Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The days have been remarkably sunny of late. Days like these, one shouldn't have to be cooped in the house in front of the laptop; going out shopping and playing out there in the sun is more like it. Alas, work (and youtube and random websites) beckons.
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I was away this morning for my GP shadowing, with one of the GP's in a health centre in Gallowgate. By this point in my studies, I've ceased to be amazed by the canggihness of the NHS. Oh wait, or is it because I've been hearing for weeks now from my batchmates about how different and more well developed the system is here? Regardless, it was quite a morning.
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I shan't go into all the nasty (computerized patient records vs. our pen and paper records back home) details. But among the interesting patients that we had today was a rocker dude, in his 30's. He was in the health centre for a routine check up since he is a Type 1 diabetic. We had a nice chat, I have to say. He was heavily tattooed, had many piercings, and a bit on the gothic side. If I met him under different circumstances, I'm pretty sure that I'll run away in the opposite direction. Looking at him, you could never tell that he has a chronic illness. Then again I have this stereotypical image of a diabetic in my head, and he doesnt fit the bill. I was particularly impressed because you know what, he tours with the band Placebo! I dig Placebo! :)
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The other interesting case was this 81 year old lady with depression who came in with her husband for a consultation. It was so freaking depressing. The whole consultation was almost painful to hear and watch, she was so down in the pits. We had a few depression cases coming in earlier in the day but she was in the worse shape. I had trouble staying objective and focused on the case itself; I thought it was heartbreaking (Prof Yeoh used to say to not be emotional). Her husband was 84, and it was heartbreaking to see how caring and tolerant he was. He was oh so smily and cheerful, like a friendly, huggable giant, while the patient was agitated and kept on holding her head in her hands. It's a bit hard to understand depression really, you can't tell them to just snap out of it, because there is an underlying problem that causes it. She wouldn't eat, she couldn't sleep, she couldn't read or watch TV. She can't stand her grandchildren, it was difficult enough getting her to go for the appointment. Absolutely no joy whatsoever. The doctor offered to give her fluoxetine, but goodness knows that will take too long to work. I felt for her, she's been feeling pretty suicidal and down for the past many weeks and now she has to hang in there until the medication works. For her sake, I do hope she will manage to survive until her next appointment.
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One thing I can tell you, it sure takes a lot of patience to interact with patients. Especially after the novelty wears off.

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