The musings of a final year medical student

Sunday, 9 July 2017


Wow, I can't quite believe it has been two years!

I was told age 15 that the jaw pain I was getting was due to an overbite, which could only be corrected by a bimaxillary osteotomy. 

So, four years of brace-wearing later I had the operation. It took five and a half hours under general anaesthetic and it has changed my life.

In short, I have no regrets of going through with it. However, post-op was not smooth sailing. I've documented throughout this blog that I have struggled with depression, and I was right in the midst of it around the time of the operation. 

After it, I struggled with full time studies and the healing process, which must have contributed to the deterioration in my mental health. I'm not saying for a second that it was the cause, but it didn't help. 

Mental health aside, I physically felt like shit for a long time afterwards. I was frustrated I couldn't do all the things I used to do - I felt like I couldn't be me.

Luckily I haven't had any serious long term complications. My bite has moved back a few mm, but I am still thrilled with my results. Unfortunately I have a small amount of pain on a daily basis on my left side. 

At a recent appointment with my surgeon, he showed me that the side where I feel this pain shows some condylar resorption on x ray. He seems to think this is the likely cause. I have to say I know nothing about this but from what I have read about, my symptoms seem to mirror those described. Nothing can be done to alleviate this and we can't predict how long this pain may continue for. 

It was a long process and massive chapter of my life. Having this operation, plus a previous operation to remove your wisdom teeth for preparation, is a serious undertaking. I am so glad I did it, and am grateful to have the NHS who paid for everything. Being an outpatient and then inpatient has helped me so much in my medical training as well. I hope I can use this experience to be a better doctor one day. 

Pre op

Same day post op

6 months post op


Friday, 7 July 2017


Finally, third year of medical school is over! What a year it has been.

The year structure was entirely different to the previous years; we moved away mostly from lectures and were thrown into medicine, surgery and specialities. This has been the year I realised how much I want to be a doctor. I knew for several years that I wanted to do it, but my hospital placements have solidified those beliefs. I'm not the brightest student, but I do believe I am suited to medicine, and I have the personal qualities you need to be a good doctor.

I honestly enjoyed every placement, and consequently I have no idea what I want to specialise in! Each rotation had its pros and cons, but often it was the teaching that made the speciality interesting. I may not know what type of speciality I will pursue, but I do have a clear idea of what kind of doctor I want to be. Being a medical student has allowed me to be a fly on the wall during many consultant's clinics and ward rounds. I have seen how they behave, and taken from it how I think a doctor should act. Little things, such as making the effort to personally call in each patient and hold the door open for them. Looking the patient in the eye, and never forgetting to ask them if they have any questions. Making them feel like they are the ones making decisions; having control of their health during sometimes frightening situations. Helping them to look and feel presentable after an intimate or embarrassing examination. And I never want to be that consultant who can't be bothered to wear disposable aprons and gloves in infective bays / rooms.

As well as learning how I want to be a kind doctor, I also feel I have learnt to stick up for myself. Back in second year I was petrified to be on the wards. I didn't want to get picked on or be told I'm in the way. Now I don't feel like I'm wasting people's time -  I'm there to learn. So, when the nurse is annoyed that I didn't get that cannula right first time or being told I'm taking up space, I explain politely that I'm doing my best. I haven't managed to confront or challenge things I don't agree with but I'm getting there. Being an extra set of eyes and hands can help the doctors and HCPs you're shadowing.

Ultimately, everything I am learning feels like it has a real purpose. It's hard to get excited about diseases in a cold dank lecture theatre. But when you elicit a sign on a real patient, or feel like you've helped someone, you see the point of the vast amount of knowledge expected. I'm so excited for the next two years.
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