Personal blog

The day I saved a life….

Its almost the end of 2017. I had one of my usual brooding moments, introspecting everything I have done and failed to do. Thinking hard about a bucket list I had stashed away.

I jogged my memory to find some adventure that I accomplished. Somehow even river rafting did not quite fit the bill. To be honest I have not travelled much except for education or work. And then it came to me.

So the most exciting and fulfilling thing I ever did was, I saved a life!

I was into my second year of training. Was posted in the cardiac catheterization lab. Routine cardiac stenting was going on. I was hungry and desperately waiting for my lunch break. Thats when I heard the code blue.

As I rushed into one of the suites, a woman in her 40s was on the operating table, gasping for breath. Clearly the procedure was complicated and one of the blood vessel supplying the heart had been punctured. There were no seniors around. As an Anaesthesiologist I immediately stood at the head end. I was terrified. The cardiologists immediately started chest compressions.

I had an adrenaline rush. And being newly ACLS educated, I started what I supposed to do. I supported her with oxygen. After 3 rounds of chest compressions there was very little hope. And then her venous line access came off. We had no way of administering drugs. I decided to take charge. I handed the airway management to one of my colleagues and immediately established an access on her foot.

Once access was in, drugs given and I could intubate her. So she was adequately oxygenated. And meanwhile we got a pulse. So we attached inotropes (medicines to increase heart activity and help maintain blood pressure). Cardiologist decided to shift her to ICU, and on the way she dropped her blood pressure again. I rushed to the foot end and lifted both her legs up. (To increase blood flow to heart). It kind of helped.

We came back and resumed rest of the cases.

A week later I went to the ICU to check on some other patient. And there she was, sitting upright on the bed, having her meal and talking to her son.

It was that moment, one of the greatest moments in my life. I contributed to saving a life. I was part of the team. Nothing can beat that feeling.

Its our job profile. I know. But I feel blessed to be a part of this process.

No matter how many adventures I embark upon in the future, it will always be one of my greatest.

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Residency longus vs brevis ??

Residency should be long enough to be well trained and short enough to keep me sane!

I have transitioned from completing my residency in three intense years to now pursuing fellowship in a country which allows me to be relaxed and put in 48 hours a week. It has been quite contrasting in terms of work pattern and learning experience.

Medical education is not universally standardised. It is tailor made for each country. And hence while it may easier for people working in other fields to move to a different place for work, doctors often have to clear licensing exams to prove that their training so far has been upto acceptable standards.

I am not an expert on residency programmes world wide. Just my personal experience having worked in two different countries.

Residency brevis: short and intense!

Well having completed MD in India, I have been through the standard residency programme. 3 years, no working time limits, alternate day on calls which include straight 36-48 hour shifts, alternate weekends on call.

Pros:

1. Completion of training in 3 years.

2. High volume of cases seen and hands on experience.

3. Variety of cases due to high numbers.

4. Gaining experience to work in acute scenarios.

5. Seen many complications and learned from mistakes.

Cons:

1. Stressful and may affect health.

2. Less time for academics and Research.

3. Personal life is affected.

Residency longus: long and relaxed.

7 year residency programme with structured module based learning. 48 hours a week to be completed which includes on call rota.

Pros:

1. More structured approach to learning.

2. Time well spent of each module.

3. Personal and professional life can coexist!

4. Academics and newer research can be incorporated during training.

Cons:

1. Trainees can leave at the shift end irrespective of whether the case is completed or not.

2. Less number of cases.

3. Too stretched out residency programme.

Personally for me, I would say I loved the 3 years intense period, however I do not miss it! It made me more confident and pliable. Having learnt basics now I can concentrate on refining my skills and techniques.

Which kind of residency program would you like to be trained in?

 

 

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The good, bad and ugly of medicine!

5133CD42-91A1-43C8-9013-2365FE6586FE.jpegIf only studying and practising medicine was enough to be appreciated for all the hard work and unsocial hours that go into it! Here comes the good, bad and ugly of it.

Well to summarise my journey, graduated medical school and followed it by my dream to specialise further. Too many many options to choose from, however limited by the entrance exams and rank based allocation of specialities. So I settled for my second favourite, Perioperative medicine.

As I entered into a tertiary care centre to start my residency, I met my new colleagues. All brand new medical school graduates. I was so thrilled to be a part of that group. So we go out as a group for dinner and introductions begin. Well if only names and native places were enough! We all had to be introduced as, myself so and so, scored these many marks in entrance exams, chose this speciality and graduated in this specific year. Well to be precise what that introduction meant was, “I am Ms Abc, I am intelligent enough to clear exams on my 1st attempt and smart enough to get into this speciality and that gives me a right to lord over all you less intelligent people”. Cool, isn’t it?

All throughout residency We learnt to prove how our respective specialities are better than others, how we contribute the most to patient care and so how we should earn more than others. And this attitude continues in professional practice as well. I am sure many will agree with me.

And I dared to learn intensive care and as predicted I was shot down by them as well. As if I wasn’t qualified enough to handle emergency patients ( well I specialize in acute perioperative medicine!) I had moments when I doubted myself whether I have turned out to be a good physician.

Eventually I struggled and achieved my dream job. And couldn’t be happier.

There is no good, bad or ugly in medicine. Every person involved in patient care contributes a great deal. Every speciality is designed to deal with specific aspects. We should all learn to respect that.

“Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love for humanity” – Hippocrates.

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Doctress in distress

The dating dilemma…..

 

blog pic    Dating disasters! We all have faced a few.

Well this is my perspective of it. Perspective of a 29 years old, female physician, belonging to a moderately conservative family.

When my friends talk about guys there are various categories to pick from. Funny, smart, cute, handsome, intelligent, rich, tall, physique etc etc etc. Permutations and combinations that lead to so many choices.

However I have just three….

  1. Medic
  2. Non medic
  3. Perfect family approved guy

The third type almost never exists. Well many of my female colleagues would agree to this.

So having dated the first two types let me get into details.

The Medic……..

This is the most common type I meet. And would you blame me? Having spent most of my time studying to be a doctor!

Pros:

  • Comfort zone. You always have something to discuss about.
  • Medical advice. You always have someone to discuss cases and seek solutions.
  • Nerds. Well who doesn’t want to spend some nerd time?
  • Compatibility. Working nights and weekends. You do not have to explain these crazy work hours.
  • Confidence. They do not get intimidated by your education or the money you make.
  • Degrees. You can always study and get the extra experience you want to pursue.
  • Love stories. Well spending most of your time working or studying, you are bound to fall in love with someone at medical school or hospitals.

Cons:

  • Familiarity. Work, personal and family somehow gets merged into this endless medical saga. Its all you talk about at times!
  • Egomaniacs: Don’t get me wrong, you may end up finding these fine specimen who put their career above yours and expect you to take a backseat.
  • Debts. Both may have huge medical school debts. It may slow down the settling part.
  • Social life. Well both working shifts, you may end up missing your social outings and fun dates.
  • Medico kids. Hahaha, you may end up wanting your kids to pursue medicine.
  • Long distance. Works well with medics.

The non-medic……..

Pros:

  • Novel: Its outside your comfort zone. Its a fresh twist to the usual drama.
  • Socially better. You tend to make time for dates.
  • Knowledge. You learn a thing or two about his job profile. Something other than diseases!
  • Popularity. Well his friends and family may refer to you as the smart one. (Everyone likes to be praised. Lol.)
  • Family time. He may be able to accommodate family events when you have to work late.

Cons:

  • Availability. Where would you meet these guys if you are always working?
  • Age. Well by the time we are done studying and think of finding ‘the one’, its usually the late 20’s or early 30’s. So we are the older women!
  • Insecurity. You may tend to earn a bit more than you man. Its not always perceived well.
  • Ambitions. Sometimes your zest for education comes across as prioritising career over family.
  • Snob. We are considered uptight. (Never could understand this aspect)

Perfect family approved

Well honestly, I am yet to meet one. But I feel he would be the perfect mix of all the pros from above categories.

P.s. He doesn’t exist!

Well these are just my experiences and thoughts. Just a few things I learnt in my quest for the ‘ONE’.

‘What you seek is seeking you’ – Rumi