Tag Archives: sicklelife

Par Orchids!!!


When it rains it pours. Isn’t that what they say? A few days ago I woke up with my orchids blooming. My high quality, incomparably beautiful orchids were blooming. What orchids you ask? Yeah, what orchids?

PAROTIDS! Those salivary glands at the angle of the jaw through which the facial nerve and it’s branches course. Remember TO ZINZIBA BY MOTOR CAR? Oh how I hated anatomy. Anyways, my parotids were swollen, I could barely open my mouth, and of course, the pain. Oh the pain, and in a flash, everything that could go wrong came to me. My parotids were inflamed, but why? Even more importantly, CAN A GIRL NOT HAVE A DAY OF PEACE??? AAARRRRGGGHHH!!!!

Typical of a medical student I went for the worst possible cause. Chronic liver disease. Chr…whaaat? “But of course” Ok typical medical student, once we are taught something,trust, we will diagnose it in someone, most likely ourselves first. I wonder how many people auscultated murmurs in themselves after we had lectures on them.There was a time pretty much all of us thought we had obsessive compulsive disease, yes, after the lecture. It’s just a thing.

So, back to the orchids, it could only be chronic liver disease. Then it hit me, guurllll, you are being ridiculous, what happened to mumps and all the other causes of acute parotitis, especially so, when you have been battling a sore throat all week. Chill. Ok, ok, get dressed go see a doctor. Someone to make an objective diagnosis because this is not helping.

Then I had my bath, but I did. Errrmmmm, shall we focus on the medicine and not my goat milk shower gel (wink*) or the fact that I was naked. Stop pretending, y’all shower naked too. Ok so since I was in the shower, why not undertake a full physical exam? Oh I went ninja mode stigmata of chronic liver disease.

Turns out I do not have palmar erythema or spider naevaei. No caput medussa , now that would have been a cool find, would have taken a selfie AFTER I GOT DRESSED to show my caput medussa. What else is there to find in chronic liver disease? Jaundice, naah. Gynaecomastea, well, ermmm, female, boobs! No clubbing ( oh not your regular clubbing) Ok so there was some abdominal pain in the hypochondrium. Oh wait, wrong side, left, that’s just my spleen, unless…? Naah

Ok, so it’s not chronic liver. Obviously! But who thought it was. Not me. (Looks away with innocent face*), I do have the enlarged parotids and easy bruising tho. Let’s see what my objective long trusted hematologist says. Am guessing a liver function test is not out of the question. Lord knows my liver and kidneys have been through a hell of lot. Really, all those meds? I hope it is not catching up with me. Damn I’m too young for this. 70 is a cool catch up age.

So I was at the sickle cell clinic. YipeeUUURRRGGGHHHH! My haematologist is the best. Eeerrmm, my labs were deranged, like that is any news. So this parotitis is either bacterial or viral. If viral, mumps, of course it will be the person with sickle cell to get it first, there is no history of contact tho. Talk about immunosupression, alternatively it could be last week’s sore throat gone haywire. Eitherways can’t I just be normal. So, it is not chronic liver disease, as was already established from my thorough THOROUGH clinical examination. (Wink*) So I came home with some antibiotics and analgesics and of course the advice to drink loads of water. For the viral component, you know, TLC! Applications are more than welcome. Specifications, I like dark chocolate. #okbye. From comments on my last post, a back rub never hurt šŸ˜‰

So the labs, as I expected, a liver function test, clotting profile and blood film comment in addition to those I did at the clinic. I must have mentioned somewhere that this sickle cell thing is expensive! Plus, I missed ward rounds to go to the clinic. Oh I am not going to pretend to be sad about that. It adds up tho, all those missed days, it gets costly. I’m probably going to miss next week too considering the current state of affairs. I love my life! Not!

How am I now? Crappy with a cherry on top. The orchids are still blooming and expanding fast. Temperature is still high, it hurts to eat and I am weak. Lips are cracked because, well, there is only so much water a girl can drink. I am just hoping I don’t develop a VOC this weekend and end up in the ER. I can feel little aches and pains. I wish I could have an IV fluid going so I don’t have a crisis because that is what these infections do, but I can’t just walk into the ER with my pearly whites and request for that, someone will accuse me of being a drug seeker. “And ohh they gon have it, except, I can barely open my mouth and I am too weak for drama.” I am just going to wait this one out!

Do pray for me. Not in the mood for the ER anytime soon. Oh then there is the fact that I missed a gorgeous clothing line launch. This is how a person gets tagged as flakey. Spontaneous bouts of debilitating illness. Hmm. Oh well! This sickle life tho.

Live each day to the fullest guys, make it count. If you are out be safe. Do an extra whatever you are doing for me.


Spent the whole of yesterday detained at the sickle cell clinic trying to correct dehydration and lethargy from not eating anything in 24 hrs. Fortunately, while on pain meds I was able to eat some rice. Just woke and tried eating again. Ouchhh!!! Guess I may have to go in for for full admission to receive adequate mainten…

Then I was brought to the ER. Was feeling too weak last night, just had to get some glucose in, sips of juice all day certainly wasn’t helping. Working diagnosis now is SIALADENITIS / PAROTITIS.

In other news, some people are just so uncouth. Acting like they are in their own homes while in the hospital. Like seriously, I am trying to sleep here. Plugs ears, covers face, attempts to sleep!!!


BROKEN??? (Part 2)

To post or not to post? This has been the question I have grappled with for a while. Kept telling myself, Is it not just sour grapes? Get over it girl. Grow up. Really, what benefit is anyone going to derive from reading this. Most importantly, I told myself, you put yourself out thereĀ  as a strong young lady, this however, is so outĀ  of character. Just drop it! Well, I am only human, and there is only so much I can take. When boundaries are crossed, people get hurt.

So, the day of the exam came… I wasn’t exactly impressed with myself at my first clinical station thus the plan was to go all out at station two. Examine the ABDOMINAL SYSTEM. Abdominal system? Really? I know we are all not medical students, but any fifth grader can tell you, the abdominal system does not exist.Basic Science! The gastrointestinal system is what exists. Why the fuss you ask? Well, we have all had examinations. Everyone knows that understanding the instruction is as much a part of the exam as answering the question. So I repeated, Sir, abdominal system? And he, in harsh tone replies,Ā  I said examine the abdominal system.

This little stunt at the beginning of the exam could make or break you. Was I to examine the gastrointestinal system, where for example I could pick up jaundice in the eyes indicative of a possible chronic liver disease or was it just an abdominal exam, where all i had to do was examine the abdomen? My plan, do the abdomen then a general if I had time. After all if I was told to examine the precordium, I will certainly examine the area over the heart before attempting a general exam. God help me if any lecturer thought it within his power to ask a student to examine the precordial system or chest system, sound ridiculous, right? Yeah, so is the abdominal system.

This is Africa tho. Adults are gods. Who are you to challenge a consultant? They are allowed to do as they please. Pull stunts like this without any repercussions. Medical school examinations are so subjective, it is sickening. Get one consultant and you know you are very likely to fail, irrespective of your efforts. All the people I went with failed. U get just enough not to pass. what is called a VITO mark. Palpate deeply or lightly, you are wrong. Percuss firmly or softly you are wrong. We came out, and sharing our experiences, it was obvious, all he was there to do, was to disapprove of our actions. Case in point, for my ABDOMINAL SYSTEM exam, general exam was to be at the end, for my partner, general exam was at the beginning, guess what, we both failed. There was simply no passing with him.

Back to my exam, so I started, and he had problems with everything I did. U will think the consultants who taught me for 12 weeks were a bunch of idiots. Good thing I know better, this was just a person who had positioned himself to criticize everything. Then it happened. I started tearing up, I could not take it anymore. Was I really that stupid? Did I really know nothing at all? Was all that coming to the ward while unwell wasted. Why did I come to the wards the previous week when I was in so much pain, and yet right there during the exam, everything was wrong. Tears started rolling down my cheeks.

Then I found an enlarged spleen in my patient. Was taking out my tape to measure, which was normal practice on the floor on which I had been taught for 12 weeks. His exact words: “If you take out your tape measure you will see what I will do to you”. Sorry. Is it just me, or was that a threat. During an examination! What did I do to merit that? So, his point, estimate the size of that spleen. Maybe I should have figured it out. I didn’t. Direct communication will certainly have been more beneficial. He then proceeded to a time wasting strategy of asking about distances from Accra to London, and how they are obtained. Seriously dude, am in an exam, u really think that’s where my mind is? A colleague was asked to explain an idiomatic expression. Seriously. During an exam. It had no bearing whatsoever on the exam being done. All he sought to do, distract us and waste our time.

Back to measurements? What is the difference between 7cm, 8cm and 9cm, by estimation. Guess Mr consultant forgot that the difference between massive and moderate splenomegaly is 1 cm. A centimeter that can easily be missed. So in the end, we settled on massive splenomegaly, He wanted differentials, I gave him that, then he asks a question I obviously didn’t know the answer to. My reply, sir, I don’t know, guess what? He goes like, I knew you did not know that is why I asked you. Seriously dude!

In summary, I did it all. Was spot on with my diagnosis. Gave my differentials. Yes so I cried. No I did not do a general exam, guess what, the guy who did, failed too. He had cause to complain about my examination skills, but well, that was him just being… and I fail! Icing on the cake, I know people who straight up missed diagnoses. Located pleural effusion on the wrong side of the chest, no it was not an error in reporting. Full on got the diagnosis wrong. If your mom was the patient, with the pleural effusion diagnosed on the wrong side. Lord help her, yet somehow passed. Because they met a different consultant. Me and all those who went to this one guy, fail, for myself, after doing everything right. It is just unfair

The unfairness of this exam alone speaks volumes. Placed against the backdrop of my personal struggles to make it to this exam, I got to a point of asking myself, really, whats the point? Why go all out? If all its going to take is for one consultant on the day of exams, due to some highly subjective marking scheme, to fail me. I might as well notĀ  put in the effort. He broke me. Never thought I will see the day. I am trying to crawl out of this pit because it can only lead to self destruction. Two more years of medical school, many more exams, I need to start caring again. At this point, no more pushing through the pain. If I happen to be feeling sick, I stay in my room. If I am in school, and I feel sick, I leave. No more all out. It doesn’t pay. Definitely not in medical school. Whats important to me now, my health, health and health. If however you are in a place where putting in extra effort gives tangible results, please go all out. I just got tired of putting my health at risk for no real value. That’s not to say I amĀ  being lazy about my work. I am certainly doing the basics. Just cutting down on the extras, hopefully, for now.

Far reaching effects of one persons actions. It is unfortunate, but real. Please consider the full effects of what you say or do on others. A lot of people go through so much on a daily basis, so the little things you do, may have a much greater impact than you can even begin to imagine


AFTER SURGERY EXAM. Surgery rotation was all about my health. Paradigm shift. Crawling outta the pit, gradually