Well, after promising twice weekly posts, I went and didn’t post anything for 10 days…in my defense, I was busy! I spent the past weekend jetting off to Calgary for the Annual General Meeting of the Canadian Federation of Medical Students. Lot’s of good business done (mostly about student advocacy and medical education topics), and also the opportunity to ride a mechanical bull at Ranchman’s Bar (see photo above of me struggling…). There might have been some line-dancing and two-step in there, but the dancing went substantially worse than the bull-riding – which is really saying something!
In terms of school, I’m now almost at the half-way point for my first rotation (psychiatry). I definitely have developed a newfound respect for psychiatrists. They are actually real doctors, who have to deal with intense medicine, powerful drugs with loads of side-effects, and patients who are generally undergoing the worst period of their entire lives. As a student, I’ve rapidly developed a thick skin (involuntarily-admitted psych patients can get really angry at everyone, including me!) and a non-judgmental interviewing technique. ”That sounds awfully distressing” is my go-to line when a patient endorses some false delusion (e.g. the government is stealing their blood because it cures HIV), and I have to walk the line between agreeing that the delusion is true (wrong!), and having the patient begin to think that I am a part of the conspiracy (even worse!).
In any event, there is never a dull moment in inpatient psychiatry. I’ve learned an immense amount about the various diseases that can cause psychosis, and managed to keep my patients calm enough that none of them have required mechanical restraints – pretty good for three whole weeks! Next, I’m off to consult-liaison psychiatry for three weeks, which means I’ll be walking around to other floors of the hospital to see patients with psych issues (mostly delirium secondary to whatever their medical issues are).
Once more, good luck to everyone transitioning into clerkship. Life is grand!