Sunday, March 20, 2016
I had many meetings with the disability liaison officer while I was a student, though they were far and few between as I would try my best to avoid needing them. I think this particular one was quite early on at my time there, when I was struggling to find my feet and the school was having second thoughts about my suitability to a career as a doctor. When the topic of autism came up, one of their damage control strategies was to try and aim me towards certain medical specialties that stereotypically involve very little or zero patient contact, such as pathology and radiology. In fact, I can recall many times where a member of faculty has tried to hint that one of these specialties would be perfect for me. But, during this particular meeting, I rebuffed the suggestions with my own career plans in emergency medicine. I have many reasons for why I felt I would be well-suited to such a career, but my apparent lack of emotions was not one of them. This member of faculty, however - the disability officer - seemed to have an epiphany once I'd said that. Their response was along the lines of, "Perhaps you'd be good at that. When you have to deal with a sick child, you would be able to stay calm as you would lack the same emotional responses others would have in that situation."
So I received a tiny morsel of support and approval at my career choices, but not because of my own adeptness to it, but because I apparently wouldn't care.
How wrong they were.
A few weeks ago, I had to deliver some bad news to a pregnant woman who had lost her baby and I can tell you, it was one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do. Difficult not only because I was unseasoned, but because I'd formed an emotional attachment to this patient - I liked them. She was kind and sweet and well-meaning, and all she wanted was to bring a new life into the world so that she could share those things with that child, and much more. But she had been bleeding for a few days and came to hospital because she was worried she'd lost the baby. Just as quickly as she'd found out she was pregnant, I had to tell her that she was no more, and on finding out myself that she had miscarried all I wanted to do was walk outside somewhere and cry. Not an unreasonable response to rubbish situation, I don't think.
Despite this being a very difficult thing for me to do, I managed to do it. I stayed as calm as I could and maintained my professionalism throughout, and I was clear yet sympathetic in my approach. And this situation hasn't changed my opinion of what I want to get out of and put into a medical career. In fact, that day hasn't even factored into any sort of rationale for my not wanting to pursue a career in emergency medicine, and, if anything, it has made me that slight bit more determined (not that I need to be at this point). Definitely one of those bittersweet days...
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
I did encounter one - my university wanted to declare to an external body that I have Asperger syndrome, and I was very vehemently against this. I was very vocal about this, and eventually convinced them not to breach my confidentiality on this instance, but I have learned that it has already been breached a few times internally within the faculty. However, I am not at all surprised by this and I would rather keep my head down and focus on the end goal. Especially when it is so close - I have passed all of my exams for this year, which means one more year left!
I am going abroad for my medical elective soon, and I might pen a blog post on any problems I encounter there - new country, new culture - I don't really know what to expect. I probably won't be posting as often as I once did when I return, unless I find myself in a situation where I feel a lot can be learned, but I will still be happy to answer any questions readers might have about having Asperger's and being a medical student. There have been a few things I have learned during this past year too that I will write about soon, and I'm happy to take requests, but for now I must get ready for my trip.
Wish me luck!
Thursday, August 15, 2013
I have two years left out of five. In September, I will be starting my fourth year, and this year's challenges include a rotation in pediatrics and psychiatry. I have spent the last three years getting used to and perfecting my communication skills with adults, and I have had some experiences talking to children but I still feel as though I have a lot of work to do. Psychiatry also comes with a new set of difficulties; they say that empathy is crucial to a good doctor-patient relationship, and I don't doubt that this will be even more true when talking to patients whose health problems are related to the mind. I have not yet encountered any psychiatry so it will be completely new to me, unlike pediatrics which has been touched upon in previous years.
I hope to be more active with my blogging in the coming year, because I will then be able to commit to the Internet a more accurate and detailed account of the problems I encounter and the ways I have tried to overcome them. But for now, I plan to enjoy my summer!
Monday, September 3, 2012
But anyway, good luck to me! My first day is next week and I hope it goes smoothly.
Sunday, June 17, 2012
I haven't been blogging for a while because not much has really happened. On my last clinical rotation, I saw so very few patients that it was almost not worth doing. Exams are coming up soon so I am putting all my time and effort into that. Or trying to, anyway - as usual, I am finding it way easier go watch back episodes of Grey's Anatomy than actually revising. The mess that was meant to be my support package has now been resolved, but who knows what effect the disruption will have on my exam performance.
I will hopefully have more to say in the new academic year - that is, if I make it to next year!
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
So a few weeks ago, I was ranting about how my medical school, who loves to impose communication skills sessions on us students only too often but hasn't seemed to master this art themselves, was telling me a bunch of stressful stuff via a third party they said I had to see for additional support. Some of this stuff included the possibility that my ability to graduate was in question. On further questioning, I found out that this is because one of my tutors apparently didn't feel comfortable with the fact that I would one day be a doctor.