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Surgery Block – Week 1

Monday

I was pretty excited for this block. As someone who has considered surgery forever, but still shaky on the idea, I wanted to use this block as an opportunity to see if it was right for me.

We started with a day of workshops. However, within 10 minutes the guy running the workshops has stated – This is going to be a full on day – Cue my brain immediately disengaging.

However, one thing did get me through… Wagga Mummas. We decided as a car to go and treat ourselves as a pat on the pack for getting through Medicine block, we were halfway to Christmas – nothing could stop us now.

Tuesday

Early start but we didn’t mind. Apparently the hand over at 8am is the best way to know what is going on for the day so we dragged ourselves in. The surgical team were lovely and invited us to go on the rounds with them but in the end Kaludio and I decided it was best to leave. There were upwards of 10 doctors on this round and 4 other medical students. We would try again another day.

However, we were scheduled to go down to our new ward which happened to be the latest addition to GEH. The Sir Tom Moore Ward !!

It was an elective operation ward mainly sorting hips and knees. We were gutted however as the doctor who had been recommended to me as being great for teaching said he couldn’t have us in theatre as he had been moved to the smallest theatre known to man and there wasn’t enough room.

It was fine though, got to do some bloods and cannulas and decided to go and see if we could get in surgery after lunch.

We managed to get into day clinic which was just urology that afternoon. I somehow managed to select XL scrubs meaning I spend the afternoon yanking the scrub top down my back to remain decent :

Budget Smurf Right Here

I wanted to enjoy it. I really did. I don’t know if it was because I was tired (I didn’t exactly make my “week off” a break) but the surgeon spoke to my male colleague more than me and by the time we were three hours in I was done.

I even tested to see if it was just because my CP was more in the line of sight but even when he was sat to the immediate right and myself to the front. It still happened.

I went home feeling like rubbish. I can’t help being born the sex I was, but I am enthusiastic and genuinely considering surgery as a career. I am more than a baby making machine and it is sad in todays NHS that these stereotypes still exist. oh well.

Wednesday

Outpatients department. Stress in the morning as there was not a single car parking space to be found, but eventually we got one the other side of the hospital.

We were a bit sceptical about today, we hadn’t heard good things about OPD however, we were really suprised. Klaudio and I got into a cardiac clinic. Cardiac is not my strong point but it was so useful to be able to go over basics again and the common conditions. The consultant was lovely, and I was finding I was vastly preferring this way of placement over hanging around on the wards looking sheepish. It was basically 1:1 teaching. Plus although STM ward was great, there was no doctor at the grade we needed to get sign offs. Why we have to be signed off my a ST3+ to do a blood I still don’t know.

Thursday

Wasn’t in until 2:30 today for suturing. I was SO LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS. It was even better than the workshop was run by two female doctors and despite being the only female medical student in the session, it was weirdly empowering.

I really enjoyed learning this skill properly. Holding the tweezers like a pencil will take some getting used to but I really enjoy suturing. It’s almost peaceful ! However, it was also ridiculously painful as for the SECOND time that week I had managed to burn my hand, this time being with steam from roasting veggies so resting the clamps on my fingers was excruciating.

Not perfect, but I am getting there !

Friday

Today was my breaking point. I was sensing something was going on with me all this week. I was snappy, moody and shattered. That isn’t like me.

We had gone to the early meeting again but this time the trust had brought in the new PPE of having a visor as well as a mask. This was a disaster for me. I struggle to hear any way thanks to the damage to my ears from the infections. This was made worse with masks and now there was an additional layer of plastic in front of everyone mouths. I could not hear a thing. I was becoming sensitive to all the noises around me and if I didn’t get out of hospital soon, I would not be fit enough to drive.

That weekend I was signed off by my GP for chronic stress. I needed to up my medication changes, and it was not safe for me to drive whilst I ws getting used to the new dosage. It was my own fault to be honest. I had signed myself up to too much during our week off, and now I was paying the price. However, I didn’t want to be off the full two weeks. I only missed ODP once and the two ward times which I was not too fussed about because I was starting to get annoyed with the whole turn up and hope for something to do approach to things.

It was good to stop though. I didn’t let myself touch my work and I spent the days cleaning the flat and watching rubbish TV. After two days I felt the old me coming back and I knew I was going to be ok to go in from the next week. Sometimes, you just have to stop before you break.

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