For my junior elective, I’ve come to a remote hospital in the Highlands and Islands. I’d originally planned to do four weeks of general medicine, but, after a collective realisation by the medical students and the junior doctors that there were four students assigned to general medicine and none to anywhere else, we quietly decided to rotate ourselves around the hospital.
I’ve been temporarily adopted by the FY2 in obs and gynae.
Yesterday, I spent the whole morning in theatre. I was allowed to retract things (my arms still don’t quite feel like they belong to me), and later to hold clamps and cut sutures. I think that watching a Caesarean is pretty much the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in my whole life.
Or, as I put it to my mum via email: “I held stuff and felt things, and then he cut other things, and then there was a baby!”
Yes, I sometimes revert to being an eight-year-old.
This week, we’ve got a locum gynaecologist who seems to be a very enthusiastic teacher. So, although it would have been a really cool experience on its own merits, the FY2 and I were effectively getting a five hour gynae tutorial as well. He explained everything that he was doing and why it was important. He made sure that we knew what we were seeing, and, when we were inhaling coffee between operations, he drew out the reproductive anatomy and showed us how the pathologies we’d just seen were different from the normal. I was able to spend a few hours last night with the gynae chapter of the Oxford Handbook of Clinical Specialties, which is one of the two books that I bothered to pack — he’d made me want to go away and read about the anatomy of the female reproductive system. And I loathe reproductive medicine, so that’s an achievement by anybody’s standards.
I think the other important thing that I learned yesterday was that theatre is exhausting. In the afternoon, I went to the maternity ward to check on the C-section baby and was overwhelmed by the urge to sit down on the floor just because it was the closest thing.