Thursday, October 8, 2009

Surgery Rotation, Week 1

Surgery has been interesting so far. I know it isn't for me, but I like the theory and reading about the pathologies. I have decided that surgery is really quite revolting. I'm talking about the object of surgery (blood, guts and other random body bits), not the actual surgeons or surgical process, although the process can be quite . . . disturbing. They do things to the human body that go against all of my instincts.

This says a lot about me, too - I am intuitive and empathetic, so watching orthopaedic surgery really goes against my grain. I don't feel sick, have seen a lot of it before in my previous life, but it just feels really wrong. I have been told that I am quiet and reserved (usually by pushy people who I don't like, so who knows if it applies elsewhere), and I don't run around the place hugging patients and wanting to be their friend, but I also don't like causing them pain. On an intellectual level, I know it is helping them, but on a gut-level, my inner voices says no.

I'm glad they don't show patients what a joint replacement looks like before they get one done. If I ever have to counsel a patient who is going to get a joint replacement, I would strongly advise against looking it up on You-tube, or there other video-sharing sites. If you hadn't seen much surgery before, and were watching a procedure that you were about to have done on your own body, it would terrify you!

The results are fantastic (when all goes well), and I am lucky enough to have seen this and spoken to the people who have had joint replacements change their lives and give them access to activities that they hadn't been able to do for years. It often goes so well with one joint that they leap in and get the opposite side done soon afterwards. It works, and is a great way to give people back their mobility. The actual process of performing the surgery isn't for everybody, and it isn't for me.

Psych is still at the top of my list of specialties I want to do. I try to attack the plan as critically as possible, because I don't want to leap in and then decide that it isn't for me, but at the end of mixing it all up, psychiatry still lands on top.

I have some nice friends who bear the brunt of this, and I hope they don't think I am too flippant or chaotic. Sometimes I worry a little that I do a big anxiety dump on them, and that is what it is - a huge vent. Hopefully they won't get sick of being a sympathetic ear. Sharing the load helps.

I really enjoy the content of psychiatry, I love talking to patients about their life experiences and what they are going through, and then analysing this and putting it all together in one huge concept of cause-and-effect and results that are open to change at any moment. I just kind of assumed that most people felt this way, but they don't. That is okay - it is a varied and interesting world, with room for surgeons and shrinks!


Milk and Two Sugars said...

It strikes me that the key thing you said there was, "I don't run around the place hugging patients and wanting to be their friend". That seems to be a key characteristic of people who become psychiatrists: you can care without becoming too close. Sounds good!

The Girl said...

Thanks. :)

That distance in the professional relationship between shrink and patient, while still remaining present was one thing that really resonated with me. In GP land it seemed to be more about being outgoing, full of energy and putting on a show for the patients, and that is not me at all. I really like the way that the psychiatrists work. :)

Sara said...

I always thought I was ok with surgery...until the nightmare. Dreamed of surgeons just hacking away, tossing pieces out until they got down to the SPINE. Then the patient died and they left skipping and whistling.

The Girl said...

That sounds awful!