For the fourth semester we have to shadow a doctor for 3 hours and write a report about it. Since I am such a lover of anatomy and have always been interested in plastic surgery, I wrote an email to the director of the plastic surgery department and asked him if it would be possible that I shadow him. He was happy that I was interested in the department and asked me to come in to find an appointment where I could also watch an operation.
When I did go to the meeting he basically asked my life story. He asked me why I was so fascinated with anatomy. Why, you ask? Why NOT?!?! I told him that I put in a lot of effort during High School in my anatomy class and couldn't wait to be in the cadavers class and then be a TA. He had the same view on it all and was also anatomy TA when he was in school. He asked me about the USA and the process of getting into med school here with my American qualifications. Then, out of the blue, he asked me what else I did in the US in me free time, like maybe being artistically active. Affirmative. I told him that my friends kind of kid and say that I will have a Hasselhof Anantomy Atlas coming out soon because I drew everything during anatomy. He was so happy about this that he pulled out two anatomy textbooks and showed me drawings that he had drawn for them. He asked me if I would be interested in drawing for publications as well. I didn't hesitate to answer with a big YES!
He also asked if I could translate papers from German to English which I was also happily willing to do.
Since the department is such a small one, they have a list of students that they call when they need help in the operating room. I am now officially on this list!
I finally came in to do my shadowing today. I didn't follow the doctor that interviewed me but rather his assistant doctor. She is from Ireland and super cool. She told me how the plastic department is a cut throat area to work in, especially if you are a woman. The men think they are the big shots even if they don't know what they are supposed to be doing. The universal problem for women is of course that the hospital employing you always has the fear that once you sign the contract, you will go off and get preggers. I guess I have a battle coming at me! But today everyone was really, really cool.
I got to scrub in on a gynakomaestie. This is a condition in which the breast tissue of a man is enlarged and resembles a woman's breast. Additionally, this patient had some extra fat that got liposuctioned off and a piece of skin lap cut off. For some reason, thankfully this doesn't just happen to me, the surgery started and I felt myself getting weezy....although nothing had even happened yet! My dad warned me of this and told me to take deep breaths. I knew this feeling from the first operation I got to scrub in on a year ago. Last year I could fight it. This time I don't even remember what happened but from the point on that I can remember someone was holding my hand and giving me a chair to sit on. EMBARRASSING!!! Well, it would have been if it wasn't for the understanding everyone in the room had for the situation. The surgeon just kept saying it was no big deal and that she fainted when she did her first surgery. I took a few minutes break and drank some water, scrubbed in again and got back into my position and the rest of the operation was no problem (like a year ago). I helped eject fluid to loosen up the fat (before my semi-faint incident) and then she showed me how to liposuction and even let me do some of it! Then I assisted her in that i coagulated the blood vessels that were cut, held hooks, stapled skin together and cut the thread from her knots. She explained everything and in between we chatted about just about everything. When the operation was done, we got a bit to eat and chatted in the plastic surgeons office. I was supposed to observe a pretty interesting surgery but I had to go to my lecture (we HAVE to go to this lecture, sign papers and everything showing we were there, so I couldn't skip it and besides, I like those lectures). The surgeons have my number, so the next time they have a busy day and need help, I will get a call or text. Of course I will be pretty busy now until the biochemistry exam on July 1st and then Physikum preparations. But I think it is super cool that the department has taken me in so nicely and genuinely wants me to learn and do stuff. Reports will follow :)