Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I realised, as I watched the petite female registrar stick her finger up the rectum of a particularly flatulent patient - the 6th consecutive one this morning in clinic -, why colorectal surgery had never crossed my mind as a potential career path.

And never will.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

How to save a life

It is a memory that will stay in my mind forever.

A teenager, just a few years younger than me, sitting between his parents as my consultant calmly explained what had already been explained to them countless times, by different people.
"I'm sorry, there's nothing more we can offer."
It's like a death sentence, being told that there is nothing left that medicine can do. No more surgery. No more chemotherapy. Nothing.
"So am I meant to just sit here and wait until I die?"

He didn't cry then, but after the consultant had gone, he cried in his hospital bed.

I had been asked to take some blood from him - more blood tests, more investigations, more hospital appointments. His arms and hands were full of puncture wounds, his veins were thin and fragile from all the previous attempts.

How do you speak to someone you had just witnessed being told that he will die?

He looked at me and mumbled.
"You were in the room too, right? You heard what he said. Do you think I'm going to die?"
How do you tell someone that death is inevitable, as for everyone, but that they would have to face it sooner than others?
"Do you?"
And all I could muster to say was I don't know. Because I didn't. Because nobody knew. Maybe he won't make it to see next week. Maybe he'd live to be a hundred. We don't know.

I watched as he left the hospital, to go for his appointment with the oncologist. He was determined to seek second opinions, different opinions, as many opinions.

And the sad truth behind all the supposed life saving medicine they teach us at medical school is, in the end, we don't know anything. We can't do everything and save everyone.

Nobody can.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I have a question


I watched a movie yesterday which involved a member of a triad sticking a shovel into someone's forearm and effectively severing it.

My question is, how easy is it to amputate someone's limbs? With a shovel? Or even a knife?

In movies all they seem to do is swipe a shovel/long sword/knife/hell even a claymore through it and voila. Operation complete.

During my trauma attachment (the whole one day of it) someone came in who required his entire arm amputated thanks to IV drug use, but I never got to see the operation, let alone see the man, because he was too sick and arrested a couple of times.

And I never quite got round to asking the butcher on the psych ward how he self amputated his finger. Because, how do you ask someone, "Hey there, how did you go about trying to cut your pinky off?"

Personally from experience from orthopaedic surgery you require a lot more than just a plain sword and biceps of steel to cut through flesh and bone in a single swift swipe. A lot more hacking is required.

And it's helpful to have an electric saw or a guillotine maybe.


What is your take on on-screen amputation? Plausible? Complete lies? Don't really care?

I'd like to know.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Mentally Disordered Video Game Characters

Am I the only one that finds this hilarious?

12 Video Game Characters With Undiagnosed Mental Disorders

It all makes sense now.

And that's my psychiatry revision done for the day.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What I Found in My Lecture Notes Today

Because it is revision time, and revision time is the only time where you - well, technically I - ever carefully scrutinize the words on the sheet of paper handed to you during the lecture.
Random snippets I've found amusing:
Symptoms include tremors, blindness, deafness, paralysis, anaesthesias or virtually anything.

Cardiac tamponade: Patient will exhibit signs and symptoms of cardiac tamponade. Treat accordingly.

How to diagnose a jerk?
More to come if I'm still slogging through one year and 6 rotations worth of notes =.=

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Holy smokes, I am still alive!

Contrary to popular belief that I may have gone underground as a black market organ relieving surgeon, I am actually still here, doing - of all things - psychiatry.

When I'm not surrounded by depressed, "Oh no dear, I don't drink any alcohol, just a bit of sherry in my tea 6 times a day along with the occasional red wine, good for my health, they say" little old ladies, I chat to really crazy people with very bizarre ideas and grandiose delusions which is all well and good until they flash their teeth and tell you the only reason they are chatting to you now is that you actually look quite pretty.

I am enjoying it, really.

But it's not quite medicine, is it?

Everyone has an underlying personality disorder in this neck of the woods.


The only reason I'm blogging now is because exams are in 2 weeks and I needed some distraction from the classification of Hodgkin's Lymphoma or whatever it is that I need to know for finals.

It's not like anyone reads this crap anymore. Or do they?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Because I am amused by simple things


Coolest drug name ever.

So 5FU is just the shortened name, doesn't change the fact that it's still a cool name.

(And yes, I am weird like that, what, you didn't know?)