grateful for teachers; grateful for patients

Two Weeks With Orthopedics

Enjoyed the last two weeks rotating in Orthopedics.

Learned a lot, mostly about assessing fractures. And how to properly evaluate suspected fractures (mobilizing is a NO-NO!). Got dirty with the cement and helped out in the actual casting of patients. And practiced sleeping in bouts only to be awakened by tasks to do (then back to sleep afterwards.)

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Patient Log

When we started our third year (Integrated Clinical Clerkship) last year our professor from Family Medicine gave us an assignment. She told us to make a log of every patient we were to encounter that year, including the patients’ diagnoses and management plans.

Yesterday I was poring over my notes trying to collate my records of patient encounters. Being the OCD case that I am, I wanted my patient log to be complete and organized. The process took me back to all those patients I’ve encountered - all the histories I took, the cathartic interviews on OPD patients, the physical examinations performed in the cramped clinics of the PGH OPD. 

I finished compiling my patient log this morning, and doing so made me relive five of my most unforgettable patient enocunters of ICC year. And in so doing, it made me recall the valuable lessons (academic and otherwise) I’ve picked up from each of them. 

More on the individual cases on later posts.

Dr. Fe Del Mundo, Mother of Modern Philippine Pediatrics

Today is her first death anniversary. I find it notable that today on my first day rotating with Pediatrics I am reminded of how one woman's life of commitment and service to the Filipino children serves as the ultimate role model of a clinician worth emulating.

Happy Day

Random conversations with best friends over French fries and with an on-duty blockmate at the callroom made my day today.

That’s on top of the happiest feeling after waking up to your own bed because you came home the previous day to your house to be welcomed by a feast shared with the family you haven’t seen in a long time. 

And the happiness secondary to the fact that of all the days you’ve spent in your current rotation today was when you learned the most after seeing the most interesting of cases.

Plus you got to watch your first basketball game in like, ages; and that it was really exciting. 

Thank You for today. It was refreshing and most welcome.

Thoughts After Ward Duty

Personally, I prefer the ER. I like action, the adrenaline rush, the rapid history-taking and PEs, the walking to-and-fro to attend to referrals and to shadow the residents while they do their thing, to walk miles and miles to get lab results or conduct patients and whatnot (exercise while you work - it’s amazing!). And the best part is, I get to learn a lot given the variety of cases we go through in a day.

Ward duty isn’t exactly dull though. Still, I get to do procedures (I’m kinda getting the hang of it, just a handful of mistakes here and there) and monitor and check on admitted patients. The major difference though is that instead of the usual worried, harried looks on ER patients’ and their bantays' faces (it is in fact, the ER) you are dealing with happier, more relaxed patients at the wards in general. Here you get to spend more quality time talking to them while you ensure that all is well - that they’re comfortable and their needs are met - and usually they’re more grateful every time you check on them. And every time, this gratitude is most rewarding, especially after a long, tiring day.

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That’s my beloved mentor, an accomplished obstetrician and inspiring teacher / life-coach. I hope to uphold the nobleness of the medical profession someday, providing service not for fame or material gain but for genuine altruism and humanitarian purposes. She and many other PGH doctors are my idols at this front. (Of course material gain comes in later, but that’s not really the end-goal, shouldn’t it?)

Of Doctors And Nurses

It was my first time to be called nurse yesterday, by a post-partum mother I had just finished monitoring at the recovery room of the LR-DR. After taking her vitals and asking her the routine questions to ensure she was doing fine, she asked as a favor if I could text her husband waiting outside that both she and her new daughter were doing fine and that he needn’t worry. After I gladly obliged (she was my last patient for monitoring, so things were not toxic), she mustered a smile and said “salamat nurse, ha!”

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Just. Amazing.

It just hit me: medical school is just amazing.

Back during our first year we were all fumbling around: patient interviews literally taking hours to complete, curious students asking innumerable awkward questions, oftentimes at a loss for words and other times everyone wanted to question all at the same time.

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