Did I mention the week I've just done was going to be horrid? It was horrid. By Tuesday I couldn't wait for it to be Friday. Monday I had placement at the mobility centre. It started with a tour of the factory where they hand make all the casts and shoes and prosthetics. It was sweet and sad all at the same time. The factory was pretty large and the walls were lined with pictures of what the factory used to look like with all the benches full of workers hand crafting things. Now each room had maybe one or two old men who were proudly showing us what they were working on and the design process. They were smiling at me and telling me that because us Doctors were becoming so clever at our jobs and noticing problems faster and finding new ways to surgically correct them and since plastics became so easy to mould there wasn't such a need for hand made casts and prosthetics anymore so they'd slowly all been laid off. They make shoe insoles and permanent leather casts, but that's it.
Next, I spent an hour watching a physiotherapist run a rehabilitation session with a man who'd had his second leg amputation 9 weeks ago and was learning to walk with two prosthesis. Although to be fair, the physio didn't have to do much. This man was amazing - willing to take on any challenge, keen to show all the tools the physio had, any 'game' she explained to help him master a new trick on them he wanted to do, and do, and until he'd perfected it. He had three great danes and was determined he was going to walk other on the moors this weekend, as he had done previously when he had only one leg amputated. Even if that meant walking round the facility time after time after time, trying to find someone to play football with him in the carpark, stepping from balance hedgehog to balance hedgehog to practise for the marshy ground up on the moor. This man was awe inspiring, truly. Whilst he was training another man came in in a wheel chair, not as far along in the acclimatisation stage of getting used to his leg but it was still fascinating to watch - his determination, and his strength. He joked that he thought it was a lot easier to learn to walk the first time.
Eventually there were three guys, all getting on with pushing themselves to learn how to adapt with the new changes in their lives. Incredibly to me, another guy came in looking at what was going to happen, smiled and said he was having his operation to remove his leg next month. The other patients looked at him and smiled and one said, "Congratulations! Having mine off was the best thing I ever did." Such a strange concept. Through listening to them talk, it turned out all the patients were ex-forces which was quite upsetting for me as I wasn't really expecting it. I haven't really been challenged like this before, in terms of having to put my personal circumstances on a back foot and ignore it. I managed but I have to admit there were tears in my eyes as I was walking away from the factory. I can't imagine myself ever being strong enough to watch Mr have to learn how to walk again.
Tuesday bought my combined clinical competency in respiratory, gastrointestinal and cardiac exams. It went pants. I got the most pernickety examiner and I'd gone through it so many times with my partner, all the run throughs blurred together in my head and I couldn't remember what I'd done in the test and what I'd done in practise. I was so frustrated with myself. On the marksheets I got some excellents, some satisfactories and a borderline. I really don't know if I've done enough to pass once my score gets moderated. I don't think I will have done because the evaluation reports say Exeter students do worse than Plymouth students, and I've been in a bit of a pessimistic mood lately.
Wednesday bought the last AMK of the year. I thought it went quite well. I enjoyed it actually. I answered more questions than ever, again, and I took longer at it, again. There were more questions I knew the answers to because of my degree and revision, and educated guesses I could take from seeing things at work. On the other hand, everyone else seems to have hated it. I'm not sure if that's a good thing and I'll therefore have done really well, or if I was really wrong with all my guesses. Because they are meany, we don't get the results in the normal two weeks, it'll take 5 and half. Which means I don't know if I've done enough to pass the year and if the end of year exam is necessary for me to pass or just a formality. Meanies.
Then it was Thursday, and Mr's birthday, and no, I hadn't sent him a birthday card, or present :( Bad girlfriend. Hope he understood. I also had an essay to write for the next day - on Ethnicity, Race and Health. It was to based on a chapter from a sociology book we'd been photocopied and given. I had real trouble with this one because I didn't actually agree with anything they had to say. Apparently the genetic differences between different races were too minute to be significant and therefore there's no such thing as race or ethnicity, they are just social constructs. We shouldn't treat people any differently because of what they look like, which I do believe in, but to say there's no difference between people from different parts of the world is ridiculous and PC to the extreme. Hopefully, I got a mark in the AMK for remembering the NICE guidelines suggest one line of treatment for the under 55s or non Blacks/Afro Caribbeans and another for the over 55s or Blacks/Afro Caribbeans because they have lower levels of renin and so ACE inhibitors don't work as well. Should I ignore this fact then because the difference isn't 'significant'? It's rubbish. I managed to write it in the end, ticking the I'm not a racist box and putting my own point of of view across. They did say there wasn't a wrong answer and I've got to do better than one of my peers who decided to end his essay with "well, it could be worse, at least I'm not Irish". Not entirely sure that's what they were looking for.
To get over this week I made the best cake using up some rhubarb I had - rhubarb and custard cake. It's amazing. This has been a bit of an essay, so I shall leave it there. Tomorrow I start the last case unit of the year, how sad. I wish you all good luck in your exams!