Geriatricageddon: Day Three

I intended to post earlier, on the first day of my geriatrics rotation at TWH (Wollongong Hospital) but honestly, it’s been that hot that I’ve been lucky to even sit in my room for more than ten minutes at a time without feeling like a lobster in boiling water. If that’s too hyperbolic for you, well, tough. It’s hot. 😛

I don’t know, as yet, that the title of this blog post is necessarily accurate, but I’ve had a relatively bad day – relatively. The week started off well, with Andre and I sitting down together after our orientation and agreeing on what we both wanted to do with the rotation, and both coming up with the same goals, which is nice. We then wandered down to B7 (The WAGU, Wollongong Acute Geriatrics Unit) to meet our team. The consultant, Dr. Pearson, is quite nice though he’s not around much. The other members of our team are Jude the Reg and Daniel the Intern, both of whom are very welcoming and pretty damn awesome. On our round outside the ward for outliers, Jude asked what we both want to do in the rotation, and has been involving and engaging us very well, and Daniel’s been really great too so that’s nice. That afternoon, well… the GSM, in its wisdom, has scheduled 4-5pm sessions this week as ‘wake up’ sessions, more to scare us about exams than anything else as by that point I’m less than awake. The 4pm on Monday was ‘Intro to O&G’, which may have been useful to the ten people in the room who haven’t had O&G yet. I snuck out after half an hour, as I had a doctor’s appointment – which was thirty minutes late anyway – at which I got a surgical referral to our Prof of surgery.

I suppose the worst point of the day was trying to sleep in thirty-odd degree heat and failing miserably, scoring up around 4 hours in total. So that was a nice way to start Day two… though that day got better, with me ducking over to the Prof’s rooms over lunch and telling his secretary that yes I was a student but I was there to book in an appointment, and then her slotting me in a non-free space next week, being the next clinic he has. That’s the fastest I’ve ever had a specialist appointment made. I’m happy about that. The rest of the day was fine, although the tutorial in the afternoon was useful in that it gave me a kick up the arse to start the Study Plan 2011 Extravaganza… which then stalled but is aimed to be completed this week. So yes. Another less than ideal night, but I managed some more sleep – around 5/5.5 hours, so that’s functional.

Today was less so. The past few days have been medication (excepting Senna) free, which was reversed at around midnight when I took paracetamol and bitched on facebook about pain. This morning was busy on the ward, with us learning how to do a PACE call as an intern by tagging along (not as scary as we thought), and Andre cannulated the patient while I did the relevant exam/Hx with our team. That was about when we started our round, and I started to feel less than positively happy with my pain management – two hours into a double panadol dose. Anyway, we managed to finish the round and grab a coffee, then lunch and came back to play Blooddsucker on a pair of patients – one each – that Daniel had given us. I was up first, and sadly I failed. Well, first try missed the vein, second try got the vein with the butterfly but then either a) the vein collapsed, b) I moved the butterfly to far (though I held it fairly still) or c) something else (probably me) went wrong and the blood ceased flowing at around two mls. Considering I needed two tubes and around 15mls, this was irritating. Admittedly, the patient (a dear old lady) had several bruises on each arm from bloodsuckers, and had very very mobile veins, so she wasn’t easy; additionally my butterfly skills aren’t great but still… not feeling well with pain + failing at a (relatively) simple task do not a happy Ben make. Andre’s patient also proved difficult mostly due to cannula-in-situ and a crap other arm, so we both left the ward irate at that point and chatted for a bit, before I skived off home instead of attending the afternoon lecture at 4.30 – this was around 3.30. Shocking, I know.

The afternoon has been taken up in doing some study planning and a little bit of reading, Stephen Colbert, and feeling generally unwell. I’m hating this sickness crap, and it’s not fair. I am, however, really really enjoying this rotation so far. All I need is to feel a bit better and then have a successful procedure or two (cannulation would be nice) to get my spirits up there, and I’ll feel better about it. At least tomorrow is teaching-and-free-lunch day… so I can sit down most of the day and let my abdomen feel less horrific. And tonight is cloudy and there may be storms, so sleep due to coolness may even occur.

It can get better. It will.