Hospital Journal-2

July 2021.

Dear diary,

I had my first surgical experience and boy! What a feeling.

This summer break, I took on a volunteer job to help a research team at the Neurosurgery department. What I didn't foresee was the golden opportunity to also scrub in and do regular hospital rounds! Thanks to the Residents and the Chief, Sam and I had the incredible experience of witnessing our first clinical rotation and shadowing for a lobotomy and diskectomy. Phew.

Let's backtrack a little.

I've never been quite a fan of cutting people open. I always thought it was unnecessarily invasive. Consequently, I just assumed that post-medical school, I would run straight into oncology, public health or geriatrics. You know, anything to avoid cutting anyone open.

I'm a very curious person and because I'm curious, I do better at visual learning. As a child, I was this feisty, sassy little thing. Think of me as mini Analise Keating. I was all about justice, politics and social reforms. I still have a little of it me though. My dad who is an amazing doctor, by the way, takes one look at me and goes no, "You're going in for medicine". At the time, that decision made no sense to me. Why medicine? Instead, Pa enrolled me into a full science curriculum high school. He wasn't going to leave anything to chance. While I can neither bemoan nor imagine what would have become of me had I obstinately chosen Law, still , I am tremendously grateful to be in medical school. Of course, I crossed 7 rivers to be here, so why not?

In secondary school, while my mates were fascinated with cutting lizards and rats, I would often sit by the edge of the table writing stories or creating monologues of the last hours of the animals that lay, unfortunately, dead and seemingly unaware of the “anatomy rituals” students performed on their bodies.
It didn’t end there. In premed, while my colleagues were excited about cutting and dissecting cadavers, I usually would write poems and eulogies for the corpses on the table. It didn’t help that the corpses having been in chemicals for long had meshed into dry flesh and squished internal vessels, it was often difficult to tell nerves from blood vessels. That is if the smell of formaldehyde didn’t already turn my system in on itself. The lab attendant’s unpleasantness at the time made the experience even less fascinating with his nagging and impatience. Hence, it’s no surprise that a culmination of these not-so-pleasant experiences convinced me beyond doubt that I wasn’t about that life. You can’t blame me though. There was nothing to be desired. Accordingly, I concluded I’d do medical research. You know, be the patient-doctor. Sorta thing.

What do we say to the god of absolutes? Not today.

Today, I had my first Neurosurgery experience!
Sam and I had the opportunity to shadow the Chief neurosurgeon, the resident and other medical experts on a frontal lobe surgery. Believe me, that’s by far the coolest thing I have seen my entire life!
Meanwhile, the day before, Sam and I just performed rounds with the nurses: injections, blood pressure, wet drips, etc. Side peek: Male nurses are very cool!

So we scrub in for the surgery and the chief surgeon goes, " This is your first time in the OR. If you feel nauseous(as is common with most medics ) and need to use the restroom, do not hesitate to excuse yourself. Please, do not faint in my OR". About 45 mins into the procedure he looks over at us and goes, " Hmm. You girls are still alive. Cool". Lol
So yea, I think we did a good job. No fainting or feeling queasy at the sight of blood. If anything, it was mesmerising.
I've not seen anything like it. It felt like a live-action of Grey's anatomy. And boy, what steady precise hands the surgeon had!

Just two years into medical school with the third year by September, I'm grateful for the opportunity. In retrospect, I think Pa made the right call. Because if he hadn't steered my life in a different path, perhaps I'd miss out on this fabulousness the human body is.



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Christabel. O

Christabel. O

All the beauty our eyes can see. Medic. I write sometimes. I do that metro-musing thingy a lot.