Saturday, September 17, 2011

Residency: Term 1 – Emergency

Internship was over, and I returned to Emergency for my first term as a resident.

I was correct in my prediction at the end of this post: I felt much more confident heading into this term. I really enjoyed myself.

I don't have any particularly exciting stories to share. I didn't get as much experience in Resus as I would have liked - I asked to be on the trauma team whenever I worked in the acute area, but there were no major traumas on those days.

I was pleased to find that many of the nurses remembered me from my previous term last year, and seemed happy to have me back. To be honest, the fact that I speak English without an incomprehensible accent and am not a complete muppet got me major points with the nurses.

The shiftwork still sucked, but I coped with it better this time around. I also never had any days like I described during internship, where I got upset with myself. My general coping skills appear to be much improved.

I was happy with my case presentations to whichever staff specialist was on duty, and was pleased that they seemed confident in my ability to manage my patients. When working in Fast Track, I moved much...faster (haha) and was able to work independently - I could work up patients and send them home without having to discuss them with someone senior to me (but there was always someone senior to talk to if necessary).

The most frustrating feature of the term was bed block: the hospital was full, ED was full of admitted patients waiting for beds on the wards, and the ED corridors and waiting room were full of patients waiting for beds in ED. Often, I would complete a patient's treatment and discharge without them ever getting to a bed. I would bring them into a temporary room (in very high demand; it helps to be nice to the nurses managing these rooms), take a history, examine them, take bloods (if necessary), commence treatment (e.g. medication or IV fluids if necessary), and send them back to the waiting room. If necessary, I'd order scans, and the patient would come into the department for an X-ray/CT scan/ultrasound, and then return to the waiting room. Patients were very frustrated, obviously, but for the most part they were nice to me. I got annoyed with GPs who sent patients in to ED, without warning them that they may have a long wait. Patients seem to think that if they have a letter from their GP, they'll be seen sooner, but it doesn't work that way.

I did several shifts in Paediatric ED during this term - I requested additional shifts there because I was enjoying it so much. Paediatrics is now at the top of my list of future careers (my current term is actually in Paediatrics, on the ward). It had been in the back of my mind for a while, and my experiences in ED and on the ward, as well as conversations with the Paediatric registrars, cemented Paediatrics as a good career choice for me. More on that later, when I summarise my Paediatrics term sometime in November.

Internship: Term 5 – General Medicine (Geriatrics)

My fifth term was at a peripheral hospital doing General Medicine (Geriatrics).

I'd already spent 3 weeks doing the same placement during my Relief/Nights term, so I knew what to expect - boredom, long multidisciplinary team meetings, and lots of paperwork. And that's what I got! It was a chilled-out term; just what I needed to finish off internship. I found myself missing the pace of my surgical term, though! Crazy.

I had 4 weeks off at the end of the term - the last 2 weeks of this term and the first 2 weeks of my next term (Emergency). It was great to finally have a break, though I hadn't saved up to travel anywhere. I spent a lot of time training for a half marathon (I ran it in July), catching up with friends and family, seeing movies, cooking, and relaxing.

As I mentioned, term 1 of residency was Emergency. More on that shortly (I promise!).

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Granville, Mont Saint-Michel, and Saint-Malo, Normandy and Brittany, France

My sister and I drove from Normandy into Brittany, visiting the walled cities of Granville and Saint-Malo, and the island of Mont Saint-Michel.

Roadside lunch on the way from Bayeux to Granville: cheese, crackers, jam, and salami

Granville - be sure to use the French, not Strine, pronunciation (that's my sister)

Granville Harbour

La Manche (the English Channel)

Le Mont Saint-Michel emerging from the haze

Le Mont Saint-Michel


It's really sticky mud - I had to turn back

View from behind

Archangel Michael

Les quatre évangélistes - Matthieu, Marc, Luc, et Jean


Stuck in the mud?

Moving on to Brittany, and the walled city of Saint-Malo

Le Fort National, Saint-Malo

La plage Bon-secours

Causeway, Grand Bé, and Petit Bé (with fort)


How French does the guy on the left look?

La plage du Môle

Next: Chartres, France…

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bayeux and D-Day Beaches, Normandy, France

My sister and I drove from Champagne in north-east France to Normandy in north-west France. We stayed in lovely Bayeux, and visited the amazing Bayeux Tapestry. Then we spent a long day visiting various D-Day sites from WWII.

Bayeux Cathedral

Bayeux Cathedral, interior

British Military Cemetery, containing graves of 4,144 Commonwealth soldiers from WWII, including 17 Australian soldiers


Grave of an unknown soldier


Grave of an Australian soldier

Church in Sainte-Mère-Église, with memorial to paratrooper John Steele, whose parachute caught on the spire (he pretended to be dead for 2 hours, before being captured by the Germans)


I'm a MASSIVE fan of Band of Brothers, so I insisted we visit the paratroopers museum, at Dead Man's Corner in Saint-Côme-du-Mont (not far from Carentan)

Band of Brothers display, with memorabilia from Easy Company of the 101st Airborne division

Captain Dick Winters (RIP)

La Pointe du Hoc, a German battery near Omaha Beach, which was taken by US Rangers on D-Day

Omaha Beach, where US troops landed on D-Day (as depicted in Saving Private Ryan)

It's hard to imagine what it was like on 6 June 1944

Omaha Beach sign

American Cemetery, overlooking Omaha Beach


Memorial at the American Cemetery



Batterie de Longues-sur-Mer, a German battery overlooking Omaha and Gold beaches

Gold Beach at Arromanches-les-Bains, where British troops landed on D-Day, and site of the artificial Mulberry Harbour (remnants remain today)

Remnants of the Mulberry Harbour

Next: Granville, Mont Saint-Michel, and Saint-Malo, Normandy and Brittany, France…

Monday, May 30, 2011

Reims & Épernay, Champagne, France

My sister and I drove around northern France for a week. Our first stop was all about Champagne...

Joan of Arc, Place Cardinal-Luçon, Reims

Joan of Arc

Notre-Dame de Reims

Interior, Notre-Dame de Reims


Sube Fountain with Golden Angel on top, Place Drouet d'Erlon, Reims

Dom Perignon statue in the courtyard of Moët et Chandon, Épernay

Town Hall gardens, Épernay, and our first real taste of spring!

Looking back towards Épernay

Caves underneath Taittinger Champagne house, Reims

Approximately 92,000 bottles of Champagne stored in this section alone

Next: Bayeux and D-Day Beaches, Normandy, France…