Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Lust in Translation

I was told last week by my attending that having a medical student sit in on consultations all day was "a bit like having a hitch hiker in the car". That it made him feel slightly self conscious and ill at ease. I thought this was a rather hilarious analogy and so I repeated it to my new attending this week.

He too found it amusing. 

At the end of the day I was saying thank you and going on my merry way and down the hall I called out, "thanks for giving me a ride all afternoon" in reference to the hitch hiker statement. He was smiling and waving and then abruptly stopped with a strange and slightly embarrassed look on his face. 

Yeah. Then it clicked. I've made this mistake before. 

Ride in Ireland = Sex. 

Smooth, ABB. Really, smooth. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Oh COME on!!

Last Monday I started my placement at yet another hospital. It is the frustrating thing about this rotation: in an effort to expose us to various communities and outpatient clinics we have to travel to a new attachment for each of the six weeks. So, after the debacle in Hospital, Ireland two Mondays ago, I once again gave myself plenty of time, looked at two maps, and plugged my destination into the sat nav. 

I should have known that things were taking a turn for the worst again when the road began getting smaller and smaller, the crumbling castle ruins and petrol stations fading into the distance. Two old Irishman standing at a gate completely stopped talking to watch me roll by. Clearly I wasn't a local and clearly I didn't know where the eff I was going. 

And here, pictured below, was where my trusty sat nav directed me to. You may be able to read the "empty" status of my gas tank and appreciate that I had to back out  down the road because it was too small to turn around on. Yes, back out past the Irish farmers whose expressions may or may not have displayed a smirk at guessing my displacement. 

Of course I had to bail, once again and call the facility and request directions from "somewhere near the castle*". When I arrived, late, everyone made such a fuss over how often people get lost and how sorry they were that I had started my Monday that way. I was told to take a break and tea was made, scones were proffered and I figured, "Hmm, I could really get on board with this whole psychiatry thing!"


*Reason #342 that I love Ireland. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Understandably Lost

Tuesday was the first day of my new attachment in psychiatry. I had google mapped how to get there and saw that it took 39 mins, so I gave myself an hour. My prof had also passed on the typical vague Irish direction set, "Take the road, it kinda veers, follow that for a while, eventually turn right before the motorway, near the hill, you can't miss it..."

I figured, "a hospital in the midlands, how hard can it be?"

In Europe it isn't uncommon for many little towns to be on top of each other. You don't realize you've arrived in a new place because all you've done is cross the river, or cross the street. So when I was quite sure that I was getting close to the town my hospital was in I saw this sign:

So I followed the sign to the hospital, naturally. I was, in fact, delighted that someone had been clued in enough to provide direction to the hospital! I drove and drove, but seemed to be getting farther away from any town, with no hospital in sight. I was getting nervous now too as it was getting close to the hour I was supposed to start. 

Then I see the big sign, "Hospital". Perfect. Except I cannot see an actual hospital-y looking building anywhere. I see the "Hospital Traffic Calming Area" signs so I know I am in the area...but then I start to think that maybe I am having a mini-stroke or something because there is no hospital to be seen

Finally, I get out of my car to inspect an old, yet stately looking building which could certainly be a dilapidated Irish community hospital, only to discover it is in fact a town hall. 

I am now 10 minutes late. I give in and call the number given to me during orientation week, having no idea if it is the consultants mobile or the hospital administrator's emergency line . A woman answers and I say, 

"Hello, my name is ABB...I was supposed to start my psychiatry rotation today...but I appear to be lost. I followed the signs to the hospital but I can't seem to find it....anywhere!"

She chuckles. I am now acutely mortified by the fact that I am late and lost on my first day. 

"You're in the town of Hospital. Like how Kilmallock is the name of the town, you're in the town named Hospital...take the road back to Kilmallock and ring me when you get there. I'll give you directions from town."

Of course the town of Hospital had to be spitting distance from the town I was doing my placement in. 

Of course the town of Hospital has no hospital. 

Of course. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Hospital Fashion

This week has been comprised of mostly lectures and case-based learning for psyche. It's been a nice way to wade back into the hospital pool. My head would probably explode if I were doing 4h ward rounds and being pimped on things like the causes of ascites.

Also, our professor of psychiatry is a very dynamic, engaging lecturer who ensures we don't get bogged down in the language and the esoteric aspects of mental health. So that part has been entertaining and educational.

The other day I thought something he said was quite simple, but interesting. We were talking about the dress code on the psyche ward. He scanned the room to take in what we were all wearing (various degrees of LL Bean, basically).

Turtlenecks, they're so hip right now...turtlenecks.
He nodded and gave his approval, then said, "Just think, when you're getting dressed to come to the psyche ward, it is not about you, it is about the patients. If you're wearing provocative clothes, loud, dangly jewelery, etc., you might distress or distract some of the patients in ways that are uncomfortable for them. Bottom line: it is not about you."

I really liked that way of framing it. Because the school has given us detailed lists of 'acceptable' clothing options, though I have seen outfits trotted out. I think looking at what you wear to work in that light is probably the best gauge for appropriateness. Who am I wearing this for? And I'd say it applies outside the realm of psyche too.

All this, of course, coming from a woman who hopes to spend her life in scrubs and outlandish clogs. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Back in Eire

More airports, dragging my luggage behind me. More waiting at stuffy gates and cueing for dingy bathrooms. I was able to slightly balance my suitcase on my thigh while weighing in, which allowed me to avoid the $250 excess charge. I didn't feel guilty because last week they charged me $106 and then promptly lost my luggage for two days. I was worried my meeting with Brian was going to be in 3/4 length pajamas with hearts on them and a team-building exercise 1999 t-shirt.

The bright side was being met in Shannon by a friend who had packed an airport picnic lunch. Nothing like arriving to smoked salmon, Greek yogurt, and fresh berries, and a weak cup of Irish coffee.

Two days of mini-vaycay on the west coast, going to my treasured beach and drinking coffee at Moll's Gap was punctuated by having to wake up at 6am to drive to the hospital for my first day of placement.

Thankfully, I am doing a psyche rotation first which means a week of lectures before hitting the ward. It's been a nice way to ease back into school after a fairly frenetic summer, couch surfing from Squamish, BC to Charlottetown, PEI.

Right now life is a little hectic, 1/3 of my belongings in Kerry, 1/3 in the house I am moving into, and 1/3 in my current digs (a spare room at my friend Marg's parent's place) . I was going through bags finding camera battery chargers, hand blenders, lavender oil, textbooks, protein powder, pencil cases, and mittens, all thrown together. Needless to say I'm trying not to feel as scattered as my possessions.

For now, I have my notebook, two pens, clothes for work, and a travel mug. I'll survive the next few weeks until the dust settles. 

Final med: no excuses!