I got my first piece of mail this week - the results of my MRSA screening. For my non-medical readers, MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. It is a resistant bacteria that is unfortunately common in the US but quite uncommon in Sweden - a statistic they would like to maintain. So every person who comes to Sweden or returns from Sweden from being abroad that is working with patients has to be screened for MRSA and treated if found to be colonized by MRSA in the nose or throat. Thankfully, my MRSA tests were negative so I don't have to worry about getting treatment!
|liten kaffe and kanelbulle|
|Almudena and Ana|
I actually did accomplish something productive on Saturday, however. I had been hoping to go to Oslo, Norway for a weekend and for some reason, the online ticket purchasing system doesn't like any of my credit cards. So Saturday afternoon I headed to T-Centralen and Stockholm Centralstation and purchased my train ticket for Oslo! Next weekend - Norway :)
Now for the work week. This week was spent on the Urology service. All four of us international students were back together for this week. Our first day we didn't have to report until 9 which was so nice. When we arrived and met with our mentor of the week, he handed us each a schedule for the week detailing where we needed to be, the times we needed to be there, and a lecture schedule. It was a great sign that this week was going to run very smoothly and as a result be quite enjoyable - I was not disappointed! We were split into twos and each had two days in clinic and two days in the operating room. All of the urology staff knew we were going to be there that week and were very welcoming to include us in both the clinic and the operating room. This was definitely my favorite service I have been on so far. I got some good practice with prostate exams, urological disease management, inserting Foley catheters, and was able to be first assist for a total amputation of the penis for a guy with penile cancer. I won't go into more detail on that - needless to say, it was fascinating. For those of you who know about my first trip to Haiti a year ago, it was the same sort of fascinating as amputating a man's leg with elephantiasis - something you really don't see very often at all, possibly even once in a lifetime. The day I assisted in the amputation was probably my best day of the week. It was the kind of day when you are just "on." On the ward rounds, we had a patient with a UTI and I was able to impress my attending with my knowledge of antibiotic allergies - specifically the use of cephalosporins in penicillin-allergic patients. Secondly, on the ward, we had a patient with tumor literally eroding through his skin and had to do a bedside debridement and re-dress the wound. The attending forgot that I didn't speak Swedish and was asking me for things in Swedish. I didn't need any instructions to know what he needed and when he realized his mistake, he was impressed that I knew what to do without being instructed. Third, as first assist, I impressed my attending with my OR skills. I was able to anticipate what he needed me to do as his assistant without him needing to give me any instruction. He told me that I was really helpful and actually made the surgery more efficient - probably the best compliment you can get as a medical student! Our final day on the urology service, our mentor gave us lectures in the morning then took us all out for lunch in the hospital restaurant. It was a great week and I am actually going to miss urology.
One thing I noticed this week in the hospital is how much the Swedish doctors seem to love wearing socks with sandals - specifically Birkenstock sandals. I don't know if it's because the sandal-wearing season is so short, but I have never seen so many people wear socks with their sandals. It was almost as disturbing as the penis amputation. If the doc isn't wearing socks and sandals, he/she is typically wearing a pair of white clogs which also makes no sense to me especially for surgeons... I do not fit in with my footwear, and I intend to keep it that way!
This upcoming week I am back on general surgery with the upper GI service. I hope it is a good week and the presentation goes smoothly and the test is easy. I am looking forward to completing the rotation and for my weekend in Oslo!