Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Acrylic eyes

Tar barrels was amazing, although I got much closer than I was expecting.  I had anticipated being on the edges of the crowd, watching from a distance, but instead on several occasions I found myself right next to the gaping, flaming mouth of a huge barrel with a crowd surging behind me, trying to push to get closer because they wanted to touch the barrel.  Both amazing and terrifying.  Apart from that, it was a nice, relaxing weekend with mr.

Monday was my community placement, this time with the national artificial eye service.  It was pretty cool, I have to say.  This one man travels around hospitals covering all of the south west - Dorset, Devon and Cornwall, with a case full of trays of prosthetic eyes; mainly blue, since apparently one type of eye colour is more prevalent in certain areas than others - and the west country is blue.  An impression is made of the eye socket and one of these temporary eyes he carries with him is selected based on best colour match to the other one, cut to shape and fitted.  The impression is sent to Blackpool where a bespoke eye is handmade and hand painted with oil paints, with the veins being made of individual red silk threads laid on.  Every six months to a year the patient can come back in to have the eye sanded down, buffed and polished to get rid of the build up of proteins from tear fluid and to check the fit to see if a new prosthetic is required.  We met a patient in his 60's who had lost his eye in an accident when he was a little boy.  It was really nice to see how well adjusted and happy this man was.  The prosthetist and the patient spent a good 15 minutes chatting about the man's life in general - his family, work etc which was great, that he had that much time to really build up the rapport, and he'd obviously been seeing this man for some time and remembered details about his family life.  The prosthetist was a history graduate, and it was great to see how much he enjoyed helping people and the continuity of care.  We were told about how few healthcare professionals know about the service, which is a real same since it's free and it can make such a difference.

Unfortunately, and rather embarrassingly, I nearly fainted twice in my placement.  It wasn't because I was grossed out, because I found it freakishly fascinating to be honest and the things we were discussing at the time were perfectly innocuous.  I just started to get really hot, sweaty, dizzy and my vision blurred and I got the sense I'd fall down if I couldn't sit soon.  It even happened when I was with the patient which was seriously embarrassing for me.  The rest of the day I didn't feel right - really weak, too hot, too cold, fatigued and then really achy.  So I am typing this from bed where I have been all day bar a quick trip to the Dr's who thinks I have some sort of major viral infection emerging and that I should stay in bed and keep away from sick people since I am immunocompromised.  I missed clinical skills today, which was pants.  I hate missing things, especially awesome things like that, but I'm not too sure I could get to clinical skills and back without falling down.  That and the fact that tonsillitis and freshers flu round two is currently going around the medics, although I seem to be showing symptoms in the opposite for either of those - everything hurts and is stiff, swollen lymph nodes make it feel like I'm swallowing rocks every time I try to swallow and a fever but no cough or runny nose.  I guess it will get worse before it gets better, but I hope it goes away soon.

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