Internship for Dummies

To become a doctor, you spend four and a half years of your tiny life in the medical school. When you start, you have that spark, the will to excel, you (and your parents) are on cloud 9. I have seen a junior ask a senior, with all the seriousness on his face, “Sir, Top karne ke liye kitna padhna padta hai?

And then the dream shatters. You have incoming missiles by the name of Anatomy, Biochemistry and Physiology. And as you succeed to dodge one lot, an even deadlier one is headed your way.

And when you somehow manage to survive this brutal massacre, you enter into this new world where you are no longer supposed to remember complex names but learn the process to make the patient healthy. And this is different from anything that you have done before or seen people doing. It’s called the internship.

It starts from something as simple as drawing blood! (Actually, that’s most of what you do). The first time that I was asked to draw blood, I had only seen it being done a couple of times. I was explained the procedure… just push the needle into the vein and draw. Simple! Well, it is. But the thrill you get when your needle punctures the vein and dark red blood gushes into the syringe is immense.

As time goes by, you start doing things that are way cooler than sucking blood out of every vein you can see. Pushing a needle up patient’s spine and collecting the CSF… How cool is that? With a little practice these are fairly easy procedures. But the sense of accomplishment is what makes everything else worthwhile.

This is just the start. As you go to the surgical side, the journey becomes more thrilling. Not able to find the vein and your patient needs fluids? No problem! Let’s cut it open and put a catheter right in the vein. Excising cysts, suturing wounds, draining abscesses, they all are much more interesting when done than read.

What you also end up doing for most of your surgical posting is dressing wounds. And not just clean healing wounds… there are ulcers that have been rotting since months waiting for you to dress them. Then there are wounds with maggots crawling out of them. Wounds with muscles and tendons exposed and pus draining. And you are supposed to clean it all up and try to make it healthy!

Then there are the surgeries. The first time you hold the knife and incise the skin, it’s a really scary moment. What if I cut too much?, you think. And then you see your senior butcher his way in. It’s all so exciting to see blood on your gloves, even if all that you have done is no more than retracting the skin! And then there is your first surgery as first surgeon! Of course it’s going to be just a hydrocele surgery, but the excitement of cutting things open is great!

And then there is the part where you deliver babies. Really scary… you start to try to remember all the various ways the baby has to bend his way out, something that had twisted your brain in the final year and would definitely put the best yoga gurus to shame! And then all of a sudden, the head pops out… after a few chants of laga laga the shoulder, the hand, trunk and finally the legs are out! And then you start to think… what did you really do? Why in the name of god did you learn all those relations of the fetal head with the maternal pelvis, when all you had to do is some fielding practice!

And how can we forget the OPD. You sit there seeing patients after patients, referring most of them to the specialists. And every now and then, prescribing them… that’s right, prescribing them drugs! This is such a wonderful feeling of… grandeur!

All this sprinkled with a bucket load of clerical jobs is internship in a nutshell. Yes, it gets monotonous at times. Your PGs would make you go through all sorts of crap. At times you would be stuck in the wards for days, cut off from the outside world. But what this does is makes you feel like a part of the system. You can now associate yourself with the medical profession. Internship as a whole is many small experiences put together. Each one special, each one different, each one thrilling. And when seen together, it’s one heck of an adventure!

Once and for all…. its over!!!

…an X-ray on Bladder stone, a specimen of bladder stone, a right angled clamp, autoclaving, hernioplasty, fibula, the austin moore hip prosthesis and I was done!!! That was the final 20 mins of my last exam (fingers crossed). And what a relief it is. I came out of the surgery seminar room at about 5 and didnt realise what just happened. This is what I have been waiting for not just for the last few months, but for the last 4 years, maybe longer.

After I sat for the Peads theory exam on 3rd Dec (which didnt go so well), there was a huge gap before my practicals started. Most of us enjoyed the first 15 days as if the exams were over. But as 29th Dec came closer, I started feeling the heat rise.

First came Paediatrics, I was allotted the same case as 5 other. Why do you think should I go through the pain of taking the history and examining the child? I took a short history just in case, and copied the rest from a friend. The examiner wasnt that nice though, he would flip through topics like a girl would flip through a recipe book to figure out what to cook!! In the end, it didnt even feel that I was done with Paediatrics.

Obs & Gynae was next on 2nd Jan. Me, Shashi, Swapnaja and a couple others took the case together. A Obs case couldnt have been easier! The examiner, instead of asking me about my case, which was IUGR, decided to go a different way. He asked me everything about placenta previa. But that went well. Overall, this exam was satisfactory. But still I couldnt feel the relief of finishing two of the four.

Next was the mighty medicine! Honestly, I was scared. We went in and I was allotted short cases… guess what… Psoriasis!!! I had read about it a month back and not in my wildest imagination expected not just me, but anyone to get that as a case. It was as if someone was teasing me. But that went well in the end. The long case was a good case of Pleural Effusion. It was an excellent case with great findings. But guess what… they didnt ask me anything about what I had found, or how did I elicit my findings. Every thing else went fine, but that was such a beautiful case!! Theres so much more that I could have told them. Anyway, this exam made me feel that I had done something. I was relieved!

Finally Surgery! Everything went simply great!! I was happy not just because I had done good, but because I had done it all!! Once and for all, I could say… its over!!

Almost there…

My Exams started on 18th of this month. 9 days, 7 papers, 4 subjects… and I would be done with the theory of my final year exams!!

That should have been today. But Mumbai went boom again!! Just before I finished reading the final few topics for my last exam, news started to pour in that the exams might get postponed. At 7, the news got confirmed. The exams have been postponed until further notice.

This would have been the last one!! I would have been free for another month, when I practicals start. But all that I can do is wait for the exam and study all over again 🙁

Update: Its on 3rd December…

32 Days…

Ever played a computer game? You have to get through a set of obstacles. Miss one step and you fall into the deep valley and die. Then you start again, until you have got it right. Then you move on to the next level. Its fun. Right?

I feel just like that. Minus the fun part. After tackling the pre university exams, and before I could even stand up straight, the next level is ahead of me. The University. Its the hardest of the levels.
No cheats, no god mode and the scaryest of the monsters who are most difficult to tackle. Let the games begin.

42 days on the board..

And on the positive side, 100 days to freedom. 15 Jan 09, I will be a free man. No more study or you will fail. No more stop wasting your time on the computer. No more you sleep too much. I get to do what ever I want, when I want and for as long as I want. My exams get over on that day. But as I said, thats like a light year away.

Back to reality, today was my pre-university medicine practical. And i was the extreme opposite of wonderful. I had a CNS case (my bad luck starts). I had taken hemiplagia on a few other occasions. No big deal. I was confident.
After about about 1 hr, very satisfied with what I had done with history and examination, the examiner came. I started presenting. And then i saw my beautiful poetic creation being riped to shreds. Words after words were thrown back at me. The brain never seemed so unfamiliar to me. About 1 hr had passed. From chief complaints to management, every single line had been scrutinised. I was numb. A lightening had struck me.
Then he left. Just like that. I was assaulted. My confidence shattered. Everything seemed dull.
But this is just the beginning. There is surgery tomorrow.
Update: Surgery wasn’t that bad. In fact it was good. Obgyn and Pediatrics left (fingers crossed).

The Final Frontier

I have a blackboard in my hostel room. Many would think that I use it for noting down important stuff or practicing diagrams or teach someone (why would you ever think that? Honostly). But thats not it. It shows in huge letters the no 50. Thats the no of days left for 18 nov!

Now whats so great abt that date? Lets start with, its a tuesday, just another working day for most of you. The new NFS game gets released on that day. Yeah, thats exciting but not enough to get me to countdown to it (I didnt countdown to the iPhone release and i was superexcited abt that). Then what is it? Well, thats the day the biggest exams of my life starts. I am going to sit for the final year MBBS exams.
Once its over (and if i pass), i am going to be a doctor… Yeah! But that seems like a lightyear away.

Boys gone Wild!

It wasnt just another cricket match. It was an Indo-Pak match. Not just that, it was the finals. It doesn’t end there, it was the world cup finals!!! (Thats right, three exclamations). We all know what happened. A perfect Indo-Pak World Cup Final! As Ravi Shastri put it quite well, with all the spiciness of the south asia! A low scoring first innings by India (What have they done?). The tug of war continues as Pakistan is doing well in the initial overs of the second innings. Indian bowlers put the breaks in the middle. India sails for a clear victory. Can that happen? IndoPak cant be so simple. The rollercoaster has got to have a few more bends. In comes Bhajji. 3 sixes of him. Equations change. Pakis see the finish line. They need 20 of 12, 13 of 6, 12 of 6, 12 of 5, 6 of 4. They had almost done that snatching of victory thing. But the coaster had another turn. The rest is history. India lift the T20 world cup! A total masala, twist in the tale, sports thriller that can give most movies a run for their money. And if you saw till the very end, there is even a topless scene. But that not what I want to talk about now. I wish to tell you the story of the other side of our TV screen.

The excitement was high when I got out of my ophthalmology lecture at 5:30 today. I reached the mess still carrying the PSM book that I was reading in the lecture. And an awkward sight meet my eye. Everyone was nicely sitting in a uniform fashion, tables well arranged. But then “Tum sab ke ghar main phone karunga… blah… blah…” explained it all. Dr Ghosh(Warden JNBH) was mad about the broken utensils and benches during the India-Australia Semi Finals. Soon the first ball was bowled and his voice was lost. Soon enough he left.

Empty oil cans were summoned in no time. Noise never felt so good. The juniors played the cans to celebrate every shot. But it was more of nail biting. Curses flew all around the room. “Saale kya kar rahe hai?”, “Inse acha to hum khel sakte hai”, “Abe maar na!!”. By the end of the innings, there was disappointment. What have they done? 157 in a T20 world cup final? Thats not enough. We have lost the cup.

But hope filled the mess to the brim for the second innings. The melodious noise of oil cans and a cooler tank filled the hall. Wicket in the first over, and everyone went berserk. We were all on our feet, arms up in the air. Yeah! We’re going to win. But the next over bought us back to our seats. Chants of “Bharat Mata ki Jai” “Pakistan ki….” provided the chorus. More curses were thrown at the anti-Indian decisions by the umpire (Kaha wide thi? Itna to chalta hai…), and the Indian bowlers (Kaha se select ho ke aa jate hai?).

But the Indians pulled the rope and the Pakistani graph stopped climbing. Every dot ball or a single was met with applause. Hearts were thumping (not as much as the oil cans, now deformed and unrecognisable). Were we going to win a world cup? None of us had seen that happen. Some of weren’t there and the others had much more important matters to attend to. So this was it. India Vs Pakistan. World Cup Final. India in a winning position. Pakistan doing a mere 7/over when the required rate was touching 12. Wickets kept falling for the Pakistan camp. And everyone of them was well screamed for!

Bhajji came in, cheers!! He gave them three sixes! “Saale ne kya kar diya?” Shreesanth gives 15 more runs in the next over. All they need is a manageable 20 of 12. Tensions were high? Will India finally lose to Pakistan in a world cup? The heat is on and we were all literally sweating. It looked like the pakis were doing their jobs quite well. Silence in the TV hall. Sharma is hit for a six when they need only 12. People start to lose their heads. “Isko kyu di bowling?”. Misbah screwed the final act for Pakistan. As of the Indians, the drama couldn’t have been better. We were T20 world champions, defeating mighty Australia, South Africa and finally Pakistan on our way.

It was like a soda bottle being opened after violent shakes. We danced like there was no tomorrow, seniors, juniors and PGs alike. Shirts went off, high five exchanged, another bench broken, more of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and other holy mantras. And finally, fireworks!

A perfect match. Total entertainment. But it was the TV hall that intensified it all!

Pulse 05

A few months ago, a few friends and I went to an annual medico meet. This is organised every year by the students union of AIIMS, Delhi. Medical undergraduates from all over the country come to attend this mega event.

About 15 of us were allowed to go from my college. It was a 7 day fun ride. To start with, we were greeted with rain, and that was a day down. We also had a lot of basic stuff to do, like getting a place to stay, arranging for other stuff that we might need. But after that, it was a frenzy!

There were many events, competitions, performances. But the best must definitely be the pop night. Euphoria simply rocked the AIIMS campus. Two hours straight! It was simply amazing. This being my first time in a live concert made it even more special. Seeing a celebrity a few meters away from you and doing what he does the best singing! It was mind blowing!!!

We also had late night dance. They call it MRC (Music Request Counter). It would start at around 11 in the night and would only end in the morning. Every night we would dance to exhaustion. It was freakin’ fun.

Besides, there would be regular airing of movies in one of the lecture theatres, academic competitions, quizzes and a whole lot of fun. We also went around the city. Hiking around, from one place to other. We saw the lotus temple, went to the Palika Bazaar, Nehru Place.

The train journey to and from Delhi along with friends was also great. We got to know each other better. New friends were made. Old friendships grew stronger. Over all, we took time out of our monotonous lives and had the fun we may never have in Sevagram.