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Weekly Round-up #13

Let’s talk about how my week has gone so far.

The last five days feel like a blur and yet, hours could often stretch for what feels like days. I am in my Emergency-Anesthesia Rotation right now and believe me, it is absolutely exhausting. I never knew how tired I could feel until this week.

It’s partly because I have not been standing for hours on end in the last month, so my body isn’t used to it yet. We have two shifts in the ER, morning or evening. Mornings are from 8AM to 5PM, and evening shifts are from 2PM to 10PM. I have done three morning shifts and one evening so far. We have Monday lectures, Wednesday tutorials and the whole Thursdays are dedicated to Patient Safety Module, which is from 8AM to 6.30+PM.

Anesthesia starts at 7.30AM (sharp) and last till the surgeries of the day are over, typically 3-5PM. Anesthesia is worse in a way, because you aren’t allowed to leave the Operating Theatre at all. And you’re assigned to one med student to one anesthetist. And it’s kinda dull in between putting the patient on general anesthesia and waking them up, because you don’t really have to do anything unless something horrible happens.

I’ll be doing that in a week’s time and I’m not sure if I should be excited or pessimistic. It’s a learning process regardless, so I best make use of it.

What’s the most interesting thing I’ve seen in the ED? The patients who came in intoxicated can be both amusing and alarming. There was an aggressive patient who was restrained to his bed, and there was this other guy who kept telling the doctors to stop suturing his wound. It’s terrible that I found the latter hilarious, but in the situation, it was kinda funny because he kept telling the doctor that ‘nope, nope, it’s fine, doctor, just leave it. i’m okay’, all the time bleeding profusely.

My group and I would be a little blood thirsty and wait for a trauma patient to show up because we’re weirdly morbid that way. It’s not as though the bleeding ones are worse than patients who have a heart attack, but it’s somehow more thrilling.

During my Wednesday evening shift, a group mate of mine kept talking about chocolate cake and milkshakes (we skipped our dinner break so we didn’t have to stay till 10, because we have to wake up earlier the next day, so we were standing around for almost 7 hours), but when this old man was pushed into the Red Zone (aka the ‘bad zone’) without a pulse, it basically wiped all thoughts of cake out of our minds. It was quite an ‘adrenaline rush’ moment watching the doctors perform CPR for a good 15 minutes. They managed to get a pulse back, but it’s hard to say if he would make a total or even partial recovery. We assisted where we could, but I regret not jumping in and helping out in the CPR when they swapped for compressions. That will not happen again.

We did our first Patient Safety Module yesterday, which is lectures in the morning, then hands-on in the evening. The afternoons are the more ‘interesting’ parts because they divide you into groups, give you a situation and you’re suppose to handle it like it’s ‘real life’. A highly specialised mannequin (meaning it can blink, has pupil responses, can ‘talk’) is the patient, and groups of 4 (or in my case, 3) have to deal with whatever it throws at you.

That was both terrifying and fun. The tutors would be behind a one way mirror (they can see us, but we can’t see them), and giving us information as needed or responding as the patient. I was made ‘team leader’ yesterday in my group of 3, which meant I had to step back and coordinate my two team members. “You secure the airway, check for pupil responses. You, place the leads and set up the drip. Run normal saline for maintenance.” That sort of thing.

It was funny because none of us really knew what we were doing, but we were trying our best. And cracking up along the way, because it’s ridiculous but scary at the same time. At some point, you are suppose to call for help, and since we were one man down compared to other groups, I had to make the calls, when other groups still had their ‘team leader’ to monitor the situation. I’m pretty sure all our groups killed our patients yesterday. Or at least brought some harm.

It’s day 1 of putting us in that situation, and it wasn’t real, so you can’t exactly blame us for the freak out, okay? haha

ED is fun if you get your hands dirty, and I do admit that I didn’t do as much as I could have. I’m home for the next five days because it’s Lunar New Year/Chinese New Year here in Malaysia. I am sure that it’s going to be a rare occasion that I get to travel home this year because I ‘work’ from Sundays to Thursdays due to the Johor system, and that clashes with the weekends back home, so it’s harder to coordinate with my family. I still have to replace my Sunday shift (the 7th of Feb) on the upcoming Friday (12th of Feb). Oh well!

Anyway, to anyone reading this who celebrates Chinese New Year, Gong Xi Fa Cai! And to rest of you, have a great weekend xx

 

 

Weekly Round-up #12

I keep forgetting how many things I need to bring up and down every time I move. It is also a little ridiculous to think about how many things I’ll be dragging with me to Australia in June. I need to learn to pack lightly. Or something.

It’s the start of the ‘school year’ for me, and it’s my final year. No big exam to look forward to, a few classes and assignments. I am excited, yes, but I still feel this dread in the pit of my stomach. There is so much more expected of us, more than ever, and I don’t think I’m the only one who’s terrified of not being good enough. So much pressure and we all know how I deal with that.

Why am I in the medical school again?

I am going to focus on my main goal of the year and just keep chugging along. Hopefully, I can make it out without too many meltdowns and keep track of myself along the way. 2015 was a little high on the drama level and anxiety, and while I doubt this year will see a reduction in either, fingers crossed that I can handle everything better.

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Grown Up?

When do we feel grown up? Rarely. Never? Once in a blue moon when we choose a cost-effective choice over something frivolous?

Here is the list of things I do that make me feel like an ‘almost adult’:

    • Full driver’s license
      With the drama that it took, this is a huge deal to me. Unlike most people, I had to get my driver’s license twice because I forgot to get it changed the first time. Never do that, kids. Pass once, remember the renewal date, and NEVER HAVE TO SIT FOR IT AGAIN. I take so much pride in my driver’s license.
    • Using an electric toothbrush
      I cannot explain the brilliance of using an electric toothbrush. I have permanent retainers and using a normal toothbrush has never made me feel like my teeth were really clean. But I got an electric one a few weeks ago and I am IN LOVE with it. My teeth have never felt better.
    • Having recipes that I actually memorised
      It’s one thing to refer to a book, and it’s another to have it so ingrained in your mind that you can just make it. It’s a nice feeling, being able to feed yourself, if you choose to.
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    • A quality bag
      You know I got this bag two years ago but I am so glad and happy with it. It’s a solid bag that’s pretty timeless and I can definitely use it for decades to come. It’s genuine leather which means it’ll probably age well with proper care. And since I paid for it out of my own savings, I definitely will.

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  • A Planner
    The fact that I own a planner just makes me feel more adult. Having to write things down and a checklist just makes it seem like I know what shit is going down, you know? It’s probably just in my head, like everything else, but yeah.2.png

    • Listening to Podcasts
      I have mentioned this before, but I have become one of those podcast-listening people. Right now I’m following The Fempire, Modern Love, and The Lively Show regularly. I’m still searching for more to add to list, but these three are my subscribed ones for now.

Okay, though most of these don’t constitute major things like owning your own apartment, or a car your parents didn’t pay for, but it’s the little things, right?

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Weekly Round-Up #11

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Yeah, I think I’m bringing this back.

It is the last week of the month, my lovelies. It is insane how fast this month has passed! I leave for Johor on Saturday morning which means I have 5 sleeps left.

This week has been a little wonky for me. I sat for my IELTS on Friday and Saturday and while I don’t feel like it went perfectly, the most interesting thing I gained was three new acquaintances that I met on the test days. Funny how waiting in boredom gains me good company.

My brother ended up in hospital on Saturday after spending the hours between 3 AM till when he went into hospital at 12 ish vomiting due to pain. He complained about some abdominal discomfort on Friday evening that we assumed could just be a muscle injury, but when the colicky pain started in the morning, it was highly likely to be kidney stones.

So my Sat consisted of a lack of sleep, the morning (7am to 12.30pm) at the IELTS test center, then the rest of the day in and out of the hospital. Aaron had his operation on Sat night and while it’s a standard procedure, the worry about general anesthesia was very real.

Luckily he made it out well aside from burning pain when he urinates and the constant need to poop due to the J stent in his ureter (what that is, is a tube like thing in the ureter to prevent it from collapsing because that’s part of the side effects of the operation). He’s going for another operation in a few weeks to get that removed but that one is pretty minor.

I am excited to start my emergency rotation on Sunday but at the same time, it’s going to be quite unnerving being in my final year. I really need to brush up this year because lives are in my hands in the next. Okay, that’s a tad dramatic but you know what I mean. 😂😂

 

Do you validate?

I love that I have family and friends who remind me that I am capable and that I have made them proud, though not every day because that is crazy.

But how many people do we personally validate?

How many people do we tell ‘good job! You clearly worked hard at it!’?

How many times to we thank people or show appreciation for their efforts?

There’s this short movie, about 15 minutes or so, with TJ Thyne from ‘Bones’ that talks about validation. And I thought it was a good one. It was nice to scroll down to the comment section and find that one of the top comments was from a teacher who wrote this:

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So, if you’re free or you’re in between tasks, I highly recommend it. It’s not a ‘hard hitting’ documentary but it’s something that may trigger a thought or an idea in your head. It did for me, anyway.

 

2016 Inspiration

I’ve become the person who listens to podcasts in the car when I go from place to place. It’s pretty stereotypical, and I know a lot of people do that. It has been a while since I’ve truly gotten into podcast-listening (because SERIAL was more of a ‘binge listening’ thing) and it’s been nice, a good change from my random Spotify shuffled lists.

Anyway, one of the podcasts I’ve been listening to is The Lively Show with Jess Lively, and one of the most recent ones was with Alex Ikonn, co-creator of The Five Minute Journal, and all-around positivity speaker. So, I did look him up and I happened on one of his videos from 2012 that I thought I would share.

This is a neat way to review your 2015 while  we’re still in the beginning of the year, especially for those of you who have not done that. Or those of you, who like me, are feeling a little Debbie Downer or pretty anxious about the year ahead.

I hope it helps!

 

 

Fear Of Missing Out

Female friendships have been so spoken about in the past few years that this post feels kinda contrived. And I’m the one writing it. There isn’t much I can say that has not been said already.

Except that I am suffering from FOMO, big time.

With Taylor Swift’s giant squad of girlfriends (I am pretty sure people created the whole ‘#squadgoals’ around her, correct me if I’m wrong), there is this desperate need to find a bunch of girls you want to hang out with a lot.

I love the concept. I used to have a good group of girlfriends when I was in high school and for a few years after we graduated, we did meet up and talk. It was this nice bubble of being in A-levels (which I loved! I had my favourite bunch of classmates ever) and still having good friendships from Form 5, that (back then) stood the ‘test of time’.

I used to have a good group of girlfriends when I was in high school and for two years after we graduated, we did meet up and talk. It was this nice bubble of being in A-levels (which I loved! I had my favourite bunch of classmates ever) and still having good friendships from Form 5, that appeared to stand the test of time.

Note: these are the girls I shared a class with for a few years, girls that I spoke to on a daily basis. Not the circle of friends “cult” I was part of because that is a story for never.  

Fast forward to 5 years after high school and I think the last time I got together with a group of friends like that, was during my second term in A-levels. It’s so sad that this is where I am in life.

I am pretty sure the problem is me. I know people in medical school who have ‘squads’ and I am honestly pretty envious of that. I wish I could easily befriend people the same way. I don’t do the whole ‘get together’ at the end of the semester, ‘go away for a holiday in a big group’ thing.

Sure, while I envy them, I would not actually fit into their groups because of how different we are as people, and that’s okay. Because I don’t drink, or go to clubs, or keep up with the latest fashion (I know things, but I cannot tell you which exact collection something is from), it puts me at a disadvantage [disclaimer: there is nothing wrong with any of that!) But I cannot help but feel that jealousy that just bubbles up inside me each time they post a picture or talk about their fun times other.

“FOMO”, I know.

But here’s some positivity.

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The wonders of the Internet has help provide me with the chance to meet really amazing people from the opposite side of the globe that I can breathe around. I never thought I would have 3 hour video calls with people I have never met in person. Thank you to the inventors of the Internet for this gift of meeting people. I just wish these people were in the same vicinity, and time zones were not a real issue.

I am a relatively self-sufficient person but as John Donne said, ‘no man is an island’, we are part of a whole continent. I do feel that need for people that I can sit with and gab about life, family, relationships (or lack there of, amirite?), stress, work, whatever.

And I don’t even need a huge posse.

Although 2015 was ‘the year of the #squad’, I don’t need that. I just feel this need to have a small group of people that I can talk to, people I get really excited to see/chat with. I have lost that over the years and it’s very sad.

I don’t know if any of this makes sense. I think this is my way of acknowledging that I don’t have that many friends. Crap.

okay, rant over.

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