Friday, September 27, 2013

Hotdogs in Anesth

The Year Level 5: ICC Year blog posts - stories and anecdotes, patient encounters and hospital drama, and the many colors of UP med school from the perspective of a third year. Here's the eighth entry, under our one-week rotation in the  Department of Anesthesiology.

I'm the liaison officer, the point person, for our twelve-man sub-block for the week - four days, if we're going to be precise, because there was another one of those crazy dysmenorrheic rains that got the Chancellor drafting an early-morning suspension last Monday. It all ends today, my term, and inside I'm a hedgehog rolling over and over and over with pure joy.

Courtside spots at a C-section!

We watched a Caesarian section this morning, and that's about the highlight of the entire week. Courtside seats - er, spots! At one point, the tension in the room got insanely high (or maybe it just felt like that to us newbies) as the doctors struggled to get the baby out of the uterus, the unmoving head and shoulders stuck in some dingy, sticky, badass corner. Pull as you would a pillow seemed to be the motto.

I've been meaning to blog about our recent adventures in Butuan a week ago; I actually have the pictures arranged already - just the text missing. But we should be talking about Anesth here, and now I realize there's not much to talk about besides the unspoken fact that if we don't show up for the morning's rotations at the out-patient department, they probably won't even notice our absence. What did we do? Our lecturer treated us to hotdog sandwiches yesterday.

With Dr. Ed Simon, without the hotdogs.

I saw the Cinemalaya winner "Sana Dati" on opening night. It's the acting that should convince skeptics to buy a ticket - TJ Trinidad's defeated portrait of tragedy, most especially. But the story - that overlong, overwrought, too-complicated story - well that's another discussion in itself. "Prisoners," meanwhile, is seemingly being praised every which way you go in the US. What drugs are those moviegoers on? If you must go, then go for Jake Gyllenhaal - and that's all I shall say.

But really, we should be talking about Anesth here.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Houses and Sex

The Year Level 5: ICC Year blog posts - stories and anecdotes, patient encounters and hospital drama, and the many colors of UP med school from the perspective of a third year. Here's the seventh entry, under our two-week Management in Health Care course.

In Management - possibly, but I'm not very sure [sarcasm], the most benign period of third year - we learn how to make houses out of index cards. The houses have to have windows and doors and second floors and chimneys that are cylindrical. They must also be able to withstand a five-inch drop; in other words, fall and still remain upright, thus proving that they can't be upturned by earthquakes or a Godzilla mole rat.

This is supposed to teach us the three kinds of leadership - autocratic, democratic, and uninvolved - and if that's a statement on unfinished Communist housing projects along some godforsaken road leading to the Gobi, then long live Mother China and may heaven be an ice cream parlor in snowy Vladivostok.

Our group was assigned under the tyrannical reign of T, and in his time, we produced four whole houses and some roofless ones (for kinky foreigners who wish to sleep naked under the September moon). Meanwhile, his friend P was the head of the democracy, and they made a replica of Ayala Alabang Village.

Recently, T and P, when they're not pretending to run make-believe governments, have developed a sort of special bond, like Ellen Page and Michael Cera in "Juno," but without the teenage pregnancy (because, well, T and P aren't teenagers). They have also asked me (and I have willingly agreed) to play the part of T and P's one and only son.

Meanwhile, we went to M. Roxas High School this afternoon for our second session with the kids. Guess what the topic was? It's times like this that make you wish we were a less uptight country or have a less hypocritical culture. One of the guys in my small-group discussion wanted to talk about homosexuality and sex change. Why, indeed, do we not have a separate session for this?

We're off to Butuan on Saturday for a five-day immersion with the Manobos of the Agusan Marsh. I wish.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

First Duty Ever

The Year Level 5: ICC Year blog posts - stories and anecdotes, patient encounters and hospital drama, and the many colors of UP med school from the perspective of a third year. Here's the sixth entry, under our two-week combined rotation with the Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry.

The bitchy neurology resident sure made for a splashy end to our two-week rotation in NeuroPsych. Dressed in all blue, with a glance that could throw an entire army into panic, she strode into the room, gathered us in one corner, and detailed the first order of business: our lack of a Powerpoint presentation during last Wednesday's small-group discussion. Which was interesting because we were never required to have a Powerpoint (or if we were, then our liaison officer never impressed such a requirement on us).

*     *     *     *     *

We had our first 24-hour duty last Thursday in Psychiatry. I was grouped with J and T, and our theme song was "Lucky" by Britney Spears. Question No. 1: What is the relationship between the life and times of Britney Spears and a cat nursing its kitten?

We spent the morning attending lectures.

Then, in the afternoon, we stayed in the library, making full use of the free WiFi and the air-conditioning. It was fun seeing all the year level 3 and 4 (first and second year) kids buried in books for exams the next day, while we just Facebook-ed and slept and drooled a little.

After the library, we went to L's unit in one of the condominiums surrounding UP Manila. Trust me, these condos are sprouting like unwanted 'shrooms; I expect we'll be literally overshadowed someday. T had band practice; J and I did nothing exceptionally productive. Then, we had dinner at Robinsons, because fast food is healthy for student-doctors on call. Question No. 2: Where did we eat, and what did we eat, and how ecstatic does T look?

At 7PM, it was time to return to the call room, where we spent the next couple of hours playing cards. Question No. 3: What were we playing?

Finally, at around 9:30, we had our first patient at the emergency room - a toxicology referral. Poor guy had a row with his live-in partner last week; wife left him and brought the daughters with her. Guy became really, really, really sad; earlier that day, attempted to overdose himself with six 500mg amoxicillin capsules (which failed, because six capsules do not an overdose make), then slashed his left wrist, but not before sending a suicide note to mamah, who brought him to us

To the ER (left) and back to the call room.

It was all resolved by 11:30. And - big surprise! - we were told we could go home and just show up at 7 the next day. So we did, and that's how benign and fake our duty was. I think the three of us combined plus Lennie our intern made for a pretty benign magnet. So we went to T's as planned, and then I walked along empty Padre Faura at 12:30AM to C's place, where I ate cherries and slept. Question No. 4: Why did I eat cherries at C's place?

At T's condo. They filmed part of "Sisterakas" in that building.

"They go, 'Isn't she lovely, this Hollywood girl?' And they say she's so lucky, she's a star. But she cry, cry cries in her lonely heart, thinking..."

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Mind Block

The Year Level 5: ICC Year blog posts - stories and anecdotes, patient encounters and hospital drama, and the many colors of UP med school from the perspective of a third year. Here's the fifth entry, under our two-week combined rotation with the Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry.

Where did the week go? And why do I feel like I didn't learn anything?

Newsflash to self: One week down for this NeuroPsych rotation. Brother told me it's a useless rotation - not even worth talking about. I know what he means. This is turning out to be some sort of quasi-vacation. For both the body and the brain. Talk about mornings-only everyday for the last week.

Which should explain my relatively long absence. As to what we've been up to: Eating. Watching movies. Sleeping - lots of it. A few encounters with crazy patients and crazy doctors.

Photo by Gellai Ursabia. Originally posted in Instagram.  

Saw "On the Job" today, "Mama" last night, "Now You See Me" the night before, "The History Boys" on Thursday night, and "Superbad" on Wednesday night. The last two were second viewings - "History Boys" because it's the kind of high school education I wish I had, "Superbad" because it's unabashedly nastily funny. "Mama" is stylish crap, but then again, the things I do for my love Jessica Chastain. "Now You See Me" is very entertaining, a festival for the eyes, but Vishnevetsky (Chicago Sun-Times) just about summed up my thoughts - look up his review. Go see "On the Job" now!    

And there's the summary of the first week of NeuroPsych, taddah!

Here's another photo of another leisurely lunch. That cut is Mr. Waiter's finger.

Finally, words of wisdom (verbatim) from a great psychiatry consultant:

On dealing with psychiatric patients: "You must learn to be comfortable in doing funny things. It does not spare the brightest."

"A non-sexist person equalizes men and women? Not always."

On methods of the patient interview: "... ANOTHER way of doing things, not a BETTER way - bakit ba kailangan may perfect o mas magaling?"

On interviewing psychiatric patients: "Please do not listen na parang may tama o mali sa pamumuhay ng tao. Try to find coherence to what's going on."

On crazy moments in his life: "I quit premed. My parents asked, 'Really? What do you want to do?' I want to swim everyday!"

"There is nothing special with psychiatric patients. It's more difficult to deal with our friends - or lovers."

This is from a high school classmate's sister's 18th birthday last Saturday (not yesterday) at the Makati Sports Club. That's the classmate (semi-drunk and daring), letting the bartenders do a making-fire-from-alcohol trick in her mouth.

And a final thought on this peaceful Sunday night: Another Palanca year gone, and life goes on.