Monday, 5 November 2012

There is no such thing as a free lunch


Another week in my surgical placement, and I finally learn that I am on an 'upper GI' surgery placement. Still not 100% sure this is the team I am meant to be with, but they are really friendly so I think I will stay here. Should be a pretty similar experience to wherever else I end up put, as long as the signature at the end counts towards passing this year!

Its a very busy week, I tend to need to get in at 8, and leave between 6 and 7.30, and with 30 mins- 1 hour travel time each way, I can end up away from home about 13 1/2 hours a day. Doing this five days a week means I am effectively working 60-67 hours a week. For free. Rubbish! Leads to me feeling pretty tired when I get home, so I eat dinner and don't want to work, not good for the revision I am meant to be doing.

I spend much of my time in the wards, this is our 'post-take' week, meaning the floods of patients we admitted last week, we are now trying to get rid of, treat, or ignore. I can be very helpful as a lot of this involves no skill, but just chasing up results and updating lists. I do spend some time in surgery, scrubbing up and 'assisting' in a number of hernia repairs. While 'Assisting' sounds really important, it (as expected) just involves holding a retractor or pushing bowel around every so often. I don't think surgery is the career for me...

Its all the same thing...

In more positive news, the lovely man who I clerked last week, who ended up being rejected by the urology registrar for catheterisation and bled out of his penis for hours as a result and needed a suprapubic catheter is doing very well. I have been visiting him every day, and not entirely because I am very guilty about the mess the hospital has got him into. He is really nice and a fun chat for five minutes when I am waiting around. He told me that once he is out of the hospital he wants to buy be a few pints, a really nice offer, but I am not sure if I can be encouraging alcohol consumption (or even socialising with patients) so I politely decline. This is the great aspect of the job. Cutting people up and sticking your hands in their wounds in boring and nasty, its the personal aspect I love.

Being a surgeon is not all cutting, though. I am invited to a posh (and more importantly free) dinner part way through this week to 'discuss a certain surgical technique'. This fully funded sojourn (by an unknown, shady organisation that wasn't mentioned) involved a fifteen minute talk on this surgical technique at a hotel (surprisingly interesting), which was followed by an hours talk by an Olympic medallist (I have no idea why), about their experience of the olympic games. Very interesting. There was then a three course free meal with wine. Very classy! It did lead to me getting home at 11 this day, though, making it feel as though I spend my life in the hospital, but it doesn't seem as though other specialities have quite as many 'Jollies' as the surgeons. They always seem to be having important 'talks' which happen to be in posh hotels, or the Bahamas. Perhaps it is to make up for the fact that their job involves cutting up bowels, sticking their hands in poo, and never getting thanked as their patients are always asleep...

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