Dear diary, yesterday was my best day ever as a medical student. I was given an awesome opportunity to visit the oncology ward in the hospital. It was mesmerizing. Everything that had happen is still vividly remembered in my mind. The day started with the sound of my robotic alarm clock exploiting the room with its beautiful loud noise waking me up. Everything seems pleasing when the day that I have awaited finally arrived. I gladly woke up, took a bath and put on my most favorite red polka-dot white shirt that I had already ironed last night. Before going out from my tiny hostel room, I greeted my roommates and headed to the ward where my PBL mates were waiting. The sun was majestic that morning, its golden rays shine the green football field with its orange-crimson colour as if it was foretelling a wonderful day that is about to begin. I took a deep breath and marched jovially across the field with my pen torch in the upper right pocket of my whitecoat and a clinical examination book written by Talley and O Connor in my left hand. Soon I arrived within the company of my PBL mates at the front door of Wad 1 Utara.
We gathered at a nearby bench and revised a bit from our reproductive system block as a preparation if our senior students decided to ask us some tricky questions in front of the patients. Stuttering to answer in front of the patients was not something I plan to do on this special day. So, I studied beforehand about the most common diseases during pregnancy that I might find during my hospital visit. “Are you guys ready?” a manly voice heard as soon as the sound of a door supposedly from 1 Utara closed. I looked up and saw Tan Zhi Yee, a final year medical student who had volunteered to lead us in the ward. Thank you, my senior! He briefed to us about the do’s and don’ts in the ward and explained what would happen in the next couple of hours. As soon as we were ready to meet the patients inside the ward, one of my PBL mates voiced out for a selfie. Well, why not right? So, we took multiple selfies together with our senior and then we entered the ward.
“Dub Dab Dub Dab!” My heart pounded as I walked through the doors. It was my first time in a ward wearing a whitecoat. The feel of responsibility gushed through my nerves, multiple butterflies were in my stomach and I was dead nervous. I gazed around, captivating an early view of my soon-to-be job and saw patients lying on their bed as nurses tend to them. Before we took a step further, our senior guided us on how to wash our hands properly and the importance of it. We recalled back the 7 steps of washing hands and when to wash our hands. Then we walked slowly through the aisles of the ward. I looked left and right and saw sad gloomy face of patients deepening my soul more into the quiet environment. It was devastating to see sick people that needs help however I was still glad that they had come to the hospital to receive treatment. But I wonder about those who hadn’t. What about those who can’t afford treatment, whose house is thousands of miles away from the hospital with only money left to eat today while wondering how to get money for food tomorrow. If only we could do better, I hoped we had.
At the middle of the ward, we gathered. Zhi yee told us about the flow of the ward, what usually happens in the ward, the position of the ward which is critical patients at the far end of the ward while normal patients are nearer to the door and successful stories from patients that have been treated there. Hearing it from someone who has experienced it himself is an eye opener for me. I was amazed by the noble profession that doctors had done to save someone’s life. I hope one day I will become that type of doctor too, to not only treat but to be a role model to others surrounding me. Then we approached a patient on the right side of the aisles. She was a 30-year-old woman with a brown colour skin, a petite body but slightly obese and a welcoming happy face. She was admitted to the hospital due to preeclampsia and it was her own choice to be warded because she is afraid if anything happens to her baby during her first pregnancy. Our seniors asked us to obtain the history from the patients and one of my friends, Aisha volunteered to do so.
It was a bit awkward for her since it was her first time and we backed her up when she accidentally left out something during the history taking session. I observed how the patient reacted and frankly she seems awkward too. Our patient was constantly turning her head and lowering her right eyebrow to our seniors as if she was making a sign to ask “is she asking the correct thing?” and our seniors simply nodded and smiled which made the patient smiled too and answered our set of questions that was straight out from the book. It was then I realized that being a bookworm doesn’t guarantee a well history taking session if you don’t have the ability to capture the patient’s heart and most importantly is you must restructure the question so that it doesn’t sound straight from the books. The patient may call you a noob for that, sorry. However, I enjoyed observing how my seniors approached the patients and talk peacefully together, a skill I must learn!
Before the history taking session ended, I caught a memorable experience which I could never forget. A houseman was passing down the aisles of the ward when a patient that had just been discharged was just leaving with her family. Upon reaching them they all said, “Thank you Doctor!” to the houseman. That scene I saw ignited the piston for my engine to really become a doctor. It was not for the worldly goods, money, fame or fortune but it was for the people who needed help to live their normal life as a human being. After that we all went back to the front door, washed our hands again and took a selfie which marks the end of our hospital visit. Our visits were not as entertaining as other groups because we didn’t have much patients, but I can assure you we learn a lot of things and gained lots of memorable experience. I hope one day we will all be doctors that can make a better change to the world. That’s it for today diary, I’ll catch up later on. Thank you!