Many of us have to visit the hospital from time to time. Whether it be visiting a loved one or being a patient yourself, hospitals are the one place people wish they could leave as soon as possible.
I was recently hospitalised due to my medical condition and had an interesting experience at the hands of different doctors and nurses. It was made interesting given I am a medical student and the perspective I brought to my own treatment.
I woke up in extreme pain and went to the emergency department at the local hospital. After taking my details and giving me some temporary pain relief I waited an hour before seeing someone. My presentation is very similar to a patient presenting with appendicitis. This means the appendix is inflamed and usually needs to be removed to prevent further complications. To test this, the doctor pushes their hand deep into the right side of the abdomen and releases. This was performed on me several times and was excruciating as this is where my flare up occurs.
Of course I knew the pain I was experiencing was very similar to my previous episodes of Familial Mediterranean Fever and I wanted to make sure no surgeons were going to sharpen any scalpels. I explained my condition to the doctors and nurses and was surprised not many of them knew about it. After more pain relief and eight hours of being dazed, I was admitted to the surgical ward so the surgical doctors could keep an eye on me as they were not convinced of my story.
I spent two days on the surgical ward for observation. On the surgical ward I was seen by the head doctors of four specialties as my condition is rare and they hadn't seen a case such as mine before. I became a source of information for the ward medical staff. I would explain my condition and educate them about my treatment and prognosis. Medical students such as myself came to practice their history taking and examination skills. It was quite interesting to be on the other side of the questions and see it from a patient's point of view. My pain started to settle down and the doctors were finally happy to send me home.
What did I learn?
Upon reflecting on my three days in hospital I learned that:
- It's very annoying to be asked the same question by 10 different people in one day
- Pain medication should be given to patients with less hesitation
- For a patient, a hospital is quite a boring place.