Friday, January 04, 2013

Carpe Diem

Guess the most frequently asked question from relatively clueless house officers would be which medical discipline they should ally themselves with after finishing their grueling internship. Hard question to answer since very few of us are sure of what to do right after that last day of housemanship, hell, most of us are just ecstatically glad to still be alive and sane after the harrowing ordeal.

Think no one can quite make that decision for an individual since it counts in several factors such as interest, capability, aptitude, serendipity etc. Even the lifestyle you intend to lead in the future. For me, I kinda stumbled into the entire anaesthesia and intensive care bit.


During my housemanship training, I already realized that medicine itself wouldn't be for me. Never even liked it much during my medical school years. Endless hours in the medical clinic doling out endless pills to patients who get increasingly sicker with diseases that never get better... No, definitely not for me. Not to mention the daunting thought of sitting through those horrid physician exams.

Same goes for paediatrics. Except distraught parents are even harder to deal with than the wailing infants. Definitely no.

Perhaps obstetrics & gynaecology? Thoroughly enjoyed that posting - since very little mental thought goes into the day-to-day job with obstetrics being a purely by-the-book discipline. Veer but a little off the meticulous predetermined course practically chiseled in stone and there'll be hell to pay. But though I love women... the very thought of facing hysterical mothers-to-be in the throes of labour on a daily basis was chilling.

And let us not forget... vaginal warts.

Psychiatry used to be one of my favourite subjects in medical school, even had recommendations from the head of department to join them when I finished. But I don't think I could deal with the more minor psych problems. Certain patients would probably irritate the hell out of me - which wouldn't help with their care and treatment in the least!

Dammit which way do I turn!

So yes, I originally planned to begin with general surgery. Slice, dice, chop and toss. Scrub hands. Problem dealt with. Butch as hell. Though I fully intended to specialize in plastic surgery. Not so butch obviously. No ear, nose and throat since their clinics had a distinct malodour. Opthalmology inadvertently poked into one of my deepest phobias. Orthopaedics seemed just a bit too painstaking.

Just two months into my surgical posting - and my very first couple of appendicectomies, there was a severe shortage in the anasthesia and intensive care department. And I was called in much to my dismay, distress and disbelief.

But like they always say, once you begin in anaesthesia, you get irresistibly sucked in. Apparently the anaesthetic gases can be wildly addictive. Falling deep into the vague seductive haze of sweet, sweet sevoflurane, you find yourself gradually losing sight of the other disciplines and gently slipping into the syncopated, almost sedative rhythms of the anaesthetic team.

With the occasional excited blips of the intensive care unit of course. Oh yes, though most laypersons wouldn't know of it but most intensive care units in the country are directly under the care of an anaesthesiologist. Sedation, pain relief, monitoring, dire situations and all that.


Tempus said...

So I assume you have succumbed into the abyss of sedating sweetness?

Anonymous Esq. said...

This is a very interesting account. Do share more :)

savante said...

Yes I have, tempus :) Smells so sweet.

Decided what to do, anon?

Anonymous Esq. said...

THAT is quite a touch question. I actually have the answer, but in my opinion, it is still too early to say for a surety that that will be the specialization of my choice. So, I'll just keep it under wraps.