I’m about to get operated.

I know I’m in my fifth year of medical school, I know I’ve grown up hearing about operations, I know I’ve seen countless surgeries… But somehow I’m still somewhat scared. Even though this is a quick and non-invasive surgery. 

It’s definitely a completely different experience being the person on the other side of the bed now. Now I understand what patients feel when they come to the hospital. Now I’m one of them lying here waiting for my turn to get operated on.

In a few hours my five years of pain in my right arm will be over. Soon, I can play the violin again! 

Wish me luck and prayers are warmly appreciated! Time for me to become the patient! 😊

Soon little arm, your five years of pain will be over. â˜ș

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Carmina Burana

 

For the past week, I have been part of the most amazing production ever. Namely, Carmina Burana.

My choir Den Akademiska Kören Linnea sang together with our brother choir Linköpings StudentsÄngare (the official choir of the university) and another all-female choir Da Capo. The orchestra who came and played came all the way from Gotland, as well as the soloists. We all even had a small choreography.

We’ve been working on this production for weeks, even requiring some of us (including myself) to travel in between cities to go to practices. It’s been hard work, tiring practices lasting to the night. But it’s been worth it. Last Thursday the 21st of April, all our preparation was put on the test, and our journey had met its end. And It was amazing.

Last Thursday the 21st of April, we stood on the stage of the Linköping Concert and Conference Hall and sang to a completely sold-out hall. The tickets had been sold out for months.

I’ve sang in a choir for quite some time now but this was definitely something else. And the media seemed to think so too. The local newspaper Corren gave our concert a 4/5 rating in their article, and SVT local for our region Östergötland covered it as well in an interview. Like, what just happened. Omg.

The whole experience has been so humbling and I still can’t get over what just happened. Nevertheless, I’m thankful. I’m so happy I belong in such an amazing choir with such an amazing group of girls. Until our next adventure! 🙂

I have a bike now!

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Meet Hera! 😀

My Linköping student-ness is leveling up.

I came back from VÀrnamo, SmÄland on Friday and already the next day I decided to up my Linköping game and get a bike. I was told about the bike sale which was part of the recycling fair on Saturday a few minutes before closing. My friends and I quickly biked over, and I met Hera.

It was love at first sight. But I thought she needed an upgrade so I painted her orange.  Very fluorescent orange. And changed her tires. She’ll be hard to miss for sure!

The painting was a lot more difficult than I thought but I am finally finished. Meet Hera, my new travelling buddy for the years in Linköping to come! 😀

…now I should do more doctor-related stuff.

PrimĂ€rvĂ„rd (primary care) placement – done!

 

During one of my first lectures during my first year of medical school, our lecturer asked how many of us in my class wanted to be surgeons. More than half of the room raised their hands up including myself. Afterwards our lecturer asked how many of us wanted to be general practitioners/family practice doctors/distriktslĂ€kare. About five people raised their hands up. I wasn’t one of them.

Why is it that primary care is often perceived as one of the “lower,” “less interesting,” “boring” specialities? Statistically, more than half of all medical students in a class end up in primary care in the end. I guess people eventually realise how great the specialty is, after one overcomes the social stigma of the “super-shiny” status of surgeons and other specialists. And there is a high demand for primary care doctors too of course.

Here are some examples of the privileges of working in primary care:

  1. You do medicine, surgery and other different types of treatment approaches on a daily basis so it’s hard to get bored
  2. Patients come in with literally any symptom possible, and it’s up to you to decide which system they belong to – exciting detective work
  3. You really get to personally know your patients and their families through the years, as families tend to stay within the same practice/clinic/VĂ„rdcentral
  4. It’s easier to plan your time and time-offs as the patients are not acutely ill
  5. NORMAL OFFICE WORKING HOURS – what night shifts?
  6. It’s very well paid, especially in rural areas

I could definitely see myself pursuing primary care in the future with those perks.

I have been in VĂ€rnamo for my primary care placement for the past two weeks and absolutely loved it. It’s such a varied specialty with all sorts of patients, you never knew what people would come in with as they walked through the door. And they always have the most amazing stories to tell. Definitely far from boring, which most have an understanding of primary care to be.

This is my fourth primary care placement ever, after three 4-week placements in the UK. Because of this I wasn’t really looking forward to this placement thinking it’s a repetition of the past. But this has been the best placement I have ever had so far.

The people have been most welcoming (like amazingly welcoming, they even hugged my goodbye!), even giving me an office for both weeks to make sure that I felt like a part of the team/family. I was given lots of responsibilities, and they really pushed me to my abilities. Everyone has been super friendly, even have driven me home sometimes and had coffee or fika outside the clinic! I’m sure these experiences I gained here I will have use for throughout my career.

VÀrnamo, thank you very much for an amazing two-week placement in primary care. My four-week tour around SmÄland is now over, and I can finally return to Linköping. No more travelling, I can finally settle back in my new home in Linköping until the summer.

See you soon Linköping, I’ve missed you! 🙂

Samuelle Valles name outside office door for patients to come in. Red light showing that I am inside or busy. Upptaget in Swedish. Being a medical student or lÀkarstudent/lÀkarkandidat in Linköping is fun!

Closed the door to my office for the last time. See you my-name-by-the-door again soon when I finally can call myself Dr. Sam!

Tallinn for a weekend, why not?

friends in Old City Tallinn Estonia city hall

Hello from the old city of Tallinn! 😀

I’m a very work hard play hard type of person. I take my work very seriously, and I take my breaks very seriously. So my friends and I wanted to go on a cruise from Stockholm to Tallinn for a weekend, why not?

I left VĂ€rnamo Friday morning to get to the ferry in the evening. Yes it takes about 5h to get to Stockholm. Afterwards, my friends and I were on the boat and had an amazing time from beginning to end.

Party. Friends. New friends. Brazilian acrobats. Some Tallinn. Some singing. Party.

 

It was an amazing weekend, but now time for my final week in primary care in VĂ€rnamo. Here’s for a well-deserved getaway – until next time but for now, time to work hard. Hope you all had an amazing weekend, and have an amazing week ahead!

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I JUST OPERATED MY FIRST PATIENT EVER

Not gonna lie, who knew that Primary Care/GP/primĂ€rvĂ„rd in VĂ€rnamo could be this fun?!

My surgical skills diploma from Manchester isn’t just a paper hanging on the wall anymore! Those general surgery days with McCloy paid off – the best teacher I had in Manchester for sure.

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Earlier that day, the doctor I was shadowing excised a lipoma, and told me that should another patient come in wanting something removed, I would be allowed to do it under his supervision. Yes I know, he is pretty awesome like that, wanting me to have as much hands-on experience as possible.

Our last patient came in who was a young patient with a congenital nevus (mole), about 3x3cm. Yay I thought, another skin patient and a possible surgery candidate! We examined it and decided that it was benign, but asked whether he wanted it removed anyway – me secretly hoping that he did. He said he wanted it removed. The doctor and I looked at each other and smiled. I GET TO CONDUCT MY FIRST SURGERY EVER!!! 😀

As per my doctor supervisor’s instructions, I injected the anaesthesia, excised the nevus/mole and lastly sutured/sewed it up. All by myself. Except for when the doctor helped me cut the thread after every suture/stitch I put down. In the end it became 6.

After finishing the last suture/stitch, we said goodbye to the patient and left the room. BOOYA. SUCCESS.

It’s gone a few hours now and I still haven’t stopped smiling. I feel so happy and honoured to have been entrusted with such an opportunity which I’m sure I never will forget!

So now baby doctor Sam has performed her first baby operation. I have to start somewhere right? Next time it will be much bigger. Like what my friend said, maybe next time, I will operate on a mole 5x5cm big instead! đŸ˜‚

 

Festivallen 2016

MedSex Levererar festivallen

Festival + kravall = Festivall

What is a “kravall” you may wonder?

Non-student proper definition: a riot
Student (Linköping) definition: PARTY 😀

Last night, I went to my first kravall ever and initiated my medical student party tailcoat or lĂ€karfrack. Festivallen is a party organised by the party committee of the medical school, mainly aimed its students of course. So yeah, basically one could see students from every semester (there are 11 semesters hence 11 classes of over 100-ish students) at the party. At a kravall, you wear your party student “uniform” or ovve which is according to your study program. But since we’re medical students and are “a bit more special”, we wear tailcoats (frack) and not overalls (hence the word ovve) like everyone else. At every kravall you go to you collect a badge which you then put on your ovve, to show everyone all the events you have been to of course. I officially have my first stamp! 😀

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Before leaving to the pre-party and getting it dirty for the first time, Linköping medic represent! 😀

I borrowed my friend’s bike and overcame my fear of biking in a city. We started at a preparty at a friend’s house, where her roomie invited people from her class to – which happens to be my future class starting next semester. My future classmates are super friendly and welcoming, and I’m less scared of changing class once again. They even invited me to their upcoming klassittning (class party). It was nice to meet those I will graduate as a doctor with in two years! 🙂

snapchat party drinks pregame Linköping lÀkarprogrammet festivallen

Can this snapchat photo be any darker?

We biked to the kravall at the Linköping main campus, Valla (not the hospital campus where we basically live!) where I unfortunately lost one of my bag’s wings on the way. We came in, and as my first ever proper school-wide student party in Linköping ever, I was impressed. Everyone dressed in similar uniforms representing their study programs, and three different rooms with different music. And these rooms were BIG. I’d estimate about 700 students at the party. Amazing.

me writing on the facebook event page for Festivallen regarding my lost wing on my beibaobao bag

It’s the first time I used this bag and it already lost one wing… No one has replied on the Facebook event page regarding if they’ve found the other wing… So so sad 😩

KÄrallen LÀkarprogrammet campus valla Linköpings universitet student life

My friend and classmate Laura and I at the biggest room of KĂ„rallen! Yes I know this is also yet another super great dark photo.

At the end of the night, Thomas Stenström the artist behind one of my major “missing Sweden super summer feelings” songs called “SlĂ„ mig hĂ„rt i ansiktet” performed. Breathtaking.

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THOMAS STENSTRÖM ARRGHHAAA

I woke up the next day at my friend’s place with a massive headache but with the realisation that oh my God I had such an amazingly good time last night. So who cares about the hangover. But now it’s time for VĂ€rnamo.

It was a good weekend back in Linköping but now my placement continues. Now I’m in VĂ€rnamo for primary care for the next two weeks. Wish me luck! 🙂

Dermatology: expectation vs reality

I’m going to admit, dermatology wasn’t one of the placements I was looking forward to. I’m sure I wasn’t alone in this either. Luckily, after two weeks at dermatology, one can say I was very much positively surprised!

Here are some of my expectations from before the placement and my insights of the specialty after my two-week placement.

1. You see acne and eczema everyday

arnold schwarzenegger it's not a toomah gif

On the contrary, most of the times it was a toomah.

During our two weeks there, I saw two acne patients and probably around five eczema patients. Skin cancer patients on the other hand? I definitely lost track. They came by the truckloads. Perhaps the reason why I thought dermatology = eczema and acne is because those are the only two skin problems I ever sought medical help for. Also, I’m brown. So what skin cancer?

2. Apart from acne and eczema, it’s all about too much sun

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So many patients come in with different skin lesions, many explained by too much sun exposure. However, when I was studying about the different diseases we saw at the hospital, I was surprised that it is so much more than that. This really became apparent for me when I was reading about psoriasis. I mean in this case, it is even the opposite.

Psoriasis is a skin condition which has a complex immunological pathogenesis – a lot more than just simple skin damage. It has been shown that sunlight has a therapeutic effect, improving the patients’ disease. Consequently, psoriasis patients in Sweden actually get offered a free three-week “therapeutic” vacation in the south of Europe. Not bad eh?

This is just one of the many skin conditions that is not because of sun damage.

3. There is a cream for everything

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Rash? Take this cream. Acne? Take this cream. Palmoplantar pustulosis? Take this cream.

Although there is some truth in this (yes, the main treatments for those conditions I mentioned are creams), it’s only a very, very small part of what dermatologists do to treat patients. Dermatologists also prescribe other forms of medication like injections and tablets, and also perform surgery of course – via liquid nitrogen “freezing” or excision! They also treat their patients in different baths and therapeutic light therapy, which is basically therapeutic solariums. Also, did you know that dermatologists in Sweden are  venerologists (STD-specialists) too? Yup, if there’s some funny business going on down below, you go to a skin doctor.

4. Most dermatologists are women

beyonce who run the world girls

When we came to the clinic during our first day, I was positively surprised that our supervisor was a very friendly and jolly male överlĂ€kare or consultant. There were actually a lot more male dermatologists than I thought, because he wasn’t the only one I met at the three hospitals I visited. At our main hospital there were at least three!

5. Most patients are vain

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My thinking before the placement: “Patients who come to dermatology are vain which is why they’re super self-conscious about their skin.” Boy was I wrong.

In cases of acne and eczema, I thought patients come in because they want to make themselves even prettier by treating the disease. I realised that they come in because they want to be pretty. Because they don’t think they are.

There is apparently a link between acne and negative mental well-being, and this I could definitely see from some of the patients I met. Many develop low self-esteem and even a form of dysmorphism, because of their skin problems. Definitely the opposite to what I thought in the beginning.

6. Dermatology is a “clean” specialty

a pig taking a bath being clean gif

What I mean by clean is that there is no need for messy tubes here and there, sputum/faeces/sweat etc. samplings, no need to open patients up etc. The speciality relies mainly on the visual evaluation of a person’s condition. See, clean. Although it might be so most of the time, there are definitely exceptions.

During our first visit to the dermatology ward, we visited a patient with a rare but severe cutaneous vasculitis called pyoderma gangrenosum. If you’re curious, do google it, but be wary of what you will see. I warned you. Keep in mind though, the photos you will find on google are very, very far from what I saw. The patient we saw basically had no flesh all the way down to his tendons, on both feet extending above his ankle. Exactly like how you would see a fixed cadaver model of feet muscles for anatomy. But this time the specimen is alive. That is not what I would”clean” at all, and I don’t even want to start about the smell…

7. Skin lesions will no longer be dots for me after two weeks

Jokes nope, still dots.

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