Back on my housemanship in Nigeria chronicles – Yesterday was “officially” my last day as a house officer in the Endocrinology unit of the Department of medicine, LUTH and it feels so good to be leaving. Although, officially in quote because I still have a two weeks extension to spend there sometime in the future but that’s a story for another day.
Ah, Medicine! How do I go into my medicine posting experience? I’ll just start by saying it was real.
Most people get confused when I say I’m in medicine posting because isn’t it generally called medicine? Well yes, but here’s the thing – So it’s called Medicine and Surgery as a whole with various sub-branches including (internal) medicine. We get to rotate through that and the three other branches – OnG, Surgery, and Paediatrics spending three months in each and a month of external posting.
Now, internal medicine also has its own sub-branches – there are the people that deal with the heart (hypertension, heart failure, and co), the lungs (TB, asthma and co), the kidneys, GIT and there’s also the endocrinology unit that deals with hormone issues like diabetes, thyroid problems etc.
I was a bit apprehensive when I got to the department to find out where I’ll be getting posted to. I was hoping/praying for a unit that won’t be so busy so I’d have time for my other life here but nooo, I got posted to the endocrinology unit (only the most stressful and malignant unit in Medicine everrrr). At first, I didn’t know what I was getting into. I had no idea why people kept looking at me with pity when I said I got endo but I was quick to find out. Haha.
On my first day, I got a one-month extension. No, I didn’t kill anybody or disrespect anyone or do anything really drastic. That’s just the endocrinology unit for you. Extension (which is kind of like a punishment – you get to work extra days/months depending on how long you get without pay) is just a second nature for them. It’s like that Oprah Winfrey’s show – You get an extension, he gets an extension, everybody gets an extension!
In the Endo unit, we get to see a whole lot of diabetic patients with complications – hyperglycemia and diabetic foot ulcers. Especially the foot ulcers! They come in flocks so we were never short of patients. We had them in every ward and it seemed like we had a new admission every other day.
DMFS(diabetic foot) is such a nasty thing that I don’t wish on anyone. It takes ages to heal if it’s just the minor stage and it can lead to amputation if it’s gone past the stage where it can still be managed. Most diabetic patients that come with these complications are usually those that stop taking their drugs regularly or just stop taking it completely. Drug compliance is a major problem with patients so let me just use this medium also to beg you all that happen to have diabetic relatives. Please try to ensure that they take their medications seriously.
Endo was stress! Having to work long hours, be on call every day at some point and then have the fear of extension coupled with all that wasn’t an easy feat. The good thing though is that it is such a hands-on unit and since we basically do all the work – correcting all the hyperglycaemias and hypos – having to give insulin shots hourly and recheck their blood glucose levels sometimes till the early morning, I got to learn how to manage those complications without having to rely on the senior doctors so much. Knowledge is a super cool thing, you know?
I know a couple of people thought I was going to break down lol but I guess I showed them that I’m not as weak as I look. Also, the mind is an amazing thing plus we humans can adapt to anything we decide to. It’s all about your mindset towards it. Mine was – I’ve got to do this regardless so I better just put my back into it, try to stay out of trouble and get it done as soon as I can. Too bad, that didn’t erase my extension sha lool.
My colleagues weren’t as fun as or as sympathetic to my cause as a blogger by helping me take pictures like my OnG colleagues but we all thrived together well.
At this point too, let me just add a quick shout out to my senior registrar who might probably never see this : Dr Yusuf Bashir! Thanks for being the realest MVP in the Endocrinology unit. For always sticking your neck out for house officers and for being innately good.
I also did a one month stint at the Guinness eye center ophthalmology as my secondary posting. Remember I mentioned that we get to do one month of outside posting? Well, I was unfortunate enough to get another equally busy posting. The positive side was that I got weekends off, didn’t have to work till 12 am and got most of them to check out my blog lol. I’m not going to comment much on my Opthalmology posting so I’ll be ending this post right here!
Just like the last time, here’s just a quick list of the common cases we see in both Endo and Opthalmology.
Diabetes Mellitus : a disease in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin which helps to reduce blood glucose levels is impaired, resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and elevated levels of glucose in the blood. You can peep some of the symptoms and complications in the picture of a chart above.
Glaucoma : is a group of eye diseases which result in damage to the optic nerve and vision loss. It is usually due to increased introccular pressure and family history is an important risk factor. If anyone in your family has glaucoma, go to the Ophthalmologist so you can be screened too.
Cataract : a medical condition in which the lens of the eye becomes progressively opaque (the small black circle in the eye becomes whitish), resulting in blurred vision. It’s commoner n elderly people but can also be found in babies (congenital).
Congenital cataract is an emergency so if you happen to know anyone with a baby born with a whitish speck in their eyes, let them know they have to get to the hospital quickly.
Pterygium : is a non cancerous growth of fleshy tissue on the conjunctiva, the clear tissue that lines your eyelids and covers your eyeball. It usually forms on the side closest to your nose and grows toward the pupil area.
I start my surgery posting tomorrow and I’m just praying/hoping I don’t get another malignant posting. I should probably share it on my instastory tomorrow so let’s be friends on Instagram : @cassiedaves.
Also peep some of my housemanship in Nigeria chronicles with the hashtag #cassiedaveshousejobchronicles
Please let me know if there are any extra details you’ll like to know for my subsequent housejob chronicle posts!
If you’re a doctor (medical) currently doing your housemanship in Nigeria or already done, I’ll love to know what hospital you’re working in and also read about your own experience so please leave me a comment.
And let’s connect!