Monthly Archives: August 2013

VA—K—TION!!!

Whoop!  Whoop!! Finally, I am on vacation. Boy, am I glad. I am simply ecstatic. How I wish this vacation will go on forever. But no, it is only 6 weeks long, and I’m already one week down.  NO NO NO!!!

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Va-K-tion. Dats how I do it! Fun with the girls. As we like to say, we took this wedding WORLDCUP!

So you are probably wondering, why so much excitement about being on vacation? Well, let me tell you. Briefly, I’ve literally been in school for a whole year. Not the 9 month academic year we are all used to. NO! No, the actual 364 or is it 365, and quarter days that make up an actual year. These people are just trying to kill us. Really! Ok, so we are a little shy of the actual 365 days, but it certainly felt like it. You’ll never quite appreciate public holidays, until you have been in school so long without a proper vacation or weekend to call your own.  So all we had? A couple of 2-week breaks. Well they were definitely not scheduled with student relaxation in mind. One was actually our revision break, which just so happen to be during the Christmas holidays.  Killing 2 birds with one stone, if you ask me. It was like, hey you, go home. You can’t have so many public holidays ,that will just have to double as your break, and  in addition to that, study for exams, because on your first day back, exams!

Then there was that other 2-week break, while our seniors wrote their finals. Thank God for finals!!! We weren’t allowed on the wards. So there, that’s a break for you. The best breaks though, were those super long weekends between rotations.  Say you are done with medicine exam on Wednesday or Thursday, next Monday, you start surgery rotation. You had better value that weekend and have all the fun you can. Go to the Bahamas if you have the means. Because, that is all you get. So you wonder why I am ecstatic about a 6 week break? Oh I needed it. I was burnt-out, worn-out; actually, whatever is worse than these.  It was community health, intro course, medicine, surgery, orthopedics/ trauma. Oh, I have every reason to be ecstatic.

Should have posted the minute I returned from my trauma exam, but I was too excited. Not about the exam per se, but what it represented. End of my woes, beginning of my va-k-tion.  So a friend and I took a long walk to get, well, in my opinion, the best fries and chicken in Korle-Bu, and of course I got a huge bottle of coke. When I returned, it was all movies. Yeah, the vac had begun. So, my girls and I went for a wedding, a cocktail party,  I’ve been to the beach with another friend, a few restaurants, a pub… Oh this vacation has been good. I want more. Lord. Please don’t let it end!

What to do? Now that the excitement is somewhat under control, am left wondering, what do I do with all this free time? Well, I know what I am not doing. Definitely not a vacation attachment in a hospital. Come on guys, we’ve been in school for so long, I can’t believe anyone wants to use their vacation to work. In a hospital! If I might add.

Yeah yeah, they are committed to the course. Uh ha? What else?  You know, as Yaw Perbi said, the thing about winning the rat race is, you are still a rat, win or lose.  One will think making it to medical school, is a good way to escape the rat race, but boy do we have it wrong. So as students, we barely have time for anything else, then after school, crazy work hours. Then everyone wants to specialize, be a resident, consultant, what next? It is just a rat race, seriously, when do we get time to live. And now I should use my vacation to work in a hospital, to prove that I am committed to this medicine thing? Hell no!  This is what I am going to do. Economics! Yeah you read right.

Why isn’t economics 101 a university requirement? Instead, let’s all do math, wait I already studied the same thing in high school. Is this a revision class? What is the point? Then, academic writing? Really, anyone remember anything from that course? Lord knows I’ll need a miracle to do my final year project, and what if I want publish some academic papers later? Academic writing will definitely have nothing to do with that. I really remember nothing from that course. And don’t get me started on African studies. So they danced and played the flute. Gee, how exactly is that useful in real life? I did Twi, and something else that was basically a repetition of high school social studies.

Whatever happened to economics, marketing, management?  Useful stuff that one could use, irrespective of their chosen course of study. This is what universities should require us to study. Anyways, this was four years ago, maybe things have changed now.

I recently had a rude awakening, when after about 2 years of investing my cash; I could not get my hands on it when needed. Why?  Maybe it was because I knew so little about investment and banking, yet I know enough to know that savings and investments are good. A little economic training would have come in handy. Lord knows, how many of my colleagues even have savings or investments accounts? And for the few who do, how many of us are going to be shortchanged, because all we know is basic math and science, biology and medicine and so little about banking and investing. Even worse, when we start working, how many of us are going to be slaves of the state living from paycheck to paycheck? Working long hours from one locum job to another even as doctors, supposedly one of the best paid workers just because we don’t have adequate financial knowledge?

My colleagues will probably return from this break as “consultant gynecologists” and “pediatricians” but am going to have a little financial knowledge. I guess it is only the future that can determine the long term benefits of today’s choices. Either ways, what they do during the break, we’ll still be taught when school reopens. And don’t say am not committed to my chosen field. I am. Probably more passionate than most. Especially so, since I have been the patient for so long. Now, I can be the doctor, and manage others living with the same condition I live with. If this is not drive, what  is? I’ll just much rather do it with some financial knowledge and know-how so I do not spend my future working for a salary but rather working out of passion. I certainly am not one to do locum/ part time jobs. Lord knows my body needs all the rest it can it get, so it doesn’t act up, this is how I can ensure that. The plan is, one job only.  I already have my eyes on the (sickle cell clinic) Centre for Clinical Genetics at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.  Now that’s working out of passion.

But hey, a little reading is in order, even during a long va-k-tion. Definitely going to read my medical books. I need to revise.  Who knows when else I’ll have so much time on my hands. Am doing all the routine stuff that I am always too busty for. Top on the list, medical checks. I know, I really should do better. Medical students/ doctors , generally don’t make time to see the doctor, ever. That not good. We can’t have that. Dental check up, fundoscopy, the works. There is still physio tho, bummer. It’s all good. A nice excuse for me to be in school twice a week to see my friends and hangout quite a bit, just because I can. I am at home now, really far from school, enjoying time away from all that. Having some me time and time with my mom.

Definitely more sleeping. I could  make a hobby out of that. Lols. Maybe some shopping, beach trips, hanging out with my friends, and yes more time for all things sickle life. So help me God. Plan is to enjoy this va-k-tion as much as I can. I certainly have a stressful year ahead, catching babies (obstetrics and gynecology rotations) and pediatrics. I love kids, but not when they are sick, that’s  an emotional roller coaster I don’t think I can prepare for. Oh and I get to see all those babies with sickle cell. Hmm that will be hard. I’ve been told that is a very troubling experience, you know, all those sick babies. God give me strength, Babies with sickle cell disease! Don’t know how am gonna do that. U need to experience the pain to get it. All babies can do is cry, how do you know, how can you tell exactly where the pain is? Hmm ! Lord grant me strength.

Anyways, that’s in 5 weeks from now. Now though, I am enjoying my vacation. Y’all will be hearing a lot more from me now.  Live each day to the fullest. Make each day count.

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AGGRESIVE PHYSIOTHERAPY!!!

SICKLE LIFE

After defaulting on physiotherapy for about three weeks,  I went back sometime last week. Some  hostility was anticipated, but, boy, were they pissed! With good reason, I must add.

Physiotherapy like any other form of therapy, is a process not a single event. Missing a day, and in my case three weeks, was basically nullifying all the efforts that had been put in. I really, do know better, I shouldn’t have missed all those physio sessions. I’ve done the whole judgmental doctor/ medical student thing, when a patient with a chronic medical condition simply refuses to take their medication, and presents later with some serious complication which could most likely have been prevented if they just stuck to the recommended therapy. Yeah I get it, I shouldn’t have defaulted, there were just too many factors at play

Okay, so here we go. Obviously no excuse quite cuts it. But really…

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AGGRESIVE PHYSIOTHERAPY!!!

After defaulting on physiotherapy for about three weeks,  I went back sometime last week. Some  hostility was anticipated, but, boy, were they pissed! With good reason, I must add.

Physiotherapy like any other form of therapy, is a process not a single event. Missing a day, and in my case three weeks, was basically nullifying all the efforts that had been put in. I really, do know better, I shouldn’t have missed all those physio sessions. I’ve done the whole judgmental doctor/ medical student thing, when a patient with a chronic medical condition simply refuses to take their medication, and presents later with some serious complication which could most likely have been prevented if they just stuck to the recommended therapy. Yeah I get it, I shouldn’t have defaulted, there were just too many factors at play

Stimulator/ endotherapy machine, sends impulses, helps to relieve pain. (Pain gate theory)

Stimulator/ endotherapy machine, sends impulses, helps to relieve pain. (Pain gate theory)

Okay, so here we go. Obviously no excuse quite cuts it. But really, I hate physiotherapy. Simply. That is all I got. I just don’t like the idea of having electrical impulses passed into my muscles, to stimulate some nerves to cause the release of certain substances, which basically function to prevent me from feeling pain. Yeah, I know, what is all this? Principle at work is the gate control theory of pain. Apparently it works, and since I am too young for a hip replacement surgery now, that is all I got. Oh wait, that is not all, so after electrical impulses, we do the infrared rays  (thermal stimulation). Yeah, I hate it all.

Physiotherapy makes me feel disabled. In the “unable-to-function-unless-I-get-electrical-impulses-and-infrared-rays-passed-into-me”, sense of the word. You know that feeling right? Probably not. I didn’t even know such a thing existed till I started physio. Its like I need this, so I don’t feel the pain as my femoral heads turn to ‘cheese’ and collapse one of these days. What happened to the strong, independent woman? Apparently she needs to be ‘recharged’ from time to time to function. It doesn’t quite sit well with me. But hey, at least, I don’t have to be in pain everyday, I should be glad.

Then there is the whole messing with my schedule part of this physiotherapy thing. Medical schools generally, well, in my opinion, try to fit 48 hours of work into 24 hours. It is absurd. You wake up tired and go to bed exhausted. Anyways,thing is, I don’t have time to spare. I basically have to choose between physiotherapy and lectures or ward work. Of course, my health comes first, definitely physiotherapy takes it. But come on, I am not even sick, and am missing so much school work, walking in late to class and such. I don’t like it. Am just constantly in catch up mode. It sucks. I should be grateful tho, am not in that much pain these days, I am only scheduled to have physio twice weekly. It could be worse. I could be missing more classes. Guess I just gotta suck it up and hope for the best.

Now to the immediate cause. These things had been bugging me for a while, but the last straw that broke the camel’s back? Well, for one thing, it was a few weeks to exams. I could not afford to keep missing classes/ tutorials. On the morning of my scheduled physio appointment I had two tutorials. That is another beef I have with the medical school system, they cant seem to be able to keep to their own schedule. Timetable says, I am free, so I schedule physio, next minute, I hear a class or tutorial has been moved to this free time. lt is like we don’t have lives outside medical school,

Anyways, so I decided, to miss one tutorial, go for my physio appointment and rush back for the second tutorial. Those people don’t mess with their time. You are scheduled for a certain time, you better be there. And I was, but somehow, they delayed. 30 minutes, past my scheduled time and I hadn’t been called in. Obviously I was pissed. Why did I miss the first tutorial? I should have just gone for it, because, there I was, delayed 30 minutes, I probably wasn’t going to make it to the second tutorial either. This was just two weeks to exams. Those tutorials are important, not to be missed. So I went in, and calmly , maybe not so calmly  told the physiotherapist that she was wasting my time.Well, something to that effect.  Guess I struck a wrong note. For one, she was new, I had never met her.

So she called me in. And oh, she was rough. Those electrical impulses I mentioned earlier? They didn’t feel right. Felt different, continuous, painful. So I complained.( Ain’t nobody gonna be stimulating my nerves no wrong way.) Lord knows the damage she could have done.  Anyways, she did not quite seem to care. According to her she had set the machine to just the right amount of electrical impulses I was supposed to get. I know for a fact, it is not supposed to hurt while I get treatment. But she left me there in  pain. And there. I had had enough. After my treatment, I just decided, to hell with this physio thing. You ain’t gonna cause me to miss classes, waste my time, inflict pain and be giving me major attitude too. So I decided no more physio for me till after exams. I had more important things to do, So after I was done with exams  I returned. As I already mentioned they were pissed

Fortunately, this unpleasant physiotherapist was not around. I had one of my original physiotherapists. Initially the electrical impulses hurt, I complained and he managed to get it to stop hurting but still stimulate the nerves, unlike the “camel back breaking physiotherapist.”

So am back to my good patient ways. Been attending physio religiously. Except, for some strange reason, I forgot to go yesterday. Simply forgot, that has never happened. I never just forget. I may consciously decide not to go, but forget?. I suspect it has something to do with the french fries I was in a hurry to get for lunch. Hopefully they don’t get too pissed off on Monday, They really need to take a chill pill. I simply forgot. it Happens

MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION! (Series)

Went to see a GP yesterday, because I got this rash, apparently a hypersensitivity reaction to something. I don’t know what. Got that sorted. Then we got talking. Do you know some pastors flat out prevent people from getting married because they are both AS? ( Haemoglobin genotype). No. Really, seriously, am not kidding! (Guess that is a blog topic for another day, because I got so much to say.) mmm!!!

So on http://www.facebook.com/SickleLife I am asking a simple question. Well not so simple. Say you are AA, you don’t have sickle cell disease. There is no chance whatsoever of your children having sickle cell disease, they may have the trait, but, big deal, that is a problem for another generation, right?

So, WOULD YOU MARRY/ DATE A PERSON LIVING WITH SICKLE CELL DISEASE?

Admittedly it is a genetic disease, but I covered that, with the assumption up there that you are AA. So, it is not about being wicked or thoughtless and the other ways some (I’m guessing pastors included) like to describe it. This is just you and your partner.

You have got a little insight into my struggles with sickle cell, maybe have a few friends with the disease, observed their struggles too, read some material online. It is generally not easy, but it is a whole spectrum. So based on what you know, will you? Really? Date someone living with sickle cell disease?

I think the “MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION SERIES” is a great opportunity for me to know your views about sickle cell disease, your personal struggles and those of people you know. I could have gone straight to the AS/AS couple, but that is a little more challenging, considering the unknown variables involved.  Lets start with the simple and build up momentum.

So, is this something you can do? You are AA, your partner probably SS or SC. No chance of passing on the disease to your kids. Is this something you would do?

Please comment below. I would especially, love to know your reasons. Thank you.