sharply correct such erring individuals, while on other days I just roll my eyes and let it slide.
2. Call food struggle
You know how many Nigerians love awoof (free things)? Let’s just say that the doctors are no exception.
Although our call food is not exactly free, since a monthly deduction is made from our salaries, still it feels good to have ready-to-eat meals at work.
And don’t let it surprise you that we sometimes go for extra helpings and even lobby for call food on days when we are not on call…because doctors love food like that.
A couple of times, the taste of the food can be so disappointing (more like crappy), still we try to make the most use of it.
I’d rather go for my own home cooked meal than call food any day, but on days when I don’t have a choice, I’m thankful for call food.
3. Patients who L.A.M.A
To L.A.M.A is to Leave Against Medical Advice
This has be to one of my favorite scenarios as a house officer.
I know it sounds selfish but it simply means there’s one less patient to worry about.
Medical ethics emphasizes a patient’s power of autonomy, in other words, no doctor can force a patient to make any decision concerning his/her health.
As doctors we are trained to assess the benefit to risk ratio of our treatment plan, and only go ahead if the benefit outweighs the risk.
In a situation where patients (or their relatives), refuse a particular treatment due to financial incapacity, religious/cultural beliefs or preference for alternative care, they are allowed to leave against medical advice.
In one of my Consultant’s words, “The hospital is not a prison yard and we can’t force you to get treated.”
Occasionally, some patients who L.A.M.A eventually return in worse condition. It’s very tempting to send them away, but as doctors we have no choice but to treat them anyway.
4. ER Memoirs
The Emergency room is one of the toughest places for a doctor to be in, especially during call hours. Call hours usually last from 4 p.m. till 8 a.m. the next day.
The experience ranges from days of having a sleep-over (like no patient to disturb you all night) to days of little or no sleep.
One of the worst scenarios is to be told to prepare an unstable patient for an emergency surgery around 2 a.m., another scenario is having to monitor glucose levels, for a diabetic patient in Hyperglycemic Hyperosmolar State (HHS) every hour.
In such scenarios you can’t help but philosophize:
“Tough times never last, but tough people do.” Robert Schuller.
Count yourself lucky if you are able to catch a wink before morning, because you’re mandated to be on your feet again, running errands till closing hours.
Still we don’t COMPLAIN, we give thanks.
5. Patients’ stories
If we look past the sick faces, investigation results, the diagnosis, the prognosis, and all other medical jargon, we realize that there is more to our patients than meets the eye.
That patient who just had a cholecystectomy is someone’s husband, father, brother, uncle, boss or mentor.
The lady who was just diagnosed with diabetes is someone’s daughter, neighbor, student or friend.
I’ve heard all sort of stories that break my heart and many times I wonder why God allows some people to pass through so much pain.
I once had a patient who was involved in a nearly fatal road traffic accident, in which she broke a leg, a few weeks to her wedding. Thankfully she survived the ordeal, but her life was never the same again.
Another patient, a father of three, struggling to make ends meet, was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease and had to be placed on regular hemodialysis. How the family could even afford the treatment remains a mystery to me.
Life seems to momentarily stand still when sickness comes knocking, but the truth is there’s so much going on behind the scenes.
A diagnosis is enough to change the course of a person’s life and only faith in God that can keep such a person going.
Miracles do happen. And I’ve seen a number of them.
I believe as doctors, we will show more empathy if we routinely put ourselves in our patients’ shoes.
So help us God.
– call food: the food served when a doctor is on call duty.