Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Grandma Who Herds Cows

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 third entry, under our two-week rotation with the family medicine section of the Department of Family and Community Medicine.

After last Thursday's dreary back-to-back departmental conferences, where our only perspicuous job as LU5 kids was to struggle to keep awake (thanks to the 7AM call time, which my botched-up body clock was in no sane way prepared for), we're finally in the OPD! (That stands for "out-patient department," which is hospital speak for "clinic.")

Yesterday's case was a septuagenarian grandma from Dipolog City who brought her daughter along as a Tagalog-to-Bisaya translator. P and I tried to go along with the Bisaya, even using some of the more familiar terms and phrases to encourage her to open up. At 70, she still herds the cows in their farm. Diagnosis? Community-acquired pneumonia, which our post-pharmacology mindsets welcomed with open arms... plus tuberculosis suspect.

Today's case was a middle-aged former piping supervisor in Saudi Arabia who, 7 years ago, was diagnosed through routine labs for OFW application with hepatitis B. The wife came along, and I swear there was a trace of tension in the air, especially since husband still smokes and drinks rather heavily against her wishes. Also, husband suffered (suffers?) from depression, and there, the tale took on a darker shade of grey.

We are given only one case per OPD session, where we do the history and physical exam, prepare our diagnosis and management, and then present our findings to the consultant-in-charge. The wait can be quite tedious and boring; yesterday, I told J to poke G just for the thrill of it, and he agreed!

But the highlight of yesterday was our public health lecture on urinary tract infections. Proof that this department has long succumbed to the frequently unjustifiable craziness afflicting the hospital: We did the lecture in the middle of a busy corridor in the OPD, with people coming and passing and going, and the PA system barking out names of patients every now and then.

Photos by Carmela Vistal.

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