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 Studentsångare (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 √Ėsterg√∂tland 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! ūüôā

I have a bike now!

IMG_2400.JPG

Meet Hera! ūüėÄ

My Linköping student-ness is leveling up.

I came back from Värnamo, Småland 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 Link√∂ping to come! ūüėÄ

…now I should do more doctor-related stuff.

I JUST OPERATED MY FIRST PATIENT EVER

Not gonna lie, who knew that Primary Care/GP/prim√§rv√•rd in V√§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.

*

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!!! ūüėÄ

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! ūüėā

 

Festivallen 2016

MedSex Levererar festivallen

Festival + kravall = Festivall

What is a “kravall” you may wonder?

Non-student proper definition: a riot
Student (Link√∂ping) definition: PARTY ūüėÄ

Last night, I went to my first kravall ever and initiated my medical student party tailcoat or l√§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! ūüėÄ

IMG_1906

Before leaving to the pre-party and getting it dirty¬†for the first time, Link√∂ping medic represent! ūüėÄ

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! ūüôā

snapchat party drinks pregame Linköping läkarprogrammet festivallen

Can this snapchat photo be any darker?

We biked to the kravall¬†at the Link√∂ping 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 Link√∂ping 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 ūüė¶

Kårallen Läkarprogrammet campus valla Linköpings universitet student life

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

At the end of the night, Thomas Stenstr√∂m the artist behind one of my major “missing Sweden super summer feelings” songs called “Sl√• mig h√•rt i ansiktet” performed. Breathtaking.

IMG_1988

THOMAS STENSTR√ĖM 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¬†V√§rnamo.

It was a good weekend back in Link√∂ping but now my placement continues. Now I’m in V√§rnamo for primary care for the next two weeks. Wish me luck! ūüôā

Dermatologists for the day

It’s coming to the end of our dermatology placement here in Jönköping and apparently as always, during this week they give us the opportunity to have our own clinic. It may just be me but I was slightly worried, but excited to have our own patients. I remember enjoying this when I got the opportunity in the UK. But this time it’s dermatology though. Do I know enough about skin?

My first patient came in and luckily he was a jolly man coming to check on a skin lesion on his head. After a few minutes of conversation, our doctor supervisor knocks on the door to take me out of the room for discussion together with my classmate, who also had his own patient. After the discussion, we decided to see my classmate’s patient first and then mine. However when we went to my patient, he was gone!

Great, my first own patient ever in Sweden vanished into thin air. Well that wasn‚Äôt a very good start now was it. (We called him later on and found out he didn’t leave because he was unhappy with the care but because he had an appointment to keep.)

Nevertheless, I had to put my worries aside and take my next patient in.

I let in my next patient who was a woman around my age with acne problems. I don‚Äôt know if it was because we were of similar age or that I also have had acne problems in the past, but we got along really well! She was telling me of the negative impact her acne has had on her mental well-being, and I definitely could relate. So I decided to give her the same self-care advice I was given which helped me with my acne – ‚Äúoff the record‚ÄĚ of course. I told her I will now step out of my ‚Äúdoctor‚ÄĚ role and now into my role as a girl helping another girl out.

Unfortunately, as I was giving her my acne care and makeup tips, the doctor came in to bring me out for discussion. Darn, I was in the middle of something I thought.

After discussing my classmate’s and my patients, we decided to see my classmate’s patient before mine once again, mainly because I asked for some time to speak with my patient some more afterwards. Then we came to see my patient.

We discussed at length with my patient regarding the etiology of acne and its treatment, which she greatly appreciated. We also discussed the negative impacts it has for my patient. At the end of the consultation we came to a treatment plan that both she and we were happy with. After this she said:

‚ÄúAt first annoyed that I had to come to the doctors this morning because it‚Äôs my birthday today. But now I feel that I‚Äôm getting something from you so I‚Äôm happy I came. It‚Äôs like a present for me, so thank you!‚ÄĚ

Touched, we all said goodbye to her. As I said goodbye however I asked if she had more questions for me. She then asked me for more acne care and makeup tips, and I was happy that I could continue where I left off!

I told her the importance of moisturising (which I learnt from my sister), and informed her of the type of make up she should use and not use. I also quickly told her how I usually do my makeup to hide all the spots (perhaps a video tutorial in the future?). She was happy to hear my tips and told me she will buy the products I recommended. I was happy I could talk makeup in a medical setting. Afterwards, we happily said goodbye, and wished each other all the best. I greeted her happy birthday once again, and apologised that I missed that it was her birthday today from the medical journals.

Shame, shame, shame on me. But at least this time, this patient didn’t disappear!

As a doctor, my goal is for my patients to leave the clinic the same way that my second patient left ‚Äď happy, and with the feeling that we did something that helped them. Even if it is on a day like their birthday. Who knew being a ‚Äúbeauty expert‚ÄĚ was part of the job!

image

 

N√§ssj√∂ and jogging around the beautiful Rocksj√∂n

Just like yesterday, I had to once again travel to a new city, new hospital in Nässjö. Once again, we were positively surprised at the hospitality of the people at the clinic.

IMG_1778

We were welcomed with an Easter buffet breakfast!

We came at about 9.30am, and was told to go upstairs to the kitchen. As we entered, we were greeted by the kind staff who invited us to the table. Apparently, they had set two plates for us at their Easter table since yesterday, anticipating us. Yup, I don’t think we could’ve felt even more welcome.

During the rest of the day, we were able to see the typical cases you’d see at every skin clinic: eczema, psoriasis, skin cancers etc. The staff there guided us to the rooms every time they knew there was an interesting case for us to see. We were going to end our day with scabies – which I read from our Swedish dermatology book is a typical Scandinavian skin infection – but on examination, it¬†later turned out to be dry skin. I guess that’s both good and bad news. Nevertheless, it was yet another enriching¬†day at dermatology!

When I came home, anticipating all the Easter food I’ll be eating in the next few days at home, I thought it would be a good time to go for a jog. It was pretty sunny too anyway. So I decided to run around the lake right in front of where we live called Rocksj√∂n. I don’t know if I ever have had a more scenic run before because boy was it beautiful.

IMG_1783

If you look to the right I took some random running route to finish a 5k, because I noticed that someone was randomly following me… He luckily stopped running after me at some point. The red-ish spot by John Bauer’s park is where I took the photo below!

I have been extremely fortunate to have been placed at such a beautiful place, with such an amazing group of people. I can’t believe my first week at dermatology here in J√∂nk√∂ping is already about to end by tomorrow, time is going so quickly! I’ll make sure to cherish the time I have left next week. But first, here comes a long Easter weekend back home in Stockholm!

Rocksjön is absolutely stunning, a wharf by the lake

Could one really ask for a better evening jog?

My utoml√§nsplacering turned me into a local jetsetter

This week I started my first “utoml√§nsplacering” which means a placement outside the county of my medical school.¬†I’m currently placed on a two-week dermatology placement in J√∂nk√∂ping, Sm√•land.

My friends also placed in J√∂nk√∂ping and I left Sunday evening and arrived at our apartments in the hospital grounds, provided by the hospital. We took our keys from the emergency room (“What was the first think you did in J√∂nk√∂ping? Go to the emergency room of course, ha!” -.-) and went to our temporary accommodation for the next two weeks.

IMG_1770

This is the beginning of the J√∂nk√∂ping hospital grounds, isn’t our apartment building beautiful?

I was worried about how the accommodation would be recalling the nightmare of accommodation we received back in the UK (see photo below), but one can say that I was positively surprised to say the least. THE ACCOMMODATION IS AMAZING!

bathroom at medical student accommodation blackburn hospital preston manchester

This is the accommodation bathroom provided for Manchester medical students based at Blackburn hospital… our accommodation now is definitely a step up #nightmare

Apart from the beautiful exterior, our apartments were MASSIVE! Two separate bedrooms for my roomie and I (it’s probably the biggest room I’ve ever lived in that’s not a hotel), a big hallway, a fully equipped kitchen etc. Free wi-fi, clean linen, pillows and towels to take downstairs, access to the free laundry room, a little library and a TV.¬†At least they definitely thought about our comfort as “travellers.” To make things even better, there’s a full shopping centre right across the road from where we live in the hospital grounds.

*

I’ve been to J√∂nk√∂ping once before with my choir but I don’t remember much from the city.¬†Therefore, being a true traveller, I was quite excited to explore this new place.

We came to our first day yesterday at the clinic and was warmly met by the staff. We have never been so warmly met before! We received our little introduction booklets, keys and decided our schedule amongst us. We found out that it is obligatory for us to travel to different cities as a part of our placement, and I was the “unfortunate” one who gets to travel to two different cities two days in a row.

welcome note for us medical students at jönköping ryhov hospital!

Look they even made us a little welcome note posted on the board!

So this morning as I’m writing this, I’m sitting on the train which will take me to V√§rnamo where I will be during the day. The travel there takes 2h, which is basically the same time it took me to go to J√∂nk√∂ping from my medical school Link√∂ping. And it costs 80kr each way (about 8 euros each way – my student wallet is crying). Tomorrow, I will be going to N√§ssj√∂, which will luckily take less than 2h to travel to.

Four cities (Linköping, Jönköping, Värnamo, Nässjö) in four consecutive days. I never realised that going to medical school would mean this much travel. I guess we just need to get used to it since in the end, we need to go to where our patients are. And not everyone will be lucky to have all their patients at the same place as oneself. Luckily, I enjoy being a jetsetter anyway.

I really need a driver’s license.

If I didn’t choose Oncology I would’ve probably chosen Infectious Diseases

During the first week of my Infectious Diseases placement, I recall attending a teaching session by one of the specialists. With much enthusiasm she said: “All diseases start with an infection!” I pondered about that statement for a while and realised that maybe she has a point.

In cases like rheumatic fever leading to heart problems etc later on in life, or H pylori infections leading to gastric ulcers that could eventually lead to cancer, maybe there is truth to her statement.

Infections occur in all systems, and has a multiple-system effect. They don’t always present themselves in the same pattern either. By giving the right antibiotic/antiviral etc among the masses available, you can save a life. Pretty exciting indeed.

During my placement, I met several patients who were in severe sepsis (basically dying) one day, seemed unaffected the next. Magic. One patient around my age came in and was barely able to open his eyes and breathe (he was breathing about >30 breaths per minute). He was losing his breath whilst talking to me. We administered antibiotics and when I visited him the next day, he was back to normal. Magic.

Perhaps my mom had a point when she was encouraging me to pursue Infectious Diseases as a specialty.¬†She has always spoken highly of the specialty, ever since she worked very closely with them as a clinical epidemiologist. I recall the days when mom would travel to Vietnam with the WHO to help eradicate malaria. Perhaps it is due to my early exposure to the specialty that I took a natural interest to infectious diseases. Or perhaps it’s actually in the blood.

Nevertheless, after these two weeks at the Infectious Diseases department, my commitment to oncology is still as strong as it has always been. But my respect and interest for the specialty has definitely grown.

I maybe won’t become an Infectious Diseases specialist in the future, but if there’s someone I would entrust to save the lives of the masses, I would definitely turn to an Infectious Diseases specialist to save the world.happy dancing cats

“Vad bra svenska du talar!”

“Vad bra svenska du¬†talar, verkligen!”

Translation: “You speak really good Swedish, really!”

Ever since coming here to Linköping to continue my studies, I seem to get this quite a lot. Once I tell them about my background of course.

After I tell people about moving to Sweden as a 7-year-old from the Philippines and being in medical school for four years in the UK, somehow, people seem to only focus on that. I chose to study in the UK, because I have studied in English ever since moving to Sweden – international schools from elementary to university. However, I did grow up in Sweden in the end. Somehow, the fact that I’ve been raised in Sweden is overshadowed by my immigrant background and international education.

Should I take this as a compliment? That I learnt how to speak good Swedish after living in Sweden for over 10 years? And didn’t forget it whilst abroad?

Or should I feel offended that because I look and am from a different country, I was expected to speak Swedish badly?

Nevertheless, I must understand, I’m a minority.¬†Not everyone have met us modern Swedes with international backgrounds. In that case, I can be an ambassador to show that assimilation into Swedish culture from another background is possible. Maybe next time they meet someone like me, they won’t be as surprised.

My patient hugged me goodbye :)

For the past two weeks, I have been placed in Infection, and this final week I have been placed in the wards. But I’ll write more about this Infection placement some other time.
During the entire week, I have been in charge of a patient ever since he came into the ward. I was there when he came in, and watched him improve with the antibiotics as the days went by. I was sent in to take a quick history with him alone, and I even met his wife in the corridor. She was looking for him, and luckily I knew where he was.
Today, his infection had improved so much, that he was ready to go home.
I typed out his discharge notes, and came to him with the doctor in charge. Since he was my patient, I was going to discharge him. I gave him my papers, explained what we had done and asked him if he had any questions. At the end of the consultation, I stretched out my hand to say goodbye and to wish him well.
He took my hand and shook it, but then afterwards, he pulled me in for a big hug, thanking us for taking good care of him during his stay.
“I have felt very well taken care of during my entire stay here! At first I was quite angry about it, but you all have been so nice towards me. Thank you very much!”

It is not always you actually manage to reach out to a patient, and for them to understand that you want what is best for them. But when you do reach out to them, the feeling of knowing that something you have done has helped someone else feel better, and for that person to actually appreciate it, is priceless.

giphy