My placement with Dr B came to an end today, sad times. My last day turned out to be the most stressful as I was over an hour late due to severe delays and signal failures. Typical.
Anyway my last ward round sure was interesting. A patient who definitely stood out for me was an alcoholic with an eating disorder, who I’ll call E. She’s had problems with food since she was a teenager and she started being picky about eating as a way of acting out. Years later, she got into an abusive relationship and her boyfriend called her fat constantly, which made her determined to lose weight. So from 8 stone she dropped to just under 6, and was admitted into the ward after she attemped suicide.
E was interesting because she knew she was underweight and so would binge eat, but then she’d feel guilty for eating so much and then make herself sick or go long periods of time without eating. So in a way she was both anorexic and bulimic.
I felt sorry for E because I could really empathise with her. When I was 14 someone close to me at the time told me I was “too skinny,” and I believed it, so I began overeating and considered taking protein shakes as a means of putting on weight. I eventually realised how silly I was being and snapped out of it, but meeting E made me realise that unfortunately, some people don’t.
As a result of this I believed everything E said to Dr B about wanting to get better and how she’d cooperate and start eating etc. It was when her mum joined us and told us not to believe E, as she had ‘the gift of the gab’ and controlled their family by dictating their meal and bath times, that I really discovered how manipulative E was, and I’d been well and truly sucked in, as E didn’t really think there was anything wrong with her. She was only saying what we wanted to hear.
Lesson learnt? Empathy is good as a doctor, but too much of it begins to cloud your judgment.
And that brought my time with Dr B to an end, as he let me go early because he had to go interview a potential consultant. I totally had to get a photo with him though, such a lovely man!
So with time to spare, I decided to have lunch in Green Park and go to Buckingham Palace to get a picture of the royal baby announcement. It was gone, unfortunately, but I took pictures anyway and pretended to be French. Fun times.