27 October 2006

Part I: The Virus and The School Clinic.

This is a picture of 'Happy Patrick'. How did he get such a picture with Mama Meloy, yet still manage to be enrolled in classes at St. George's University? This is an excellent question. A question that will require some explanantion, but starts all the way back in August, with the onset of a severe throat virus.

I am not a person who overreacts when I catch a cold/virus/infection or what-have-you. I tend to take my lumps, as it were, and try to ride out the storm until I feel better. I have rarely been known to complain about ailments, and even tried to convince my parents not to take me to the hospital after I had fallen 20 feet out of tree and fainted from the force of oxygen being expelled from my lungs.

This being true, after I contracted this virus, I was not overtly concerned; that is, until it did not leave my system. I said to myself, "Self, you're in medical school (see former posts for an explanation). Why don't you go to the clinic at said medical school and get some treatment for this sore throat. Perhaps you can use your superior anatomy and diagnostic skills to check your throat in the mirror to see if it is something more serious."

Well, myself did just that, and noticed (along with my always competent roommates Andy and Jeff) that there were some serious spots located on the 'hangy downy thingie' in the back of my throat. Except, using my anatomical knowledge, I said "Whoa, Patrick, there are some serious spots on your hangy downy thingie!" My roommates immediately noticed the same and it was then decided; I would head to the clinic in the morning.

Not having been to the clinic previously, I solicited advice from my fellow classmates who had been sick in previous time on the rock. Ruby had previously been sick, what did she have to say? Well, it turns out that Ruby had contracted a stomach ailment in her first term at school. This entailed the constant emptying of her stomach contents in a manner that was not compatible to eating, drinking or living in general, for almost an entire week. Dragged to the clinic by her good friends Judy and Nick, she was told by the physician extender (read: not a physician) to go home, drink some Gatorade, and she would feel better. Nick and Judy are no slouches, they demanded an IV, fluids, medication, and the gentleman staffing the clinic actually laughed. Ruby would not be getting any other treatment than his sound advice today; it was, after all, Saturday!

Ruby doesn't actually remember this conversation as she was completely asleep in the examining room while her friends pleaded for mercy from the controller of the fluids. Nope, they then had to drag poor Ruby back across campus to her room where the force-fed her Gatorade and water until she finally felt better a few days later. Now, having worked in an emergency department, I understand that sometimes a patient needs to spend some time in bed with a good book and some soup, but after a week of that treatment, one wonders about getting some actual medical attention. Not that Ruby would know; she was too exhausted!

So, I was slightly concerned that I would not be taken seriously with my sore throat, of all things. But, I headed over to the clinic looking like a vagabond in order to get a little better attention (you think I learned nothing from St. Mike's?). The clinic on campus is staffed by some fairly special doctors. It's possible they went to school in Grenada, hopefully not BMSU, but one never can tell around here. Anyway, I walked into the clinic, filled out a form, and began my wait.

And did I wait. I waited for over two hours to be seen for my throat. The nurse took my vitals in a room down the hall, and then sat me outside of different room, where I waited again. But, since I had gone to get my vitals and thought I was next, I now had lost my reading privileges when I left the year old issue of Esquire in the other waiting room. Damnation! After some more waiting, finally, I was to be seen next by the doctor.

Despite not being someone who gets bent out of shape when I get sick, I am always nervous and conscious of strep-throat, which I seem to have more often than the average population of humans. This being true, I went in with some expectations of what would happen: the doctor would do a quick physical exam and culture my throat, but then prescribe some penicillin and I would go to the pharmacy and in about 24 hours, would miraculously feel 100% better.

This is not precisely what happened. Despite the very technical exam I had performed the night before with my roommates, discovering the infection on my uvula (and you thought I didn't learn anything last term!), the doctor said she did not see anything. Well, after almost making me gag several times, she decided not to do a throat culture. As I would later discover, they never do a throat culture in Grenada. There simply are not the resources to carry out said operation. So, she continued to explain, "I don't see anything in your throat at all. It does look a little red, so I'm going to prescribe an antibiotic for your infection, even though I don't see anything. Actually, I think it's viral as there has been something going around campus."

- "It's viral? Then why are you prescribing something?"
- "I am just protecting you in case it is a bacterial infection. So you won't have to come back if it doesn't go away on just fluids and rest."

Well, seeing as I can't argue with that, I go get my prescription filled, begin taking the antibiotic and wait to feel better. Over a week later, after I had finished the entire course of antibiotics, I began to recover from this illness. The remedy provided by the clinic had done nothing more than contribute to the ever-growing population of antibiotic resistant bacteria causing so many problems in the world. I'm so glad I was able to be a part of this trend!

"What is the moral of this story?" one might ask. Well, this lays the groundwork for an even more fun trip to the clinic, both at school and in downtown St. George's, and even a trip to Miami! If you thought that the lack of knowledge was impressive here, than you'll have to wait to be amazed.

In other news, I am in the process of posting a TON more pictures. They are all available under the My Photos link to the right of this page. Also, I added some new and interesting features to the blog recently. If you look on the right side and scroll down to the button marked Geo-Visitors, you can click to see where in the world people have clicked onto the blog. It is pretty interesting to see visitors from Japan, the UK, South America and all over the states who are reading the posts. You can also see some of the other blogs that I like to read when I am postponing my studying.

Finally, I must apologize for the lack of material, so far, this term. It will all come out in the coming few weeks with the telling of my medical story, so don't give up on me. I finally finished all my midterms today, despite being well-past the actual mid-point of the semester, which factors into my lack of writing ability.


Blogger Lady Aeval said...

Okay, it's called an uvula and you really scared me as I was reading and saw "hangy downy thingy" before back of the throat.

Getting sick is only fun when the kids are away and you can have an excuse to sleep and watch movies all day with no interruption.

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