Continuing the reflection of my work experience at my local hospital, the end of the week was just as exciting as the start. Wednesday began with the TSS ward round again, where I continued to learn how to interpret chest x-rays, and followed the treatment of many patients I had seen before. The lady with jaundice due to her liver failure was still smiling despite her deterioration, however the ward was also filled with new patients we had not seen before. A particularly memorable case was a drug overdose, a young woman with a suspected tear in her oesophagus who was reluctant to undergo any treatment, but after speaking to a doctor relaxed into the hospital environment and was much more willing to cooperate. Perhaps the highlight of my day were an elderly couple who warmed everyone’s hearts – she was desperate to have him home. After speaking to them for a while, ‘just a touch of heart failure and pneumonia’ wasn’t going to worry them, and in her words was nothing they couldn’t handle. Her positivity and supportiveness of her husband was endearing, and I couldn’t help but smile at her excitement towards his discharge.
I spent the afternoon at the endoscopy unit with a consultant, watching and learning about the procedures he undertook. The first of which was a colonoscopy of a young and cheerful (slightly drowsy due to the medication!) male. It was particularly interesting to see the tiny ulcers in his colon, and how small biopsies and photographs could be taken using the equipment. As he was an outpatient, he was given steroids to take home to and reduce the inflammation. The second procedure I witnessed was a stark contrast to the first, a frail, elderly man who was an inpatient. He had a gastroscopy, which was used as a diagnostic procedure, hoping to find the source of a bleed. By this point the blues had stopped, but the end of the oesophagus was inflamed with ulcers. However, this was a particularly interesting case as the consultant made me consider whether this invasive procedure was a good thing for patient, who was so frail and elderly. The possibility of over investigating was an interesting and complex one, and led me to believe that if it was my grandparent, I wouldn’t want the procedure done unless they were in serious pain, or it was urgently life threatening. These procedures are simple with relatively few risks, but they are also unpleasant and undignified.
Wednesday definitely opened up my eyes to the harsh realities of medicine and the unpleasantries of certain procedures. I really enjoyed learning and speaking to patients on ward rounds and finding out about their own hospital experiences.