Don’t Put All Your Eggs In The College Basket.

Brought to you by a college student.

Take it from me, college isn’t everything. I also do not subscribe to the fallacy of the laptop lifestyle because it’s way more difficult than that. I am the girl who believed in school as a source of security.  I still believe in college, just not as much.

My curiosity began when I realized that many people could not afford college. I grew up in a low-grade environment. Most kids prayed to finish high school. I was lucky enough to come from a family that could support my education. That didn’t mean it was easy, there were days I was sent home for not paying fees and sometimes I missed classes. However, I was grateful that it was an option in the first place. I remember asking the girl next door what the plan was, since college was out of the question. She said she’d start a business. In my mind, I shook my head thinking that she would probably end up like the people in my street. Boy was I wrong. I don’t know where she is today but I wish I could go back to tell her that she’d be just fine.

For me, education meant extra work. I couldn’t afford to put in average effort as my chances of getting the best education would come only from a scholarship. I had to work extra hard. I was always at the top of my class but my school was also one of the lesser quality schools. This meant that my ‘best in class’ could mean bottom of the class somewhere else. Extra work.

Growing up, I was so playful. I love playing. I couldn’t sit still in class for any reason. I had to focus and no, I don’t have ADHD. I was just excited about life. School was never stressful for me but I always wondered how the other kids who thought different would cope. Fast forward at least 17 years later, I know they should be doing fine, if they want to. School is not the only answer.

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Now, I’m in college and it’s not as easy as I thought it would be. I’m not as ‘bright’ as I used to be. I broke down at least thrice in the last two years. I feel like I’m in a race and everyone is leaving me behind. I still believe in not giving up. I like finishing whatever I start. So, no I won’t give up on college. Call me stubborn but that’s just me.

Lately I’ve been feeling out-of-place and scared of everything ahead because I’m so unsure. Most people call me crazy and unfocused for trying anything else other than just Medicine but this is me. I may finish this journey and become a doctor. I may also finish and never use my certificate. I was never forced to do this so I believe I get the choice to change it even though I’m too scared to.

I don’t know. I really don’t. I guess I’m just too chicken. I’m writing this to tell anyone out there who feels like they won’t go far because they can’t afford college that they’ll make it. IF you work hard enough and find something you’re passionate about, you’ll find a way to make money out of it. If you’re in college, whether or not you’re doing well, please do not think it will solve your problems. It’s a tough world out there. If you don’t love what you do, it will drive you crazy.

Treat college for what it is, a place to learn about yourself, not as the answer to your problems.

College is one basket. Don’t put all your EGGS in it.

 

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While You’re Still Young

Youth flies faster than the speed of light. One minute you’re crawling, the next minute you’re telling your mom you’re now grown up. Truth is you’re 15. I get it, most of us we’re pleasantly misconstrued about life. Now you’re all grown up finally and responsibilities got you owing a lot of debt. You’ve lost that inner child you used to have bubbling inside you and causing you to find new adventure in your life. You have to do what you have to do because you’re mature now.

Okay. Take a deep breath and look around you. Life happens whether you stop or not. Take it all in. Some days I forget I’m only in my early twenties, I’m not even close to twenty five and yet all you hear from me is what I have to, what I have to do. Yesterday, someone asked me, Is it what you have to do? what you want to do? Or what you should do? The saddest part was that hardly any of the answers were intersecting. Sigh. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have all those things be the same? I mean, yes that would only exist in an ideal world but then we can try to get as close as possible because things like doing dishes exist and I do NOT love doing the dishes. Some things never change. Take for example, I’ve noticed a lot of young married couples on Instagram of late and it’s really beautiful to watch. The thing I admire the most is how cool and chill they are or at least they seem to be and some of them have up to three kids. Yet, some of my friends can’t relax.

Mid-life crises percentages are increasing because kids are not allowed to be kids anymore. Rushed curricula, so much pressure from school. Matter of fact, I run a program that has three semesters in a year, four months per semester which is pretty accelerated. No worries, I picked it so I know what I signed up for but then most of these programs are made to save time. A little extra stress to save time. You basically spend your late teens and a good part of your twenties trying to get there. Good grades, volunteering and good recommendation, you just spend your time piling loads of paper to make a good first impression.pexels-photo-261895

Just breathe. While you’re doing all you can to make your life better and to secure a better future, remember you can only be this age once. Personally, I’m scared of those articles that say drink alcohol, have a one night stand etc I’m always wide-eyed wondering why anyone would give that kind of advice but I guess each man to his own. Embracing your youth doesn’t have to mean doing things you could regret. It just means trying to do the things that make you happy and learning how to grow. Trying not to lose your individuality, finding more ways to do the things you love and finding new ways to love the same person over and over again if you’re into that stuff ( which is really cool).

Remember, you’re only young once and you’re only as young as you feel. Never lose your child-like wonder.

Observership Diaries: Day Five

Last Day. I suck at goodbyes. Yet, I was eager to get there and I was praying not to be disappointed as it was an afternoon shift. Deep down, I knew it wasn’t about just me anymore, it never was. I was excited to see what the day would bring even though it would be my last time there. On the bus ride there I was lost in thought but still completely aware of my surroundings. The bus was playing music at deafening levels and I noticed that the woman sitting next to me kept bopping her head in tune.

I smiled on the inside, I wasn’t a fan of Soca music so I just sat still but you gotta admit, they’ve got some catchy beats. Then a pick-up van overtook ours, there was a boy, no more than 13 yrs old sitting in the back, he’d probably jumped in when the van slowed down. He looked quite tired and dusty, he had his hands on his cheek in that thinking pose, as his van took up the space in front of ours he turned sharply o hearing the music and with all the energy in the universe, he started shaking to the beat of the music, he even had a smile on his face. It was amazing to watch. I smiled and wondered how little things change our mood.

MISSING PRECEPTOR

By then we’d gotten to the last busstop. I alighted the bus and began my 5 min walk to the hospital. I was walking quickly and I got to the hospital, all scrubbed in by 1:55 PM. I felt so proud and I started looking for my preceptor. Five minutes in I couldn’t find her, I started roaming about. I felt like a child who’d lost her mother in a crowd. i wanted to start crying because I felt so lonely. I started walking towards the staff lounge when I raised my head and saw her coming. i had to physically restrain myself from running to hug. i was grinning ear to ear when I greeted her, then she gestured that she’d meet me in a few minutes.

PATIENTS

Fast forward, I was in the theatre with her again as we prepped for a left inguinal hernia surgery. The patient was awake and she showed me again all the procedures I’d been thought from day one. Sedating, Relaxing and intubating the patient. She then explained the complications one would encounter as she showed me alternative method of ventilation using a laryngeal mask. It was quite interesting.

I spent the next one and half hour watching the hernial repair and then the next patient came in. She also had a hernia, but hers was suprainguinal. She was quite young and awake too, we even had a little conversation before she was sedated. They started her surgery, the surgeon was teaching a student how to do the surgery and she was basically following his every instruction to carry it out, so it was quite slow. Luckily, because I was standing near the anaesthesia machine at the head of the patient, I got to see everything up close. Another few hours of standing and I was ready to go home.

GOODBYE

To say goodbye, I took some pictures, mostly with machines and then one of my preceptor, though afar off. I was too scared to ask her for a picture plus my phone is not the best in the market. A few snaps and I was on my way. Due to traffic from closing offices, it took almost an hour to get a bus and arrive home. TIred as usual, I dropped on the bed, my feet sore, looking at the ceiling, I thanked God for a wonderful week. Next week. I’ll be in Family Medicine.

Observership Diaries: Day Four

Can you believe I’ve done this four times already. I feel like a pro at this. I even got my hair and make-up for yesterday done in 10 minutes, but today that feeling got the best of me. I got up by 5 AM, prayed, read my bible and even had time to write and edit a whole article. Then, by 7:00 AM, I sluggishly got into the bathroom, once I was out and it was time to get dressed, that overwhelming struggle of not knowing what to wear just came upon me. I spent another 15 minutes searching my wardrobe and feeling like I had  nothing to wear. I had destroyed my entire room when I just settled with a red chiffon shirt and a grey skirt which taught me that I needed some serious life adjustments.

Good news is, I got to the hospital on time, had my usual ‘there are no scrubs dilemma’ and by 8:30 AM, my day was about to begin. I went into the changing room and met my preceptor, who apparently had been given the day off because of her unending cough. She told me “There are a lot of surgeries today, so you can look around and when you’re tired, you can go home”. After wishing her speedy recovery and her footsteps had faded away, I leapt for joy because today, I was going to be a ninja, stealthy and free as the wind.

I looked through the line-up for the day, Theatre One had a long list of neuroanatomy related surgeries. It didn’t seem interesting to me. Theatre two had a patient waiting to have an eye surgery. Theatre three had a tracheotomy, endoscopy and a colonoscopy. Aha! I mean don’t you want to see the insides of your stomach and colon on a coloured screen? I watched the tracheotomy, from start to finish, it was so interesting. I have to say that the surgeon was amazing. He even took out time to explain the entire procedure, the benefits, the older method of tracheotomy and why he doesn’t use that method. Overall, he did a great job and he was friendly enough to explain it till we understood. The endoscopy and colonoscopy were more enjoyable because it didn’t feel like a serious procedure, All you had to do was stick a tube into either the mouth or anus depending on the procedure and navigate it to where you want. I do realize it’s harder than it sounds and requires more expertise than what I just described but he made it look simple. Plus he made some cute jokes about how the body looks.

After watching all three procedures, I decided to go to Theatre One. It had about eight procedures on the list. Ulnar nerve repair, Carpal tunnel syndrome repair, Lipoma suction just to mention a few. I watched the ulnar nerve repair, the guy was awake, they gave only a local anaesthetic after draining all the blood from his forearm using spandex, which is quite interesting considering that’s what women wear to trim their waist. The doctor even made a joke about one of the nurses, saying she only looked like she had a tiny waist because underneath her scrubs, she was wearing spandex. We all laughed, including the patient. It was quite nice to have a patient who wasn’t heavily sedated and unconscious that you could have a conversation with. Once I was done, I went to the ICU to join the students doing rounds. A lot of medical was thrown up and down and I just prayed that my face mask was camouflage enough to hide me.

To end the day, I looked at some X-rays and after diagnosing, I decide it was time to go home. I went to pick my friend up from the maternity ward because I like looking at babies. They’re the best part of the day. Soon enough I was on my way home, having had the most educative day ever, I’d learnt from ENT, Internal medicine, Oby/Gyn, Radiology and Accident and Emergency. As I walked to the nearest bus stop, my feet tired and sore as usual, it hit me. In the end we’re just here to serve others, one way or another.\

Read yesterday’s entry here. Please like and share and come back for more.

Observership Diaries: Day Three

Day Three. Morning Shift. Yesterday was the coolest day yet. It’s like  everything interesting happens in the morning. I got in 10 minutes late and once again i scurried through the hallway. I came with my friend and classmate who is in pediatrics, she told me there would be Caesarean Sections today, three of them and I was beaming with excitement. I went inside the surgery department and changed in to my scrubs and ran straight to the theatre.

A surgery had already started, it was a hysterectomy ( they were removing a woman’s uterus, well some part due to some fibroid that had also caused urine retention), they were halfway through but I wasn’t interested. I went to the next theatre and someone was waiting for an eye operation and the last theatre had a 6-year-old who was treated for keloids, so she was given steroid injections. Dissapointed, I went to look for my preceptor, who I met smiling, so we went to the ICU and did some checking up and rounds. Then I heard the better news, the CS was for 9 AM. My heart was leaping side, I couldn’t wait for 9am. By 9:30am, they finally had the first woman all prepped up and sedated ( which I helped ) and then I went to the front of the theatre to see the action.

So basically, they cut open the woman’s lower abdomen, just below the navel, called a Pfannenstiel incision, then they keep cutting because there are layers until they get to where the baby is, then they use a Doyen retractor, a spoon-looking thingy, to open up the incision nd hold it in place, they pop the amniotic sac(water bag), suction it and then a surgeon pushes for the mother by literally pushes while the other tries to bring the baby’s head out. A little push here and there and the baby is out and crying. A standby nurse takes the baby to another, gets the baby cleaned up, makes him pee and cry some more, then takes him to the maternity ward while they finish up the surgery on the mom, Placenta birth and stitching. I watched this twice in a row and didn’t get bored.

The mothers usually wake up 15-20 minutes after the operation, hopefully stable, all things being equal. It was beautiful to watch. Two babies, one boy and one girl, 9:49 AM and 11:46 AM, 1st of March, 2017. There was also a circumcision for a 7-year-old and an eye operation but I didn’t even remember to watch because I was blushing from the birth.

I also got to watch them place a central line on a patient and my God it looked painful. Thankfully, it was over and she was put to sleep. With that, my shift had ended and I was on my way home, another day, another life saved. Today, I have morning shift and I’ll soon leave, stay tuned for more.

If you liked this, please Like and Share and come tomorrow for more. Read Day one and day two here and here. Follow me on all social media @kristabeldubois

Observership Diaries: Day Two

Afternoon shift. I woke up by 5am and was about to panic when I remembered, Afternoon. I couldn’t hide my joy as I dived my blanket and slept for another three hours. After laying about for another two hours, it was 10am. I made breakfast watched a movie and just like yesterday, I didn’t pick an outfit. I was having a second meal when I realized it was 1:15pm and I was due for 2pm. I started my fast and furious emergency preparation procedure. In fifteen minutes, I already had my bath, brushed my teeth and subdued my hair. Five minutes more and I was out of the house but I was hungry. Not wanting to faint and be rushed to the Emergency Room, which would be a short trip, I stopped by at school for lunch. Fries and chicken and five minutes before I was late, I boarded  a van which pulled up just as I left the school premises. Happy that I would make it, I ended up being 15 minutes late. I sprinted across the hospital corridors and prayed that I didn’t slip and fall and voila my second day began.

It was afternoon and most surgeries had been done, my counterpart for the morning shift said there was a D&C and an amputation  which I would have loved to watch, and a couple other surgeries. His reports were confirmed as the ICU was packed compared to yesterday’s number which was just two. I finally met my preceptor, and she told me there were no surgeries sadly so we just ran rounds in the ICU. The only thing I got to watch was an extubation. I struggled to keep a straight face while they suctioned the blood and secretions from the patient’s mouth. All the ethics I’d been taught, this was the time to show it. Luckily it was over but not before I knew it. Every second was really slow. I turned to the patient ont he opposite bed,peering into the machine to see what was going on, only to realize the patient was dead. I’d seen her yesterday, sleeping and doing fine and now she was gone.

Apparently, she had complications this morning and had passed on. I had to physically hold back the tears. I didn’t know her but I watched them intubate her. Life is indeed unpredictable. I just said a short prayer in my mind and turned back to face my bed. I was so sad afterwards, well until my preceptor started teaching me the substances they use in the theatre. Midazolam, Succinylcholine, Fentanyl and Morphine later, I was already dozing and was gradually developing a headache. Luckily after 30 minutes of explaining side effects like amnesia and paralysis, she decided I was done fo the day. I sped out of the hospital and thought of home. I got home by 4pm, still tired but grateful. Today, the third day is a morning shift and it’s almost 6:30 am. I’ll go now. Hopefully there’ll be a  lot less sad. Oh I saw all the patients from yesterday’s surgery, all stable and well. Some were even awake. Let’s see how today goes. Have a beautiful day!

If you liked today’s post, you can go read Day One here. Like and Share with your friends and follow me across all social media. Love y’all.

Observership diaries: Day One

I started my observership on the 27th of February. It’s an arrangement in my school where the students in MD5 are assigned to two departments in the hospital to observe their proceedings for two weeks, one department for each week. You don’t get to do much, you literally observe while your preceptors (the doctors you’re assigned to) teach and explain to you the proceedings of that hospital department. The aim being to give you an idea of the hospital life before you  begin your rotations or residency. That being said, here’s my experience on the first day.

I woke up that beautiful morning frantic, now I had slept early the night before, meaning I slept before 12a.m and I accidentally woke up by 4a.m to pee and entered into the dilemma of whether or not I should go back to sleep. I can’t remember what my final decision was but five minutes later I was snoring my way round the dream world. You see, I was sleeping even in my dream. Then, I started dreaming of how I’d overslept and got to the hospital late and my preceptor was screaming at me which jolted me out of my bed. I checked the time, It was 6:30am. I heaved a sigh of relief and then it hit me. I was still behind schedule. First I was on a morning shift, so 8 am was my resuming time. Secondly, my  friend had asked me to pick her up so we could go together as she did not know the hospital’s location and finally I had not picked out what to wear, neither had I ironed my white coat. I guess you could say I was having a very adventurous day.

I dashed into the bathroom, took what my mom calls a magical shower and brushed my teeth as fast as my hand could go in circular motion. When I got out, I took one quick glance at my wardrobe and remembered, My leopard print gown, that’ll do. A smile flashed across my face because it didn’t need ironing. God bless the genius who designed wash and wear materials. With that thought, I struggled to iron my white coat which right now, it’s worthy of mention that I neither know how to iron like a 60s lady nor does my iron know how to heat up more than a candle. Frustrated, I shoved it into a plastic bag and stuck my stethoscope in too, a bottle of water because no to hospital water. Next, hair and make-up.

Okay, if you don’t have 4c natural hair, you wont understand this. It’s a struggle. I combed the living daylight out of my hair. It was so tangled that I almost gave up and tied a scarf like I was embracing my heritage. I finally got through and just pulled it up as far as it could go into whatever the style I came up with that morning was. I’m not one for dramatic make up, besides who am I kidding,  I have three items I call make up: My foundation, loose powder and mascara, two of which were already empty and needless to say that mascara is older than the house I live in right now. I finally heard my friend knock and we dashed out of the house. Luckily there was no traffic  and we got there just in time.

Using the arrows on the wall of the hospitals, I found my way to the Medical Director’s office and found some of my classmates waiting, after standing for almost 30 mins, we were shown to our various departments so I said goodbye to my friend and ended up in the operating theatre with scrubs and a face mask on and no clue as to why the entire place smelt funny. My preceptor was a sweet woman, she showed me where to change and eased me into the subject for the day. Oh yea… I was assigned to Anesthesiology.

There were about five surgeries to be done that day. I can’t remember what the first one was because I didn’t even see the patient well. The rotating students had surrounded the table as well as the nurses and the other surgeon. The second and third surgeries however were not the easiest to watch. There was a colonostomy which was to be re-anastomosed and the second was an old lady that had developed a fistula, I think tracheosophageal, after a tracheostomy. She also had some kind of abscess that they needed to drain. Lord Jesus! I don’t get icked by things but I was not prepared for all the smells, and so many organs, the suction sounds and the way people fall asleep under anesthesia. I just looked away and stared at the machine most of the time, watching the numbers fluctuate and when I got tired, I watched the CO2 graph as it went up down and up and down and up and down. You get the point

It was an awesome experience for the first day. The only thing I wasn’t prepared for was the standing for 5 hours straight. I hadn’t eaten that morning and neither did I bring lunch. Thank God my preceptor was nice enough to offer me an apple, I would have slumped like snow-white. I got home by 2:30 pm that day, tired and drenched in the rain. I have so much more respect for surgeons, not that the other doctors aren’t doing a great job because the colonostomy surgery took more than four hours. My day 2 would be an afternoon shift. I was so grateful for my health because I feel like the people in there are strong. They fight through the pain of surgery and all the recovery in the ICU. I’m not strong enough. I hope they all get better.

IF you liked this, check back tomorrow for Day Two. Like,Share and follow me across social media. Have a beautiful day