I hope you are all having a lovely day and had a relaxing weekend. Today’s post does relate to my medical school series, it just involves more of a story. As I told you you in my about me page, I want to become a Paediatric Surgeon. Surgery wan’t my first plan though, I originally wanted to go into emergency medicine. But something happened with my mom that made me change my mind.
Brief background about my mom. My parents got divorced when I was twelve years old. I have an older and a younger brother, and following the divorce my mom put everything she had into us. She is an amazing women and I admire her so much. She worked extremely hard after the divorce to ensure that we never felt disadvantaged by our situation. She would come home from work cook for us and take us to the various activities we were in, put us to sleep and then work till about midnight. She would be up again at 5 or 6 the next morning. It blows my mind how well she handled it all.
(My Mom and I)
On January 23rd 2016 my mom hadn’t been feeling well for the last few days and ended up having my younger brother drive her to the hospital in the middle of the night. She was there for a few hours where they gave her fluids and ran some blood work. They also did an ultrasound which showed Kidney Stones. They believed they would work themselves out in a few days and she just had to wait it out. They sent her home with a couple prescriptions and she spent the weekend in bed and in severe pain.
Then came the morning of January 26th. I woke up at 6:00 am to get ready for school, I looked over and saw my mom’s lights were off and I remember being happy that she was still sleeping because she hadn’t slept well for a few days. I got out of the bathroom 20 minutes later and I heard my mom calling me from her room. I remember thinking “wow, she must be feeling better, she sounds okay”. Sadly, that was not the case when I walked into her room. She was lying in her bed shaking uncontrollably. Her face was so pale that it was startling. She said she wasn’t feeling well and was really cold. She asked me if I get her extra blankets. I decided that we needed to go to the hospital. She argued with me about waiting until 9:00 until our family doctors office was open but I forced her to get up and into the car. In hindsight I should have called an ambulance, but I got her to the hospital in about 15 mins from getting her out of bed.
When we arrived, it wasn’t very busy. As they were getting her vital signs the blood pressure machine was not able to pick up a reading so they gave her fluids. She went downhill fast, her heart rate was too high, her blood pressure too low, she had a high fever and she was barely responding to questions. I remember that we were moved to a different area with a really great doctor, they were talking about how she wasn’t stable enough to go down the hall and get a scan of her abdomen done. The doctor ended up leaving his ward to accompany her to the scan to make sure that he was there is she crashed. They ended up at the conclusion that she was in septic shock, this wasn’t told to me directly until later, I first overheard the doctor talking on the phone trying to find her an Intensive Care Unit bed in the city. I, being the aspiring medical student I am, immediately googled it. After reading many sites that explained what was happening I felt more relieved, even though I now knew how seriously ill she was.
She got a central line put in her neck because she had too many needles in her hand for the veins to stay viable and she needed meds faster. When the doctor came to put it in they told me I should go and get a coffee. Instead I asked to stay and my mom mumbled to the doctor that I wanted to become a doctor. She ended up showing me how to put a central line in and talking me through it and it was an awesome experience.
After 13 hours in the emergency room sitting there staring at my mom, keeping my family informed and listening to the buzz of the hospital, my grandparents arrived and took over. Later that night she was moved to a different hospital where they had an ICU bed open. She spent just over a week in the hospital.
We have come to the conclusion that the doctor she saw the first time she came into the hospital miss diagnosed her. He missed something and it almost resulted in her death. She did have kidney stones but they were too big for her to pass and resulted in a blood infection. Likely the first time she went to the hospital she was already infected. The doctors told us many times she was lucky to be alive. She was very close to death, especially because she sat at home for almost 3 days letting the infection take over. Her organs were shutting down and her heart wasn’t working. From all the reading I’ve done there would have been diagnosable signs when she was in the hospital the first time.
(My Mom visiting India, her favourite place)
It took her almost 6 months to recover and get back to somewhat normalcy. Before she was admitted to the hospital I had been thinking that I wanted to do emergency medicine. We had that great doctor in the emergency room but my mom was just sent off, he didn’t get to follow through. I want to really work to help the patients for longer. I had also been considering surgery and my experience really helped me determine that surgery was where I wanted to be. I wanted to figure out what was going on, get in there and try and solve the problem. I’m also not grossed out by blood and cuts, so I have the stomach for it. It really solidified in my mind that surgery was the way for me. I was calm in a crisis and was able to rationally think through what was going on. As for working in paediatrics, it is always what I have wanted to do. I have spent the last 10+ years working with kids in some capacity and I have a real passion for it.
Okay, wow! If you stuck with me through this whole post, thank you! I just wanted to give you an idea of what made me want to do surgery over the various specialties. I know people say that what you want to do will change, but as of right now I am pretty firm in my path.
Next week I will be posting something lighter and more fun. Then I will be posting my Medical School advice part 2 after that!
I am loving Instagram right now so follow the link at the top of the page to keep up with my day to day activities!
Talk to you soon!