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I Hate The Kidneys (And Other Epiphanies)

Okay, hate might be a bit of a strong word. But I’m definitely finding renal physiology challenging. VERY challenging. Some of this stems from how I didn’t do A Level Biology, so I feel a bit behind on some of the basic kidney physiology, and I’ve had to do some catching up.

It’s not been too bad though; KhanAcademy videos have been very helpful, and I’ll even admit that I started with GCSE Bitesize and A Level textbooks to get to grips with the very basics, so those have been quite useful too. 

Epiphany 2: When you start questioning whether or not you need more than 4 hours of sleep is when you know you really need to go to sleep.

The above is quite self explanatory to be honest. New lows for me this term.

Epiphany 3: I am very irritable on limited sleep.

This is linked to epiphany 2, and it’s not much of an epiphany because I already knew this, but my cranky levels have sky rocketed this semester. I think it’s because I’ve been sleeping even less than normal, and when I’m tired I find most things annoying. Seriously. From people breathing too loud, to the way they talk; the most irritating thing is when people ask me if I’m okay. The frustrating thing is that I know that I’m being unreasonable and ridiculous, which makes me annoyed with myself, and then the whole cycle starts again.

Epiphany 4: I don’t like being set up with people.

It makes me feel uncomfortable when people who don’t know me well talk about my love life (or lack of one), and there are few things that put me off someone more than when I feel like I’m being pressured. I’m very much a ‘let the chips fall as they may’ person. 

Epiphany 5: I have missed blogging.

I take breaks from here when life gets hectic, and I feel like there are too many people in my head for me to honestly convey my thoughts. I’m feeling better though, so here’s to more frequent updates in the future, she blogged optimistically. 

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Module 8 Placement (Gastro) & End of Term

In the four years that have passed since I started this blog, I think this is the longest I’ve gone without an update.

To say this semester has been busy would definitely be an understatement, but I’m home now (YAY), and now have more free time (YAY again), so I can go back to blogging; I’ve really missed it.

A lot has happened in the last month, so I’ll start with some highlights from gastro secondary care placement:

Getting to scrub in and help out in theatre was really fun! It was useful to practise scrubbing in properly for the first time since first year, and the consultant we were with was very patient, such a nice man! The procedure was a panproctocolectomy (removal of the whole colon), and it was quite the procedure- so. much. blood.

I was absolutely grilled on CT interpretation during one of our sessions, and I never got to thank one of my colleagues, who sneakily whispered answers to me, saving me from embarrassment in front of everyone. The person probably didn’t think much of what they did, but it was much appreciated, and meant a lot.

We got to clerk patients from A&E when I stayed out of hours, and this put us on the spot because we had to present our findings to the consultant, and come up with management plans. I felt more junior doctor than medical student that evening, and it made me so excited to graduate and start doing it properly!

In a liver disease clinic, I watched the consultant give a fantastic explanation of Hepatitis C to a patient, and it was truly the best information giving I have ever seen. SO GOOD. The clinic also made me realise that I’d been quite judgmental about IV drug users in the past, so meeting an actual drug user completely shattered my misconceptions and prejudice.

I’m definitely not a natural at suturing- I struggled initially, and it took me a while to get the hang of it, but I’m think I’m there now… well, sort of.

Suturing

We received the results of our OSCE today, and I passed, HALLELUJAH. I’m just so relieved, because the OSCE was the toughest one I’ve had to date; suturing and ERCP interpretation were particularly not great, and not going to lie, there were definitely some tears afterwards, so I’m just grateful to God that overall it was okay.

What else have I been up to? Well the annual charity fashion show was last month too, and I modelled for New Look and the Nigerian Society, and it was so much fun!

New Look 2017Nigerian Society 2017

I’m also finally done with being a student caller for the year, and we managed to raise over £180,000 for various programs across the university, so I was honoured to a part of it all.

Boy am I glad the term is over though! With work and placement and volunteering and revision and well, socialising, ofcourse, it’s been very draining, so looking forward to relaxing over the next week at home 😀

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That Time Embryology Made Me Cry

Yes, this actually happened.

It was last week, my PBL was on the embryology and functional anatomy of the rectum, and nothing was making sense. Hours passed and I’d not written much; I had numerous books out, embryology websites, and even Youtube videos up, but everything they said seemed like a different language. This was when I began to panic.

I was gripped with fear like I’ve never been before. And all my medical school insecurities came out in full force:

“If you can’t understand the embryology, do you really understand any other part of medicine?”

“Ofcourse you don’t get it- you had to do a foundation year so you’re not even a proper medic”

“It’s only luck that’s gotten you this far, and everyone will soon see how much of an imposter you are”

“You’re probably going to fail this year.”

All of this was going through my head, and it was awful. My room started to feel very small, looking at my blank Word document made me feel like I couldn’t breathe, and my chest felt like it was being squeezed.

So what did I do next? Hint: It’s mentioned in the title of this post. I cried.

You see, I debated blogging about this for a while, but I thought it was important to talk about this side of medical school. Obviously I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me, feeling like an imposter is a huge part of my med school experience. I find it hard to shake off the feeling that everyone is much smarter than me, and that I’m just good at tricking people into thinking that I’m smart too.

That was probably why not understanding my PBL caused me to react like that. It didn’t help that earlier that day, I’d had some scary talks about third year exams and how tough they are, so that just added to my worries. It wasn’t the first time I’d come across a topic I didn’t understand, but it was definitely the first time I’d felt like I couldn’t breathe because of it. And that was what made it scarier.

A call from the Keen One a.k.a Kenny was exactly what I needed. She gave me some tough love, and reminded me of 2 Timothy 1:7. She also reminded me that of course I’m going to struggle if I try and do it all alone, and that it was by God’s grace that I got on the course in the first place, so I should stop freaking out and take things one day at a time.

She then got me to close my laptop, go to bed, and go through the embryology with a fresh mind in the morning. My sister is my rock, and I would honestly be so lost without her.

So, to anyone else who struggles with med school insecurities and fear of failure like I do, this is a post to say that you are not alone.

(P.S- If anyone was wondering, I got my PBL work done, and it was submitted two whole days before the deadline. Tai (and God’s help) 1 – 0 Embryology).

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Halfway Through Medical School

I’m about two and half years away from officially being a doctor (by God’s grace!), and that is absolutely terrifying.

(Well technically I’m two thirds of my way through medical school because I did a foundation year, but halfway sounds better so let’s go with that).

Last Saturday was my medical school half way ball, and it was such a fun night! Everyone looked amazing, and it was just great to have the majority of our year together for the first time since freshers’ week back in 2014. As corny as it sounds, we are the “doctors of tomorrow,” and I feel so honoured to be part of this wonderful cohort. Excited to see what the future will bring for each of us!

Cliché again, but it really feels like just yesterday that I started university, scared because I was on my own for the first time in my life, and determined to pass my foundation year to become a “proper” medical student.

That was nearly four years ago, and I’m grateful to God for seemingly little things like how I can answer questions in lectures without fear because I know more now, how speaking to patients and placements have become less overwhelming, how I’m starting to have an idea of what I want to specialise in, and how most of my foundation year pals are still part of my life.

Finally, I’d just like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has been reading this blog. I’ve come a long way from my 18 year old self, who initially started this blog to record her gap year adventures because she didn’t get any medicine offers, and now I’m halfway through year 3. And what a journey it’s been!

Okay, enough of the sentimental stuff. Here are some pictures from the ball:

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Special mention to the Keen One a.k.a. Kenny for coming down to celebrate with me. Here is a picture that I wasn’t aware was being taken, but is one of my faves from the ball because SO MUCH LOVE.
so-much-love

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Lessons From Term One of 3rd Year of Medical School

It’s been quite the semester- third year at my medical school is known as the hardest year. Only one term in, and I agree with that completely. On reflection, it’s been challenging, with many ups and downs, so without further ado, here are some lessons I’ve learnt so far:

  • STAY ON TOP OF ANATOMY. This is something I always keep coming back to, and I need to learn from this, because I started off the term well, but ended up slacking after a few weeks. You can make life so much easier for yourself if you dedicate time to going through anatomy. A new year’s resolution for me, maybe?
  • Getting my first student job in third year probably wasn’t one of my best ideas, so I’d say don’t do this unless it’s a job with flexible hours. Working as a student caller was only for a couple of weeks, and I only had to do three shifts a week so it wasn’t too bad. I made quite a bit of money too, so I guess #noregrets
  • Leading on from my last point, time management is very important. This term I had to balance staying on top of PBL/lectures, netball commitments, student caller work, volunteering on Saturdays, and church commitments, so it was quite a lot to handle. But I got through it through the grace of God, and my trusty calendar, ofcourse. So sticking to a strict-ish schedule really helped. Before I go to bed every night, I make a ‘To Do List’ for the next day, and that helps me keep on top of things. It also helps me get to sleep easier, because I sleep quicker with my head cleared of what needs to be done.
  • As important as it is to stay on top of work and various commitments, don’t forget that saying no sometimes is okay too. Looking after yourself is important, and I learnt this a lot this term, because there were quite a few times that I had take time off to be alone, and watch TV, and sleep, and eat, and just have some ‘Tai Time,’ AND IT WAS OKAY.
  • In the words of John Donne, “No man is an island,” and this is so SO true in medical school. I would like to give a very special mention to Alice, who has been such a blessing to me. From practising examinations together, to grilling me on logbooks, to patiently teaching me anatomy, and just listening to me when I was sad/feeling sorry for myself, I would definitely not have gotten through this term without her. It’s very important not to isolate yourself as a medical student, because things can get very overwhelming if you do. So make sure you surround yourself with people who you can count on to be there for you.

I got the results of the OSCE a few days ago, and I passed, yay! So so relieved and grateful to God, praying that next term will be even better! It’s so great to be home and to relax though; coming home for Christmas is the best.

Finally, merry Christmas! To everyone reading this, I hope you have lovely festive season with friends and family wherever you are. As always, I leave you with my favourite hymn:

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Module 7 Placement: Neurology

NEURO IS VERY HARD.

You know what makes it even harder? Spraining your knee during placement so you’re walking with a limp around the wards. Not fun. Neurology placement was just a bit peak for me health wise to be honest- numerous headaches and waking up with a nosebleed weren’t fun, but I’m fine and got through it, so I thank God!

As someone who struggles with anatomy in general, neuro anatomy has been quite the challenge. To prepare for teaching sessions and clinics, I did pre-reading like I’ve never done before, because I was so scared of being picked on to answer a question and not knowing the answer.

I watched YouTube videos to revise/learn anatomy and physiology, and I highly recommend Handwritten Tutorials and Armando Hasudungan, because they break things down really well. Khan Academy is brilliant as well- forever in awe of people who got through medical school before the internet was a thing, because I would definitely not have made it this far without it.

What got me through the two weeks of neurology placement was the fact that I find it all so interesting. The brain is really amazing, and when you have a basic understanding of the different parts of it, you can start to understand the pathology behind the conditions that affect it. The same thing applies to radiology of the brain; familiarising yourself with normal anatomy is important because it makes it so much easier to pick out abnormalities. Radiology Masterclass is great for easy to follow tutorials and scans.

I had more free time during neuro, as I was back in our main hospital, which gave me more time to catch up on my logbooks and practise examinations. Cranial nerves, upper limb and lower limb; I went through them so many times and it got a bit repetitive, but that’s the best way to get good at them, in order to be able to do them quicker in OSCEs.

One of the best parts of neuro placement was a retired consultant who we had some teaching sessions with. He taught us without using PowerPoint slides or notes, and he’s one of the best lecturers I’ve ever had- engaging, knowledgeable, and just a really nice man! He retired many years ago, but still likes to come in to teach because he enjoys it so much. Not going to lie, I may have cried a bit when he gave us his phone number after our final session, and asked us to let him know how the OSCE goes. What a cutie!

The highlight of neurology was definitely my time on the ward. I got to speak to many lovely patients with a wide range of conditions such as epilepsy, Guillian Barre Syndrome, Myasthenia Gravis, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, Parkinson’s Disease, and even meningitis! It makes such a different seeing these conditions in real life, and I learnt a lot from the patients.

I’m home for Christmas now, and what a term it’s been! I think I’ll do another post summarising the ups and downs of the first term of third year, as this one has gotten a bit long haha, so if you’ve managed to get to the end of this post, I appreciate the read!  😀

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Module 7 Placement: Ophthalmology

A summary of ophthalmology in three words? Death by clinic.

So. Many. Clinics.

I had no idea that ophthalmology had so many sub-specialties within it, as a lot of our teaching sessions were in different clinics. From eyelid disorders, to corneal disease, to glaucoma and strabismus (squints), we saw a wide range of patients, so that was really good.

My favourite clinic was the paediatric one, where I was with a consultant that specialises in squints seen in children, and this is when the eyes point in different directions. The consultant really grilled me, but he wasn’t mean about it, so I learned quite a lot in his clinic. The best part was he asked me to help distract the children, so I had to keep them focused by playing games that ensured they were looking behind the consultant, in order for him to examine their eyes properly. Such fun! It made me even more determined to go into paeds when I qualify.

Anyway, you know how I said otoscopy was hard when I did ENT? Yeah, it’s a walk in the park compared to fundoscopy. FUNDOSCOPY IS SO HARD.

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It involves the use of an ophthalmoscope to look into the back of eyes, and I really struggled with it. The hardest thing about it is that when you’re looking into someone’s left eye, you have to use your own left eye, and that’s difficult for me because I struggle with closing just my right eye. So I’ve been practising winking with that eye, and it’s helped, sort of? I guess this is another one of those things that will get better with time, I hope!

Examining the eyes is very #longforman in general to be honest; there are so many steps to remember! I was taught ‘AFRO’ as a good way to ensure you don’t miss things out, and it’s been really helpful:

A – acuity (Snellen chart, Ishihara plates)
F – fields (as well as inattention and blindspot)
R – reflexes (direct, consensual, RAPD, and accommodation)
O – ophthalmoscopy

So good! Again, practise practise PRACTISE.

Finally, the week in ophthalmology taught me that I’m really not my best when I haven’t had much sleep. As it was our final week at this hospital, we still had to get the 8am bus from campus, so it was early starts all week. The smart thing to do would have been to go to bed early to ensure proper rest, but I’m more productive at night, you see, and that’s why I end up going to bed late.

The lack of sleep definitely showed every day, because I was crankier, more impatient, and got irritated more easily. Apologies to anyone I was snappy with- it’s not you, it’s me. I really need to start sleeping earlier because the more sleep you get, the more energy you have for the next day. Who knew?