Medic diaries // no.2

4 March 2014

Yesterday was my last day in ENT theatre. It was one of my favourite placements so far, with lots of surgeries and also some time spent in the clinic. The majority of ENT I saw was concerned with  hearing loss and surgery to treat that. There were operations treating glue ears in young children, eardrum reconstructions, lots of nose surgeries as well, tonsillectomies and some salivary gland tumours (not my favourite but I saw the branches of the facial nerve which was very cool).

I find that surgeons and scrub nurses have a much better sense of humour than medical physicians. I'm not sure where it comes from, perhaps it takes a certain personality to become a surgeon or a theatre nurse.In every placement I did so far patients, medical and nursing staff constantly say things that make me smile or even laugh. Some things that patients say make lives of medical students difficult. Other things will make you smile or laugh and you'd be glad that someone has just brightened your 8h day in hospital. Sometimes you just have to keep a poker face and be patient.

Here are some of my favourites from the past 4 years*

D:Any family history of hearing loss?
P: My mother lost her hearing as a punishment for not listening to anyone for 60 years

D: Can I ask who's at home with you?
P: Aye, it's just me and ma wee lassie *said in a Glaswegian accent*

D: Your GP said you had chest pain?
P: aye
D: how long did you have it for?
P: a while
D: how long is a while?
P: a while
D: do you have any pain in your chest just now?
P: aye

D: Do you hear any ringing or noises in your ears at nigh time?
P: Sometimes there is an owl or a dog barking across the street

nurse to the surgeon: you can see this wee boy now
S: He's 60, I wouldn't call him a boy
nurse: an older boy then

do they have saws in ortho theatre as well?
oh aye, saws, drills,'s just like being in B&Q really...

nurse, aged above 60: Stop that, young ladies in this theatre are horrified. Including myself. As a young lady of course. I'm no horrified.

M:  Do any diseases run in your family?
P:  My second cousin has diabetes
M:  No, I'm talking immediate family.
P:  "Well, she lives next door."

M: Do you have any long term medical problems?
P: No
M: What do you see your doctor for?
P: Oh, just my diabetes, high blood pressure and prostate cancer

surgeon: Is that sore? Am I OK to continue?
Aye, carry on doc! I'll just look at this young lady's pretty face. *in my direction*
nurse: what's wrong with my face?

My next placement is ophtalmology. I have to say eyes gross me out a little bit. Just like bones. I'm defninitely not looking forward to eye surgery.

Do you have any funny stories from doctor's appointments? A&E maybe?

* All clinical encounters referred to have been invented or made anonymous.. If it sounds like something you said, be assured that it wasn't as lots of patients say the same things to medical students and doctors.

And a traditional selfie in scrubs:


  1. When I was about 17 I got mumps. Over the course of a day at school, what started off as a cold and raised glands turned into flu and a hugely swollen neck and cheeks - by lunch time school had phoned my dad and made me a GP appointment.
    The GP proceeded to poke my neck and face, before asking "so is the swelling unilateral or bilateral"? Teenage me replies sarcastically "one side of my head always looks like this."
    My dad falls about laughing and the GP looks annoyed.
    Dad still brings that one up - particuarly as the GP is now quite senior in the BMA and gets quoted on the telly fairly often.

  2. dzięki komentarzowi wyżej nauczyłam się, jak jest świnka po angielsku, ten dzień juz jest wygrany ;)
    a ile dokładnie trwa taki placement? i musicie przechodzić przez wszystko po kolei czy jest jakiś wybór? sorry, jeśli będą się moje pytania powtarzać, ale jestem jak dziecko we mgle w tym temacie.
    nie mam żadnych funny stories, za zdrowa jestem/byłam :(

    1. wszystkie placementy ustala nam szkola medyczna oprocz 3. zostaje sie przydzielonym do szpitala i nie ma gadania. ale mozna sie zamieniac jak ktos z tej samej grupy jest chetny. jeden placement trwa 5 tygodni, ale sa tez laczone tak jak ten na ktorym jestem teraz, 2.5 tyg ENT 2.5 okulistyka. nie masz co zalowac ze zdrowa jestes, to nieczeste zjawisko w polskim hipochondryzmie.