Sunday, February 22, 2015

Week 13/14: Cape Town, South Africa! I'm in love with this place!

Cape Town was AMAZING!! Guys, it was so much fun and its such a beautiful city and country!

So, I fly to Cape Town to visit a long time friend of mine. She was there with some more Germans and they knew more Germans so I primarily spoke German. I had 8 complete days there and they were packed with activities. Even though we hardly had down time, I still feel like I haven't even seen the beginning of all the things you can do there!

The weather was sunny almost all the time and hot! I highly suggest a visit there around this time of the year. Since this isn't a travel blog, I won't go into great detail about all the places we went and all the yummy restaurants we visited but rather, I show some pictures in the hopes that you can get a sense of how great the place is!

Stellenbosch: Tokara Wineyard, one of very many in the area

Table Mountain and Lions Head

Ocean View

Chapman's Peak

African Penguins in Boulders near Simon's Town

World of Birds: My monkey friends and I

Got a bit of inspiration for drawings

Big Bay: Red Bull's "King of the Air" Kite boarding competition


We hiked up Lion's Head and the view was lovely

Probably my favorite of all. Table Mountain seen from Lion's Head

Lion's Head

Clifton Beach 1

The sunsets were the most beautiful I've ever seen

Cape Town, I'm in love with you :)

Reluctantly, I returned to Germany. I woke up the first morning at 5:30 again to get a round of studying in before work. Might as well get back to my normal routine as quickly as possible. I shadowed the consultations again on Thursday. Friday I hung around the outpatient department and tried to see new things here and there. The consultant working the department that day was really helpful. He had me watch different diagnostic procedures and then made me explain them to him.

I learned how a cystomanometry works. It used different pressure detectors and measures while the patient has their bladder filled with fluid and is then asked to either hold it or void. In doing so, we can interpret if the bladder is overactive, if the patient is using their abs instead of their bladder muscle and so on.

I watched a prostate punch biopsies being taken. It sounds and looks more painful than the patients make it appear to be. The biopsies are then looked at for prostate cancer.

There were a few cystoscopies performed which I watched.

My free time back home was then mostly spent with studying and editing. Now my music selection has a few songs that remind me of Cape Town and my tan that compliments my lab coat well. Already looking forward to the next travel oppurtunity!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Week 12: Bitter tears and 24 hour shifts.....but now it'S VK time!

Hey y'all!

Just got out of my 24 hour on call shift and thought I'd update everyone quick before I head off!

I started working in the outpatient clinic this week. Depending on the doctor working the clinic on any given day, there is more or less for me to do with patients. Luckily, the consultants had their consultation hours running parallel.

Urology can now also be found on Level 02

We also had two new girls doing electives this week. I played mom a bit for one of them making sure she saw as much as possible while she was in our department for one week. My days were spent between jumping in on some consultations, showing the girl around and doing some translation work.

Wednesday was a bit of a tough day. I'm still getting up before work every morning to study. And while this isn't effecting my mood substantially and I am surprised at how happy I am in general, I am still constantly under a certain level of stress making me a bit more prone to decompensating. I went in with the doctor to see a patient. He talked to the man and his daughter, gave the man the shot he came for and then left to let me do the ultrasound (rather standard procedure). Well, then the daughter started asking me about what dimensions a kidney should have. When I tried to explain to her that we don't generally concern ourselves with the exact dimensions of the kidney but rather look at the kidney's structure, she interrupted telling me she was from the medical field and that she would know that already.....well then why the heck did you ask?! So she became increasing difficult and then sprung the question on me if her dad was getting his prostate checked. Now, I have no issue with checking prostates but I usually ask when it was last done because there are more or less intervals in which it should be done. Her basically deaf father and she talked concurrently about how the prostate should be checked and this doctor said this and that doctor said that. When I told her I didn't know her fathers complete history and that the intervals are a bit dependent of the patients history, she yelled at me that I should know her dad's complete history since its all in the files (You are absolutely right, for your fathers outpatient appointment for a shot, I certainly intensely reviewed his 20 year urological appointment history in our department. Would you like to know his blood pressure from March 10th 1986?). She continued to yell at me that every doctor said something else and that we should know what we are talking about...blah blah blah! At some point I interrupted her and told her that it was not feasible to fulfill her vision of knowledge and even less considering I've been in INTERN in the department for merely a few WEEKS and the she could use a substantially nicer tone! And then I walked out. I told the doctor about the situation and then went to the bathroom. I just made it in time to the last stall to bawl my eyes out. I couldn't believe how mean she was to me. I was just there to help and would have discussed everything in a calm manner had she approached me in such a way but to just let out all her frustration with life on me was too much. I stayed in the stall for about 15 minutes until I couldn't cry anymore and tried to freshen up and hide the evidence. I was paged and asked where I was since there was a patient for me to see. I washed my face with cold water, put on some lip gloss and headed back to the outpatient department. The rest of the day was fine but this lady's inhumane treatment really irked me for a few more hours.

Urologist also have our own exit (and apparently use too much Viagra)
My friend wasn't feeling well and came to the hospital. After getting her all worked up and checked, I left the hospital after 12 hours.

Nothing all to exciting happened Thursday and Friday.

Yesterday (Saturday), I started my 24 hour shift. We had quite a bit to do. There were patients on the ward that needed us, the emergency room called almost every hour with a different case for us (mostly renal colic or infections). We also had to place renal fistulas as an emergency again (luckily this time it wasn't in the middle of the night). I did get 5 hours of sleep in all though. It was busy but interesting.

Today I leave to Frankfurt so that I can fly away tomorrow morning! Where to? Cape Town, South Africa!!!!!!!! I haven't really had it sink in yet since I've been so extremely busy with other stuff but since a few hours, I've been getting more and more excited! Of course I'll report a bit about my time there next week!

And as a last little thing for you all to try out (because its yummy!). I've been making this ginger-lemon-honey drink daily the past week. I wasn't going to risk getting sick! And like I said, its delicious!

-cut slices of ginger and pour over with hot water and let it stand over night
-1 fresh pressed lemon
-1 tablespoon honey
-some mint or lemon balm leaves for color
-mix it all together and enjoy while your colleagues think you brought a mojito to work ;)

Enjoy and stay healthy!


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Week 11: Urology congress in Heidelberg= the only place the mens restroom has a line and the womens doesn't!

Well, I'm officially a quarter of a century old! 1/4 of my minimum goal reached!

The week started off with two rather unspectacular work days.

Wednesday I had to present some of my research data to the lab. I thought it would take about 10 minutest to click through my pictures and then they would tell me how little I've found and that I am a complete failure as a doctorate student. Okay, I didn't actually think it was going to be that bad but I had no idea what to expect. I had nothing definitive to show them. I composed some of the electron microscopy pictures I had taken and wanted to discuss these with the group of histology and anatomy professors and researchers. And in reality, that is what happened. The whole thing took 1.5 hours because each slide was discussed to great lengths with everyone there. I got some great input and some more direction as to what it is I am looking for. The conclusion is also that my endless hours in front of the electron microscope are long from over.

Wednesday night, I drove out to my aunt and uncles place to celebrate into my birthday. I facetimed my parents and opened my package of presents they had sent me. So happy! Amongst other things, I got a lot of material on Stephen Hawking. I'm excited to read his "A Brief History of Time" book on vacation. My friend got me travel guides for two of my destinations this year!

The next morning, my aunt and I took the train to Heidelberg. Most people know Heidelberg. Its a rather famous city also in respect to its medical history. I'd never been and have always wanted to go. Having won the tickets to the Urology Semi-Live Congress there, I finally had a reason to. My aunt and I ran around the city (sadly with not so great weather) but it truly is a gorgeous city.

The funniest thing happened in the candy store. There is a candy store that isn't very big but packed from top to bottom with candy from Germany and around the world. Even crazier than the collection of candy was the guy working there! Crazy beard and hair-do and thick leopard print nerd glasses. He spent about 10 minutes with each costumer at the register. So, don't go if you are in a rush. If you complain, he'll kick you out. What a cool way of working. Once we were up, my aunt told him it was my birthday. Before I knew it, he brought a stool in front of the register, told me to stand on it, made my "mom" hold my hand, gathered all the customers in the store around me, turned the light and radio off and announced to everyone that it was my birthday and that deserved a celebration, lit up a sparkler and made everyone sing Happy Birthday to me! It was fabulous and I couldn't stop smiling! He makes everyone at the register roll dice and play a little game and then you'll get more candy as a present. Super fun experience! I recommend it to anyone who visits. The store is called "Heidelberger Zuckerladen", has been around since 1986 and is located at Plöck 52 in Heidelberg.

At night, my uncle came and joined us. We had dinner at Moghul Tandoori, an Indian restaurant (Brückenkopfstraße 1, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany). I can also recommend this place.

Earlier in the day we had coffee at Coffee Nerd (Rohrbacher Straße 9, 69115 Heidelberg, Germany) (recommendation from the candy store guy and TOTALLY worth it). The coffee is ridiculously good.

I spent Friday and Saturday at the Semi-Live Urology Congress. The concept was that every half an hour, a different surgeon who is exceptional at the procedure, presents important information and techniques. Each was followed by a question and discussion road. In between there would be lunch and coffee breaks.
A little DaVinci practice never hurts
Right off the bat I met a student from Heidelberg and we ended up spending most of the time at the congress together. The presentations were more or less all really good. With about 300 participants present....there were only about 8 women. This meant this was the only place were the men's bathroom has a line and the women's doesn't!

I saw some operations I had never seen before let alone knew were a possibility. Friday night, there was a big dinner at a really old restaurant in Heidelberg. There was no lack of was so much food.....
Early morning walk to the congress

I made a connection with an Egyptian urologist and was invited to check out the facilities. The chief of urology in Heidelberg told me to apply for his department next year. The only people I didn't get a chance to talk to and wanted to were the two speakers from the States. I'll get in contact with them though. Over all it was a lot of information but really cool.
Heidelberg at night
Today I had a birthday brunch with some of my girlfriends.

Over my birthday weekend I didn't allow myself to study.....not that that made my guilty feelings go away any.....Its back to it tomorrow morning!

Hope you all had a great week!

Stay healthy!