Five down, one more to go

It is sometimes hard to believe that I have completed stastically speaking, 83% of the two-year compulsory housemanship. One not without any challenges, controversies and well, challenges (again). It was never entirely smooth sailing, the hormones have all gone haywire and the weight piling up. Does that not sound familiar after all these years?

At the end of my fifth installment, I think I have grown stronger. In fact, I have reached a point where I thought I have made that leap at the end of last year when I stopped crying. I used to get really tensed up and worked up that I just resolve to tears. It isn't because anyone reprimanded me, it was that inner demon that I was battling with. I wanted to do things well. It was hard to comprehend now that I have become rather stony. But at the end of my surgical posting, I told myself never again would I cry for things that were not going to worth my tears. I left after a brief duty in urology and started off orthopaedics at the most tumultuous times at the department.

That, I am afraid, was November 2013.

It is now July 2014 and I have since completed four months of orthopaedics feeling accomplished that I never needed to reduce to tears anymore. My bosses there (not the biggest one, mind you) were nice to me and helped me through. I was the assistant leader who arranged teaching schedules, mentor-mentee and various little things. It was a little extra work on top the mundane stuffs, but it was bearable. I had a fine time.

March was when I left for the most dreaded and feared posting ever - the paediatrics. Never quite a paediatric fan, I remember the chilly days when I had to travel down to East Surrey Hospital in Redhill for my clinical posting. It was depressing as I ate grapes for dinner and skived every Friday to return to London for my Thursday evening Emma Baker pharmacology lectures.

So, you get the gist. Just not a paed fan out there.

I entered the posting as the 'fifth poster'. Funny how people count the number of posting you survived to judge your seniority and your capabilities in this part of the world. Everyone talked about how tough the tagging period would ensue. Tagging, is an entirely new term to me before I came back to work.

Alright, I lied. I knew what 'tagging' was. I have a sister who although is just a year my senior, somehow ended up something like four years my senior in service. So yes, I have heard of tagging since November 2009.

Oh, I digressed.

Where was I? Paediatrics. Tagging, to cut the long story short, is about working a stretch of unbelievably inhuman hours just to learn to be functional on the job. We had heard of stories where people worked 6am til 2am and got back again next day at 2am. Merely 4 hours off and you're back at work? That's possibly only 2.5hours of sleep, if you would ask me.

So, one would have to tag for 10 days in this department before they are deemed functional and functioning. I expected the worst but I think the friends I tagged with made it so much easier and happier during those days. I had one who was really steady that I just rely on and another who would drop funny facts like, "did you know syringes used to be made using metal and it was in blah-blah-blah year that insert-name invented plastic syringes ecetra ecetra."

Those days, perhaps I shall look back with some fondness.

Other than that, sorry, but paediatric is just not my cup of tea. Or coffee, in my context. I had some glitches as I failed assessments and nearly got extended in the posting. I was petrified at the final few weeks of my service in that department, wearing this I-am-so-fed-up look. But God has never failed me. I passed and now, at the end of my leave before starting an entirely new department, anaesthetics.

I have not even started to write about that huge dilemma I initially had choosing between emergency medicine and anaesthetics. I have always enjoyed anaesthetics in medical school. Alright - maybe I enjoyed Patrick Wong whoving me a 20 pound note to buy M&S cookies and coffee to sneak in the OT (oh, and then I got banned from entering M&S with scrubs!), or the fact that my consultant anaesthetists Dr Liban were family friends with Nadal, and the registrar's parents in law staying behind Andy Murray in Oxshott. Those 'anaesthetics' fun times would never be the same back in oh-so-exotic Borneo.

Then, there was this critical time in my life when I actually told myself that perhaps emergency medicine is the way to go in terms of picking up experiences to then go private or something. GP was one of the things in my mind at that point. But knowing how controversial both postings are, at the end, my name appeared under Anaesthetics.

I have 3 more days to go before reporting to the anaesthetist on call on a Saturday morning. My anaesthetics experience would never be how enjoyable it had been back in London, but what it entails this time would remain a mystery for me to uncover.


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