Ward 34 Room 49

Sure, you can go to medical school and become a doctor. After all this is the way to becoming a doctor OR you can be someone like me and get the full firsthand experience – be a patient your whole life, go to different hospitals and see different doctors, wind up in an ambulance and stumble into the ED many times – you can be a doctor this way too… Ok maybe no one will actually hire you but still being a full time patient can feel like you’re in medical school sometimes.

These past two years I have learned many new medically stuff, especially this year. Two thousand and eighteen has been one heck of a year, not because I’m not used to it or that I’m overwhelmed by it but because it is all so unexpected. The last time I had this much hospital visits was in high school and primary school and when I was a tiny little tot. This year I was hospitalised three times and two out of the three I went to emergency (one of which we almost wanted to call the ambulance, which would have made it my second time in an ambulance). The third and most recent one was this week. I had six different tests done on me in one day (blood test, xrays, ultrasound, MRI) and I got poked seven times in less than five days (blood tests, IV drip, injection). It is in times like these I find myself learning “medical science”. These two years I have learned:-

  • The medical term of my heart condition Pulmonary Stenosis (an obstruction to blood flow from the right ventricle to the pulmonary artery because of its narrowness), my hip condition Avascular Necrosis or AVN (the death of a bone tissue due to a lack of blood supply) and my ear condition Keratosis Obturans (an external ear condition caused by abnormal accumulation of keratin/skin cells, which causes hearing problems).
  • The differences between the word Pulmonary Hypertension (this is to do with a type of high blood pressure that affects a person’s arteries) and Cardiovascular (this refers to the circulatory system of the heart and blood vessels, which carries oxygen and nutrients all around).
  • The differences between AVN (this affects one part of the body e.g., hip or knee or shoulder…) and Osteoporosis (this affects every bone in the human body). In a previous post I said I have Osteoporosis but it’s only AVN that I have and just the general bone problem that I’ve had from my illness Alagille Syndrome.
  • The other term for IV drip or Intravenous drip (canal), back teeth (molars), double jaw surgery (bimaxillary osteotomy), MRI (MRS or MRST), jawbone (mandibular), stomach (gaestro).
  • The meaning of gastroenterology (the study of the stomach and intestines). I have been seeing the gastro doctors my whole life and only now I know what it means, especially the word gastro… Wow, Nikki (I always thought it just meant liver…). Also, enter means intestine and ology means the study of.
  • The fact that there are different types of teeth doctors in the dental department. Did you know that?? There’s not only a dentist there but an orthodontist (deals with my braces), a prosthodontist (deals with tooth replacement and more), a dental hygienist (the title explains it), an endodontist (deals with the root of the tooth or tooth pulp) and a periodontist (deals with the gums)…
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery doctors/surgeons (deals with the patient’s oral and facial needs e.g., overbite/underbite/open bite).
  • The use of surgical hooks (metal hooks that are placed in between the brackets of your braces for hooking elastic bands), power chains (squiggly chains placed on your braces to add extra pressure on your teeth so that it will move more efficiently/quickly) and elastic bands (small and strong bands are placed on metal hooks to correct a patient’s bite).
  • The use of bifocals (an everyday glasses and a reading glass in one spectacle) and how to use a bifocal glasses (move your eyes up to see far distances and move your eyes downward to read).
a bifocal glasses has a line in the middle of the lens


  • The use of foam rollers and how to use it. At a visit to my physio I was told to use a foam roller, which is simply a massage roller used to massage on your legs. The main purpose of this massage equipment is to release the tension and stiffness from your legs…
  • Hydrotherapy is actually not bad. I mean, putting aside the fact that I was one out of the other one person that was the youngest there it was nice to be in the pool. Exercising in a swimming pool isn’t hard or challenging and like the foam roller hydrotherapy is also to release the tension and stiffness from your legs, only difference is this one is more lasting and effective (but it hurts after when you get out of the pool).
  • The different types of painkillers the doctors are able to recommend you. So last year when I had my jaw surgery I was given three types of painkillers. There was a mild one (strong), a medium one (super strong) and a mega one (extremely strong)! Before this I never knew there was painkillers for different levels of pain. I also never knew that there were other types/brands of painkillers. I’ve only heard of Panadol…
  • …They also can give you something if you have nausea and something else to prevent blood clot. In short, they have almost everything for almost every health problem that you can possibly think of.
  • The fancy title for every doctor and department. Just to name a few of those I’ve seen/I’m seeing/I’ll be seeing are orthopaedic doctors (bone, joint, muscle, tendon, ligament doctors), ophthalmologist (eye doctor), opthalmology (the study of the eye), gynaecologist (a doctor specialising in female reproductive system), gynaecology (the study of the female reproductive system), endocrinologist (doctor who looks at the patient’s endocrine system or in simpler term hormones), endocrinology (the study of the endocrine system), orthognathic surgeons (oral and facial surgeons).
  • The difference between an xray (this test uses radiation) a CT scan (this test only takes a couple of minutes) and a Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI (this test uses strong magnetic fields and takes twenty to forty minutes).
  • The word blood culture, a blood test taken to detect infections that may be spreading in a person’s bloodstream.
  • The placement of the human stomach. Not gonna lie but all these years I have thought the stomach is at the centre of the body and where the belly button is. I was wrong. The stomach is actually on the left side of the body and just below the rib cage.
  • The word lazy eye has a medical term too? Yes, its called Amblyopia (an amblyopia eye is when the left or right eye is unaligned, meaning if one eye is at the centre and looking straight the other eye will not be at the centre but instead it will be inward).

So you see, just by being a permanent patient I’ve had the opportunity to go to “medical school” and learn all these medically stuff. But wait, there’s more! As the months and years go by there sure to be more to acquire.

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