I believe, for many medicos, their most memorable days would be of their graduation clinical duties. So many experiences, so much learning, and a bunch full of memories & stories to tell.
There is one kind of experience we all must have come across at least once, especially if we studied in a college that was outside of our hometown or if we did not speak the local language, that is -miscommunication or hilarious miscommunication!!
One such incident I remember is of a dear friend and a roommate. During the prostho clinicals, while doing a CD (Complete Denture) TRY-IN, she was asking a patient to perform a blowing motion. But the patient wouldn’t understand. She tried and tried, but couldn’t make the patient understand.
She then used her genius, and lit the spirit lamp, brought it close to her face and blew it. Then she torched the spirit lamp again and brought it close to the patient’s mouth for her to blow, and she blew.
Bravo! Genius! I find it so hilarious that I smiled even as I am writing about it.
One more incident I vividly remember is when we were posted in OR (Radiology), and I was filling the case sheet of a patient. I missed to mark the gender of the patient. Someone observing me brought it to my notice saying you haven’t marked his sex. The patient heard it and replied to me, madam 2 to 3 times a week!!
You can only imagine how I controlled my laughter and more importantly, how I mentioned his sex (as male, not 2 to 3 times a week!)
The case taking part reminds me of something more.
So, I studied from Mangalore and Kannada was not a language I spoke, read or even understood. And in those days, when our clinical postings were on, wherever we were posted, we had to start with taking a detailed case history of all patients allotted to us. And, most patient spoke only Kannada. (Ta-da)
Although our clinical batch had people who were localites and would help us as translators to make our task easier. This would last only as long as the normal posting days.
The challenge came during the exam days when we had to do this alone, without a batch mate. And the translators provided were not our friends, but unknown people from other departments or verticals. They helped us only with what we asked and what the patients answered (Just that!)
So, it would always happen, that the history we extract and populate would be found irrelevant or have no or limited (relevant) family history, hardly any debilitating habits, no significant surgical history etc. as soon as the professors came to evaluate. The questions that were just answered with a few nods now were answered in a detailed long explanations.
Since we didn’t understand what the patient was narrating, we had to rely on the looks that we received from the professors. (most of the times, NASTY, VERY NASTY!!)
The professor would look at us like we were dumb, and the fact was, we did ask those points to the patient (but how do we say this to the professor?).
Invariably, this would happen to all of us. I wonder, if the professors ever thought that maybe (just maybe) the patients had not given complete details (since everyone had similar gaps).
In every exam, we would pray not for getting an easy professor allotted to us, or easy cases granted to us, but for a patient who speaks Hindi or English. I would look at other friends and try to read their story (throught their expressions), because those who got Hindi/English speaking patients would have a smile (molar to molar) larger than mine.
Routine clinical days were relatively easier; we did have hilarious incidences almost every day though.
Ah! Golden memories that will never return!.
Do share if you too remember any such incident from your clinical posting days.