Saturday, April 18, 2015

Week 21/22: From Wisconsin cheese and family to rotting wounds and maggots.....

This little two week rhythm that's been going on the last few weeks should be over for the next 4 weeks at least.

I spent a week home in Wisconsin and it. was. heavenly. I loved being home after almost a year, spending time with friends and family and MY DOG (!) and getting to see so many people who were a part of my life growing up and are a part of my life still today. I also probably exceeded the recommended limit on deep fried cheese curds in that week.

Pirate Puppy Toby

What a goof ball....but I love her.
My Wisconsin Badgers boys basketball team sadly lost in the final game of March Madness but first they kicked Kentucky's butt (Boo-yah!). The team did a great job and I really fell in love with some of those boys....have you seen the interview with Nigel Hayes where he is caught saying the stenographer is so gorgeous? And the double face palm after?!

Immediately fell in love with him. Anyways,.....home was great. I wish I could have stayed longer. I got to see my little sister for a day which was really fun! Wasn't able to see my older sister due to the fact that she is off in medical school in Erie, Pennsylvania.

All good things must come to an end though and so I had to fly back to Germany on Sunday.

This past week was spent in vascular surgery. The people in the department were lovely. The wounds the patients had were quiet the contrary. I think vascular surgery might have some of the least aesthetically pleasing wounds. I'm talking amputations, ulcers that won't heal, necrotic (dead or dying) skin, wounds being cleaned with maggots, patients with no toes or fingers because they killed those with smoking.....seriously....these wounds could be straight out of a scary movie.

The doctors however, really fun and nice people. The doctor I helped on the ward seemed to like me too since he went ahead and claimed me when a urologist walked by and had apparently looked at me. Haha, very flattering Sir, but I'm not really a thing that can be claimed.

I was asked to represent the hospital at the intern fair in our university hospital on Wednesday. This entailed me talking to potential applicants for an internship spot in the hospital along with the chief of internal medicine. We stood at our booth for a few hours just chatting away and telling the potential interns what a great program we have (which really is true and not just a bunch of bull, the hospital was even one of two of the first hospitals to pass the quality check for internship programs in the country!)

I spent all day Thursday and Friday in the OR. I got to see a few operations I hadn't seen before and had always wanted to. For instance, stripping varicose veins. I couldn't imagine that it was possible to just pull veins out of the body. Like....isn't there connective tissue holding them in place? Guess not as tightly as I had thought. They use a wire for the long ones but small varicose veins are removed by making a little incision and pulling them out with a hook. At least that is one way to do it, the doctor told me that there are multiple ways of performing the operation and that in the states a lot of varicose veins get removed by "laser". 

The same doctor also told me a bunch of medical history facts about vascular surgery. He had a rather strong accent so I really only understood about 75% of what he was saying at any given time.

I also assisted in removing a big toe. I thought I would get a bit squeamish because I think amputations are such a weird operation (can you imagine being handed a leg?). I think that is a thousand times more weird than being handed a kidney. So I assisted in this toe removal and I was actually doing way better than I thought I would. Nonetheless, just going right at it with the scalpel and then saw has a horrific aspect to it.

The days always ended with an afternoon meeting. The doctors were interested to know if I would be back the next week. Since my trip home was rather spontaneous and my first week of vascular surgery had been planned for that time, I am in the midst of rescheduling a week during the time I'm in trauma surgery. I'm scheduled for 6 weeks of that. I don't need six weeks. I've already seen a lot of trauma surgery and can spare a week to see some more vascular surgeries I haven't seen yet.

Starting next week, I'll be in general surgery. Since it is such a small hospital, I already know a few of the doctors in that department. I've been most afraid of this part of rotation because general surgery operations can take a really long time and I'm afraid that we interns will be used to only hold hooks. My brain and my back would not be too fond of this situation. If it is that way, I guess it is what it is and I'll survive that too. Excited to see some operations I haven't before though. Appendectomy seems like such a standard thing but I've actually never seen one done (except while removing other organs and just taking that out as well). I'd like to see a classic case.

I hope everyone had a great Easter and enjoyed some good chocolate eggs!

Stay healthy!


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