BRAINS!

Here’s a late Halloween scare: the semester is winding down. With the semester go the days at the hospital for our medical internship. For most of the members of our group, this was just a preview of what is to come. For me, this was my last big adventure outside of my chosen medical field. Don’t misunderstand me, I cannot wait to get started learning more about physical therapy but I do not know how many more surgeries I’ll be able to watch just standing in the corner or even scrubbing in. 

For one, about two weeks ago, I watched brain surgery. The hilarious coincidence was that the game Humans vs. Zombies was happening at ND at the same time. Amid the facebook statuses of ‘I’m a Zombie, feed me braaaiinns” I was able to say that I actually saw one being operated on. The surgeon removed a tumor from the right parietal lobe and the poor patient had so many wires coming out of them that I couldn’t name a role for each of them. There was a central line sutured to the patient’s chest providing direct access to their heart, two IVs in one arm and one in the other. 

A fun idea that I thought of to build a study or trial for regards music played during surgery. If a surgeon plays one type of music for a patient who is conscious, partly conscious or unconscious does the patient develop an aversion to or subconsciously associate pain or tissue damage with that type of music? I would be intrigued to see if anesthesia knocked out those parts of the brain that register those kinds of things.  

When I went to the emergency room, we were able to observe many different types of patients. Almost every patient that goes to Hospital General del Norte first goes through Urgencias (Emergency). I learned how to rule out appendicitis based on the order of symptoms. (For future reference: 1st pain, 2nd vomiting, and 3) fever) If the symptoms don’t appear in that specific order then you can rule it out easily. 

Not all of my days were that exciting, of course. I had a wonderful doodling session during a class on Diabetes Mellitus because I am already very familiar with the topic. The doodles start at the bottom left and improve as I woke up. They flow counterclockwise. As a Whovian (Doctor Who fan), a good motivator to get me to stay awake is to mention one of the Doctor’s nemeses: the Weeping Angels. They cannot move while you are looking at them but when you look away….they have teeth. It’s very frightening. Hence: “Must. Not. Blink.” and the angel coming closer. I had the random desire to draw Snoopy which inspired the poorly drawn Charlie Brown scene. I then looked up from my drawings to notice my compatriot also starting to doze so I drew a Game of Thrones related doodle to make him laugh. 

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Fun (not really) fact: In Taiwan, fifty four percent of adolescents younger than 19 have Diabetes Mellitus type 2! Scary! That class concluded with a quick game of hangman where the word was, appropriately, narcolepsy. 

I also got to learn a lot from the anesthesiologist on my second day of orthopedic surgery. I never really understood the depth of knowledge that they have of the nerves and how they connect to each part of the body. The breadth of information that the anesthesiologist imparted to us in rapid Spanish hopefully stuck in my subconscious because I can’t remember as much as I want to for the life of me. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time shadowing at the hospitals here in Puebla. If I never see another surgery, I will still be satisfied because I have been so blessed with opportunities to see them here. I have one week left of rotations where I get to choose where to go. I’m definitely going to stalk the orthopedic surgery room 1) because the surgeon speaks English and can understand my broken Spanish questions and 2) because it is extremely interesting to me. (I’ve said incredible, amazing and awesome too many times in this post.) I have one a half weeks left of school here. What happened to the semester?!?

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