Sunday, July 26, 2009

Surgery: the rotation that was

It's been a while since my last blog post. My last post was on exhaustion... and I've been too busy (or indeed too exhausted) to blog since. Add that to the fact that I'm in 3rd year medicine... and what conclusion to you arrive at? Obviously I must be on the surgery rotation!

Well, I just finished my surgery exam on Friday, and let me tell you, it was a pain in the bum. In more ways than one, since somehow there was way too many questions on anal conditions. Those surgeons are really anal. Haha. Bad joke, but I couldn't resist...

My experience in surgery was coloured by the fact that my previous two rotations were not so cool (the less said of those rotations the better), and the fact that I had the added stress of resitting an exam I didn't pass from the previous rotation (I would like to say it wasn't my fault, but they all say that, don't they?). In surgery, amazingly, I found consultants who were willing and indeed seemed to enjoy teaching, registrars who were insanely busy but not too busy to spend a few hours a week teaching some students, and residents who treat you as one of their own. Best of all, was the fact that they all had that same sarcastic sense of humour as me. During my first few weeks I felt like I struck gold! Not only were the consultants kind and patient, they actually laughed at my jokes instead of allowing an awkward silence to fall.

So below is a sample collection of the quotable quotes from our interactions. I hope they bring a smile to your face, although I do fear that some of the jokes may be a little... subtle.

Mum of a 12 year old: “He won’t listen to your advice, he still plays football despite his crook knee.”
Surgical registrar: “Well look, it’s up to you. I don’t mind if you play football, because then there is a high chance I’ll get to operate on you again, and I like operating on kids, it’s good practice. Shall I book you in for surgery now, or would you like to wait til after the game?”

Dr A: “So, Sida, as I am removing this thyroid, what am I trying to avoid taking out?”
Sida: “The… para… thyroid?”
Dr A: “That’s right, the parathyroid. What does the parathyroid gland do?”
Sida: “It… makes… para… thyroid… hormone?”
Dr A: “Yes… but what happens when we take out the parathyroid?”
Sida: “The patient wouldn’t have any parathyroid hormone?”

Dr A: "So, Sida, were you born in Australia?"
Sida: "No, I was born in China, then I lived in New Zealand for a while before moving to Gold Coast. All the shady places, in fact."
Dr A: "Haha... where did you live in New Zealand?"
Sida: "Northland"
Dr E: "I'm not aware of anything of note up there...?"
Sida: "That's fair enough, there probably isn't."

Nurse: “What size gloves do you wear? I'll get some for you.”
Sida: “Size 5 and a half, thanks very much.”
Dr B: “5 and a half! You can’t do orthopaedic surgery in size 5 and a half gloves! You need to learn to stuff your gloves and tell people you are a bigger size!”
Sida: “Is that what orthopaedic surgeons do?”

Sida: “Dr B, I’m rostered to join you in your surgery this afternoon.”
Dr B: “That’s fine. Just make sure you are nicely sterile when you come.”

Dr C: “I asked my resident after my surgery whether the surgery was the most fascinating intriguing satisfying thing she’d ever seen. She just flat out said no.”
Sida: “Do you think she didn’t pay enough credit to your awesomeness?”
Dr C: “What do YOU think, Sida?”
Sida: “Well, I think she was wrong. You should always sweet-talk your consultants, for one thing.”

Dr D: "Now that's what I call BBB - beaucratic bovine byproduct."

Dr D: "If you give him a plaster like that you will drive him to drink."

Dr D: "This sort of surgery is very difficult, very very difficult. This is something I would never attempt myself... I'd give it to my senior registrar." (As a background, the senior registrar is the highest level trainee under Dr D.)

Dr D on lawyers: "Have you heard the legal definition for the word 'reasonable'? A barrister explained to me while I was on the stand as a witness, and I told him it was illogical and circular reasoning. That bastard argued with me for half an hour about it, until the judge finally stepped in and told him: 'the Doctor is right, from a scientific perspective.' They are all nutters, the lot of them."

Dr E: "Doctor F, we have a medical student in our midst today. For the sake of the student, and for mine too, could you explain what you just said? "

Dr G: "Urology is interesting. It really is. Honestly. How do I convince you that urology is interesting?" Can't be done, I'm afraid.

Dr H: "Everyone is scared of us orthopedic surgeons. It's because orthopedics is hard, they don't know it, but we do, and they know we are cranky neurotic nutters. But you guys don't need to be scared, because it's all very simple..."

And the best quote of all:

"You know those elite athletes who win gold medals? They all say the biggest thing to conquer is yourself. The swimmer may be really tired at the last second, but he know he's got to push through, it's the last second that counts. Keep pushing, Sida, mummy believes in you." - my mum in response to her 22-year old daughter crying to her on the phone like a 5 year old.