Thursday, 19 April 2012

Ever read 'The House of God?'

It just struck me as rather coincidental. Just like Roy Basch, I end up doing psych after a year of med. Allright, this is 2012 and not 1978 and real life hospitals have fewer raunchy episodes in on-call rooms... but still. A lot of things still are part of hospital life.

I saw more GOMERS (Get Out Of My Emergency Room) than I would have liked to see. The rule 'in case of cardiac arrest, check own pulse first' definitely does apply. Young doctors still get put on a ward, good luck and see you later. Fresh-out-of-med-school has to take care of an entire hospital at night. Overworked, fatigued... and what social life? Fair enough, my year didn't go as planned. But that is not the point.

You should still read the book, and nowadays we can treat more. This makes things more complicated. People are older. Things that killed them in 1978 are no longer such a threat. Patients no longer see the doctor as something close to God, and we don't see ourselves like that anymore. Well, usually. And, perhaps, most importantly: society has changed and so have we. Over here, most fresh graduates are women. Speaking only for myself: this means that I don't have a loving wife at home who doesn't mind taking care of my household and children and who gets a kick out of her status as The Doctors Wife.

In this country there is actually a discussion about women in medicine, and that having so many female doctors is bringing down the status of the profession, and that they should get more boys into med school... Ok. More boys into med school: fine. If they're as good as the girls: the selection system is fairly sex-neutral, meaning that girls simply have better grades making them more likely to get into medical school. The Dutch also have this weird idea that re-introducing something like physics would make it more of a beta-course, making it appeal more to boys (and less to Dutch girls who somehow think they can't do physics). I honestly don't understand this. Last time I checked I had both a vagina and the best physics grade in my secondary school class. It must be a Dutch thing. But wait. Let's go back to the beginning. Why EXACTLY does a 'female' profession have less prestige than a 'male' profession? This is 2012. Are you seriously telling me a woman is less important than a man?

But, that was not the point of this post.

The point is, I am fairly done with hospital work.

Here is why:
- my new job offers me more money for a lot less work. I will be working a sane amount of hours a week, allowing me to actually have a life of my own. Given events over the last year: I will be doing my job within my abilities. Working 60h weeks is not included in my abilitie, more or less. That only makes me a normal person. And I do enjoy home cooking over meals from a machine.
- In a hospital, I am white coat nr 20 or something. I've watched several newer doctors start, some getting disheartened, some coming to the same conclusion as I did, some not minding the lack of identity forced upon you. Perhaps they see themselves as 'the Doctor'. Perhaps they love this job so much that it doesn't matter to them. It doesn't really matter. I function a lot better if I can be me. That is all I need to know.
- Bed after bed after bed, room after room after room, drip after drip after drip, and white as the new black. I need a change of scenery. Literally.
- You can't spend a day in here without somehow getting intertwined in hospital politics. This is really annoying. Not that this will be any different elsewhere.
- Nurses vs patients vs family vs medical specialists vs each other vs [insert random person]. And guess who is right in the middle.

Perhaps I should go on to reading this:

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

I am bored. And hired.

And more or less done with hospitals.

After an eventful year as a hospital doc I am going to make the switch to psych, and a lot of things that have little to do with hospitals.
I am not a native hospital doctor.

And I have a fun job to look forward to. Well, fun, I mean, calling anything that has anything to do with sick people 'fun' seems a bit odd, but, well, I hope you know what I mean.

Which reminds me of medical students.
'How are your clinicals going'?
'I am having so much fun!! There was this [insert random story of very sick person]

Anyway, so, yesterday I hopped by my boss just to say 'thanks for the cookies and cheerio!' more or less. Partly I think to prove all prejudices against me wrong: I am fine, I am here, I am smiling and I am not crying over dead patients. That, I think, is the hardest part of recovery: being seen as weak by others.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Oh. Yes!

Oddly, strangely, weirdly: my first year of working as a full-fledged doctor is drawing to a close. I'm still baffled by the fact that it's been more than a year since graduation.

I haven't written about it on here, but I've been seriously panicking about new jobs. Given events in the past year I've decided I want a job with a normal work week.

That excludes about 99% of your MD jobs.

But, I landed myself a (no, wait, TWO) psych jobs.
I got to choose!

And I am completely thrilled!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Spring has sprung!

That's all, really. I'm so excited! Spent about half an hour trying to convince my sister that the sun isn't strong enough to make any difference to my skin tone yet; spent most of the afternoon outside trying to read the NTvG (Dutch medical journal) whilst listening to my sister's interesting choice of radio channels... just for the sake of it.
It was about 15 degrees outside; but my parents' back garden is protected from the wind and with the sun baking the brick it gets pretty warm. I haven't tanned a bit though. Despite being a blonde, I very much have a strong skin type 2... and I very rarely get sunburnt.

(Which leads me to the puzzle of SPF-containing skin care products: nowadays they contain SPF 15. In the past I've used an innocent facial cream with SPF 4 throughout the Dutch summer; and my face was really pale compared to the rest of my body. How am I supposed to get my natural vitamin D through SPF 15? SPF 15 is what I'd use in South-African summers! I fully believe in the healthy powers of safe sun exposure; but no sun exposure is damaging too!)

Anyway. I'm just really happy about spring!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012


Working on Emergencies sometimes resembles the fun way to do interval training: fartlek. In a single day you can vary between having to work so fast that you can barely keep up to things going slow enough to write a blog post abut it. Right now I am sipping on Cup A Soup while waiting for lab results: patient already seen. As a medic I don't feel compelled to see the 'Hip' in the waiting room; it sounds like something orthopaedics will enjoy.

Yet, sometimes I find myself juggling 4-5 patients at the same time. Whilst dealing with the family of and paperwork and phone calls involved with a fairly young patient dying in here.

You never know what the day will bring. You never know when you will see that red Volkswagen that means it is time to run like hell, or when there will be a pine tree that means time to walk. You never know when there will be joy or tears...

I love it.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Thank you.

Things have been busy lately. I'm back at work, although not full time, and I'm working on emergencies.

One of the things that bothered me on the wards, is that you work really hard, and you rarely get a 'thanks'; meanwhile, the nurses get chocolates and cards. The patient sees you once a day during rounds (IF they're not too ill, that is) and they think you sit around looking pretty in your oversized white coat the rest of the afternoon or something like that. I don't know. It's not even that I want attention or something; it's just that I felt under-appreciated. The nurses and the consultants were more appreciated than I was; yet, I was the one making the long hours.

On Emergencies it's different. It's almost as if my patients have read this blog or something; because almost every single one thanked me. Actually, I doubt any of them read this; some were too blind, some were too old... and some were too unable to read English.

I know it's my job, I know I get paid to do it.

But still.

It feels good to be thanked.