Wednesday, May 31, 2006
our very first clinical tests are over! luckily i got to talk to two lovely patients during the test who were, thankfully, not too sick and could talk in complete sentences and tell me to pull up a chair. and so we were able to have a meaningful, lifechanging conversation about where he felt pain and whether the pain ran all over his body or just decided to set up shop in the vicinity of his intestines. patients must be really bored being asked the exact same questions hour after hour by different groups of people. it's like groundhog day, only with repeated terrifying questions concerning the consistency and colour of your bowel movements. it must be quite a nauseating experience to have to repeatedly describe the exact shade of your turds to what seems like half the hospital. but anyhoodles, praise the Lord for his mighty protection and guidance! the test is over, and three weeks of glorious vacation coupled with the great singapore sale are imminent! boyfriends and breadwinning parents of the world, this would be a good time to cower.
these six short weeks in sgh were such a perfect initiation into the clinical years. a good supply of patients who were willing to spare us some of their time, even knowing that it wouldn't do their current condition any good; wonderful cg mates (carol, wayne, chek, lynn, liana, jianri and jenheng, i wish i never had to trade you!); great student lounge cockanadening sessions with the other m2s at sgh; ian for pretending to be mr-very-sick-and-psychotic-patient who had the alternate personality of dr-point-out-all-your-glaring-errors, for tirelessly, patiently tutoring me in examination and presentation; and most of all, amazing tutors. the fact that the doctors we were assigned were willing to spend so much time shepherding us around, selflessly taking time out of their busy schedules and their precious few rest periods to really make sure we knew what we had to know, willing to put up with our (or most often, my) not knowing what the hell was going on, and introducing us to the great wide world of inspection, palpation, percussion and auscultation (also known as The Professional Poking of People's Bodies). this is the first time learning has been helluva fun.
so thank you (on the very slim chance that their uncle's cousin's neighbour's friend might read this) dr jason chang (for being so damn smart, for teaching us the art of the medical stomach massage and many many other enlightening things, all while making us laugh and cower in equal measures, and for being so wonderful to us always), dr lim li ling (for showing us how to wield our tendon tappers in most professional-looking and least threatening of ways, and her long-honed skill of poking a patient in the eye when they least expect it, also known as the corneal reflex), dr damien tan (for being so fantastically nice about subbing in at the last minute and letting me understand for the first time in my life how the heart goes boom diddy boom), and dr ben chua (for being wickedly cockanaden, for letting us rediscover the beauty of secondary school english summary, for the free meals, for teaching us that two hernias on the chest wall are breasts, and for giving us an all-round kickass time in eclinics surgery.) your sweat, blood, tears and saliva are appreciated no end. i'm still looking for the four leaf clover that i must have tripped over.
so fellow meddie friends, while we suntan nude on foreign beaches, or exercise our taitai-shoving maneuvers at the GSS, or hide in our rooms resting our feet from the effort of having to clippityclop after fast-moving doctors, let us savour this moment when we still get excited about going to hospital, about being able to hear heart valves go click, about having doctors be nice to you, and about being allowed to stick our fingers into a rear orifice. because something tells me it may not be forever.
| mando | 6:54 AM
Friday, May 12, 2006
yesterday i had a hedonistic day of rest, relaxation, and really good company! i met the judo girls for lunch at the Marina Square Breeks, where they specially import their waiters from societies who have long-honoured traditions of waiting until diners stomachs digest themselves before taking orders, and where you only refill the empty water glasses of half the table, leaving the other half to wither slowly from dehydration.
i met ian after that to go to a pretentious art exhibition at the Singapore Art Museum called Fiction@Love. it befuddles me how people think that sticking a @ in the middle of two words automatically makes the event or location in question the 'super coolest thing ever'. i understand firstname.lastname@example.org. i understand Ho Beng Tat @ He Bingda. i don't understand Fiction@Love, or Flowers@Beautiful, or StickingSymbols@WhereTheyDontBelong. when asked about it, these people would probably shrug and say they were @dicted to @ding @s everywhere. it's just like how all the dessert stalls call their desserts Nata de Coco, or Strawberry de Jelly, or Lychee Soursop de Tadpole de IQ balls, and how we now call wayne Yap de Wayne.
but that aside, there are still several ways you can thoroughly enjoy a pretentious art exhibition. the numero uno golden rule is : bring your matriculation card everywhere so you can get in for free. the second way to make the most out of pretentious art exhibitions is to consume copious amounts of alcohol before entering the gallery. some types of art are best seen when you have double vision and are unable to walk in a straight line. but if you generally aren't the sort of person who is given to stone-drunkenness in the middle of the afternoon, you could always go in with the sole purpose of making fun of as many exhibits as possible, which is what we did. there are always easy targets, like the angsty teenage video animations which periodically flash the words "everything i do makes me a complete failure" and "what am i doing with my life" on a background of fluorescent graffiti and skateboarding punks. i liked the way they put the most pornographic artpiece running all the way along the staircase leading to the second floor. we were keeping our ears open for the sound of a large male body falling down the stairs, but our efforts were totally unrewarding.
after the show, SAM invites all the visitors to create their own pretentious artpiece in order to win a free N90 phone! ian and i sat around trying to come up with something that sounded deep and meaningful, but was only truly deep and meaningful when you were having an acute psychotic episode or when falling into a diabetic coma. and we came up with the 3 brilliant statements :
creation is destruction in a time of love
love is creation in a time of destruction
destruction is love in a time of creation
because we're really lazy artists, we could only be bothered to think of 3 words.
after congratulating each other on our wit and astute perception of the human psyche, we decided to go and eat ice cream. after cabbing to the Khulfi Bar, we spent some quality time thumping our chests and shaking our fists at the skies because it was closed. instead of Khulfi, we decided to go and eat Barfi, and indian dessert which sounds like the exact opposite of eating. it's much more delicious than it sounds, and it's a block of crumbly candy made of different kinds of milk, sugar, and pistachios. after dinner we went to go listen to the newly-shaved Paul Ponnudorai at Harry's. he still sounds as good, with or without beard.
now i have to go and learn all about what makes your heart go boomboodiboomthumpthumpsquawkgalumphgalumphboom instead of the normal healthy boodiboom boodiboom boodiboom.
| mando | 11:10 PM
Thursday, May 11, 2006
the last two weeks have been excitingly exhausting! we're still little baby student doctors toddling around hospitals, but are starting to shed our "nooper-than-noop" status and are moving towards using Huggies Pull-ups instead of poo-stained pampers! hurray for metaphorical toilet training!
everyone has something amazing to say regarding the strength and fortitude of the patients they've had the privilege of talking to, and it's no different for the four of us (me, carol, wayne and chek). everywhere you go, bravery and determination, weakness and sadness start coming at you from all directions. they're regular people on the street going through difficult times, but you realise you don't need to read biographies of war heroes, or people who've piloted space shuttles through asteroid showers with only a single chimp for company, to see human courage.
so many people we've spoken to are suffering from multiple diseases, so much so that almost every single one of their systems is pretty much out of whack for life, and their bodies are barely kept afloat by daily doses of a myriad of expensive medicines that would make the most hardcore druggie kowtow in admiration. and i've come to realise that a large part of medicine isn't curing people of their diseases but rather helping them live with illness. it's a little depressing to know that, in the future, what we're going to be doing for a lot of people is just holding their hand as they walk a thin little tightrope, rather than just placing them on level ground altogether. but eventually i guess i'll accept that we're in the age of "people living with, living with, living with, not dying from disease".
yesterday we went to the urology centre for a little tour, and the doctors there are all wonderful! i don't know if being around bladders and kidney stones all day long does something for the soul, but for the first time in a clinic, we didn't feel like the invisible people we normally are. carol says our white coats and yellow-stickered nametags are better than a harry potter invisibility cloak any day, because they mark us as the lowest lifeform in the hospital. as a result, except for a few lovely doctors, we've had to huddle in clinic corners and do ridiculous waltz-like skips and twirls to extricate ourselves from the path of oncoming doctors and nurses doing their job. but yesterday, dr chong gave us a really wonderful clinic session, explaining everything beautifully and piling our arms full of little prostate-removal brochures so that we knew the basics of what was going on. yauhong did a urine-flow rate test and got his kidneys scanned. i find it both amusing and disturbing that 4 of us have seen yauhong's prostate. one day, when i'm really really bored, i think i'll read my prostate-removal brochure on the mrt train while wearing tranny-like makeup to freak people out.
| mando | 8:07 PM