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25 July 2009

Stuff happens

This past week brought home just how far away I am. My grandpa John passed away on Tuesday morning. I knew very well that having older relatives die while I am over here was a distinct probablility. But it's still horrid when it happens. John was a "step-grandad", as my Grandma Klassen remarried after my grandpa passed away. He was a gentle, content man, stubborn to the core (isn't that a prerequisite for being Mennonite?), and loved a good game of Rook or Tile Rummy and dessert in any form it showed up. He had one of the greenest thumbs I've ever seen. He even put up with the crazy Klassen clan that came with marrying my Grandma, and was grandpa to my generation of kids for 21 years. He hadn't been well since Easter, and slowly just ....deccelerated until he stopped. I'll miss him.
I feel like I can't be there for my dad and grandma. I feel pretty helpless- at least there's the Vonage and email. The funeral is this Friday, and Rob will be attending.
Medicine marches on- we are starting to transition from repro block to cancer, this week we have the case of a potential prostate cancer. Turns out the fellow just had benign hyperplasia. Fortunately, we won't have to learn how to do a digital rectal exam until next year.....
Other bum- related news: I am currently part of an experiment to see how best to train future colonoscopists.
“the hard way”Fun with fake colons!
So I am practicing threading a scope up a dummy's anus. The experiment runs for 9 weeks. I can definitely say I have new respect for a good gastroenterologist. The point of the study is this: state of Queensland is attempting to impliment a massive colorectal screening program, and thus will need a lot more qualified people to do the scoping. They want to see how they can provide these people in the best/fastest way possible. So they are attempting to see how untrained monkeys (1st year med students) do with the learning process. It IS kind of fun, and I can now say all those hours Julie and I spent playing Nintendo as kids is not wasted. First question everyone asks is: "Do you do it on real people?" No. "Do you have to have it done to you?" No. It's a training model with a rubber "colon" which has been lubricated to act and look like the real thing. The photo below give an idea of what I see on the screen:
I have now been matched up with a mentor through the Australian Medical Association (AMA), with Dr. Chris Davis, who also happens to be the former president of the AMA. Handy. He has invited me to sit in on his clinic at the Prince Charles Hospital. So that seems like a positive thing already. It's nice to know that I'm not just student #21381289, or just a cash cow to the finance office. Well, back to Robbins (my pathology textbook). Have a great week, folks!

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