Wednesday, September 30, 2015


I want to blog, but don't know which story to tell. 
But the stories....
they are plenty!

It no longer feels weird to introduce myself as 
Dr. Sting

I pronounced my first death
and cried while doing it
silent tears
because we had gone on this journey together
The patient, his family and I

I saw the true meaning of the statement made by Patch Adams
"You treat a disease, you win, you lose.
You treat a person, 
I guarantee you, you'll win
no matter what the outcome"

Truer words have never been spoken.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Worrying is for the worried

I had a 15 hr day today.

I was sitting with my hands on my head, lost in deep thought a few minutes ago and when I snapped back to reality, it occurred to me that I was sitting here worrying about my patient. You would think that getting home would be a relief, a chance to get away and decompress. That's not always the case. It's harder when u have gotten close to the patient and their family and I have realised that it's takes very little to do that.

I've always known that people love when u remember their names. Feeling that you have someone actually paying attention to you and only you or your sick relative, no one else matters at that point, just you, is very important. So when I do my interviews in the patient's room, I pull up a chair and sit down. If there is family present, I introduce myself to each one and make sure i ask and remember their names.

When I stopped by this evening in the ICU, the family was present and actually about to leave, they saw me and immediately smiled. After the attending physician finishing talking to them, as they walked away, one of the daughters turned to me and said, "you are going to make a very good doctor"

Knowing that their family member might not be heading in the right direction is really a cause for concern. I told the patient this morning before the rapid response was called to please get better, your family is so nice.... What I didn't say but was thinking is, I don't want to give them bad news. Please get well because the last thing I want right now is to have to lose a patient.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Bride Price

I just bought my ticket for my vacation next month. Yay!

My dad  collected $1 as bride price for my sister this past weekend. He didn't want to take anything at all, but the in-laws insisted and he collected a dollar. Our bride price is typically 21 Naira  but my granddad started the tradition of not collecting anything and unlike a lot of stories i've heard from the older generation, he told his daughters that they were always free to come back to his house if things did not work out. I think he was very progressive for his time. He died before i was born so i didn't get to meet him.

So i was driving home from work yesterday, i was talking about the $1 bride price with my dad and i told him I wanted him to collect more than a dollar for my bride price. He started laughing and asked how much i wanted him to take and i said thousands, that he can give it to me if he doesn't want it. I'm not doing that $1 story. I'm going with my igbo side on this one. How much does a American trained doctor go for these days?

It doesn't matter anyway cos my dad will still collect $1. He should at least ask the in-laws to pay off my student loans.

Now that's a plan I love. If only i was an Indian dude. I actually saw that in a movie.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


"You are as beautiful as you are good" Then she turned to her sister and asked "right?"
Sister responds "she's very beautiful" puts her two hands together and gives a slight bow in thanks.

I was floored, very unexpected praise/compliment. I said thanks, that their mom is lovely and and speaks very highly of her daughters which reminds me of my relationship with my mother.......

Moments earlier when I sat on a chair beside the patient's bed adjusting the position of the bed to suit her, then getting a pillow to elevate her leg to make her more comfortable, only the second sister was present and she had said "isn't this a waste of your talent, I can do this for her". I said no talent is being wasted this is all part of what I do.

I'm so glad that I found my way to the specialty where I can take care of the person with the disease not just the disease. And as much as I hated my med school experience with each day that passes, I am so thankful for the excellent training I got in my med school. I now realize how good my med school is. From first year, it was not only drilled into us, we were given the opportunity to learn and practice how to see and acknowledge the person behind the disease. We learned from day one the importance of listening and communicating with your patients. History, history, history, the key to the diagnoses most of the time is history. Listen and let the patient tell you what is wrong with them.

These things are now second nature to me, it's the only way I know how to practice. Even in med school, when patients were mean and grumpy to me,  I never took it personally, I knew It was usually not about me no one enjoys being sick and in a hospital bed surrounded by the unfamiliar and fear of the unknown. Some people just handle it more gracefully than others. So these days when I receive such praise, I still continue to be floored because i'm just being myself. I don't think i'm doing anything special.

 When you tell a patient or their family member you will do something, never blow it off, find time to do it, otherwise don't say you will you it. I learned this while before med school while working at the psych hospital and it was again emphasized in med school. The other day, a very nice patient was talking about wanting to understand more about what was going on with her any was going to google it. I said, why not let me get you information from a great source that doctors use all the time (Up to date anyone? :). When i actually brought her the information right before she was discharged, she was surprised and thanked me for remembering. I said, if i tell you i'm going to do something, then i do it.
I was actually called by the attending to meet him to round on that patient, instead of rushing down, i took the extra two-three minutes i needed to pull up the information and print it out before going to meet him. He rounded on the patient without me, cos she was just getting discharged. When i was walking towards the room, he told me he already saw the patient and i told him i had to give her the information she requested on her illness, and he said oh good! .

It's the little things that count. As a med student, I would watch patients or their families during rounds and often see the confusion on their faces. Too much information, sometimes a lot of doctor speak going on. A lot of patients are not comfortable asking questions for fear of exposing their ignorance or not wanting to challenge the doctor. If they were my patients, I always went back after rounds to clarify, fill in gaps and just generally get everyone on the same page. I would always tell family members and patients that they were the best advocate for themselves and they needed to speak up, ask questions, know why they were being put on the medications they were prescribed.

I had a dream on Sunday that I was still trying to get into med school and I was very discouraged about getting in and was thinking of giving up. It was such a vivid dream and I was SO relieved to realise when I woke up that it was just a dream. That not only have I gotten into med school, I'm done with it and i'm now a doctor. It was a reminder to focus on how far I've come and how much i overcame to get here. I wasn't very happy the whole month of August and I needed to be reminded that my life could be a whole lot worse.

I remain thankful. Always!
Hey guys, welcome to my blog. Sit back, relax, grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!

  © Blogger template Writer's Blog by 2008

Back to TOP