Sorry about the absence - guess I never really left, I was still sheepishly reading all your posts.. but had nothing much to say myself. All is well, I promise. Returned from Fiji 10 days ago, where I spent 3 weeks at the CWM Hospital on a purely optional "elective" rotation. Words cannot adequately portray my gratitude to the patients and doctors who so humbly accommodated me during my time there. It is always with mixed feelings that I undertake placements in communities where I take away much much more than what I give in return. I am yet to reconcile with this morally-questionable predicament and am resting slightly with the hope that one day I can return as a qualified hot-shot and offer my services voluntarily (or at a substantially lower wage than I would be earning here anyway).
That aside, a reflection or two regarding my experiences. In light of my sway towards anaesthetics as a speciality, I decided to hang out with the dopers for a fair portion of my time. Having more faith in my abilities than I do myself, my supervisors allowed me to do spinal and regional blocks on pretty much anyone who walked through the OT doors. I also got lots of pratice in cannulating, intubating and inserting LMAs. There was a lot of in-between teaching and general chit-chat as well, which I loved because I got a chance to ask about anaesthetics as a specialty and exchange details about our differing health-care systems. The experience was great for all the obvious reasons, but particularly so in helping me realise that I don't think I'm very well suited to a career in anaesthetics. The challenges are still challenging, don't get me wrong - I've haven't mastered the Art by any means, I guess some part of me is just looking for something else. That's the real value of these experiences - among other things - crossing potential specialties off the list, sort of. I have an official anaesthetics terms in 4th year (if I make it that far!!) which will span for 8 weeks, so hopefully that will shed more light either way... but for better or worse, I'm quite content to be going into my clinical years a little less set on the path I want to pursue. The rest of my time in Fiji was spent scrubbing in on surgeries (mainly gen surg, plastics and obs/gynae). Obs/gynae is starting to grow on me - interesting mixture of medicine and surgery, but still, I'm not setting it in stone like I did anaesthetics! Anyway, Fiji has given me a lot to think about and despite my ethical dilemma, I'm not ruling out another placement there next year.
Back on the home-front, I have two exams awaiting me in about 4 weeks' time (haven't been given the precise dates yet). I'm doing a bit of study here and there, but just waiting for the new year to really get into it. I feel like I'm in limbo land, it's pretty scary because with the exam date being so close to the start of semester date, I don't know if I'll even be offered a supplementary exam if, Heaven forbid, I should fail. Of course I'm having slight regrets now about not just getting them out of the way at the time.. but, sunny-side up, my brain might be slightly less rusty than everyone elses' going into third year. Maybe.. hopefully :-S
M.C. everyone - hope you have a beautiful day with your family+friends tomorrow!
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