Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Morning stiffness


More delays to blog publishing - I would be a terrible journalist! This year is drawing to a close with only a couple of weeks left until summer holidays, the Olympics and the count down for my finals! This week had some interesting fun with joints, including clinics and surgery, where I saw plenty of knee replacements.

Exams all over now, which is a relief. I think they went OK, but you can never tell until you get the results, so I don't want to be premature. Quite exciting to think that those are the last exams that I will have to do before my finals, which are the final hurdle in the way of becoming a doctor. Exciting and scary... I don't feel ready in the slightest yet, and there is still a year left, so perhaps I don't need to worry too much.

Anyway this week I got to sit in on a lot of knee surgeries. Being in orthopaedics, much of what they want to do is bash away on bones to make them right again. While the orthopods (as they like to be known) fine this all exciting, drilling away into the bones with drills, or chiselling away with other metal implements, I think I would find it a bit boring if I had to do it all day every day. It is certainly exciting while you watch the first one, seeing what a joint looks like inside, or even more exciting, a replacement of a joint, where an old joint is replaced with a new one ('revision'), where the skin is cut open to reveal a shiny metal joint! Awesome! (Terminator!) Either way, after I had seen 3 or 4 of these I was becoming quite tired of it. I am sure it is different when you sit in the operating seat (literally) as there is much more to do than watch, but I still don't think its for me. Odd, as I loved playing with Meccano as a kid. 

Other than the rather boring surgeries (each to their own) I also got to sit in on a clinic with a really crazy locum consultant. I had not seen her before, and its unlikely that I will see her again, but she was very strange! Not in a negative way, as her patients clearly loved her, but I had no idea what she was doing. She spent about 5 minutes (no exaggeration) working out her left and right to ask the patient which foot hurt, and refusing help from the patient or me. In between the  patients (on an overcrowded list) she would take 10 minutes or so to talk about something seemingly out of the blue. One time it was how she used to have singing lessons, and how her singing teacher would never talk to her, only sing or mime (so as not to damage her singing voice) and other times it would be about how hard things at home were for her as a locum, and her family problems. Nice to be talked to, but not sure why, or whether it was the best time and place for it. 

The best moment in the clinic came when someone had come in about a problem with her knee. I was running through all the routine questions that would help get a diagnosis, and for one I asked if there was any morning stiffness at all. The patient, quite innocently, answered that "I don't have anything like that, but my husband usually does"... A question or two later quickly confirmed that she wasn't talking about her husband's joint problem. A hilarious, if not slightly embarrassing, lesson in making sure that your questions are phrased to avoid any misinterpretation! 

In case you didn't get the confusion


  1. I'm surprised your patient did not bring her husband with her :)))

  2. She didn't seem at all unhappy about her husbands... condition... Not sure she wanted it changed!