11 March 2010


Occupational health appointment today.

I don't know whether I've been lucky to be under the head of Occ Health at the hospital or not.

On the one hand he's written a cracking letter to the medical school explaining everything rather eloquently - and far more so than I was able to do when I went in and jibbered at them the day after exposure. He has rightly told me to refrain from exposure prone procedures* for the next 3 months until I've been given the all clear.

On the other hand, I suspect he thinks I know too much. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

For example, I know that the fact that I'm covered in tiny pinpoint bruises and any small cut bleeds rather madly means that my haematological values may have gone a bit astray. He knows that I know this. He knows that I know that I will have to stop PEP.

Unfortunately this is where I stop being a rational medic and a rather emotional member of Joe Public. It means that I'm convinced that if I stop PEP that I will immediately seroconvert. I've decided now that it's all down to fate.

Now I just have to wait for a phone call telling me what my bloods are doing and when my next occupational health appointment is going to be. If all is normal-ish, then it's back in 2 weeks, and if all is bonkers, it's back in a week and stop PEP immediately.

Anyway, I did get some more news on the 'source patient'. A brief word about that term – source patient. I hate it. It's such a vague hospital way of getting round the issue of confidentiality and trying to desensitise it. They know I know who the patient is, and they know I know. As if I would forget. I think I'm more offended by the fact that they aren't referring to Frank as 'Frank' and more as a 'Source'.

Anyhow, the medical school knows, but the students don't know. I think they might think I'm pregnant due to the amount of times I chuck myself out of the room at high speed and in the direction of the toilet. I've also had to avoid any patients with coughs, colds and minor infections because I'm probably immunosuppressed at the moment. I can understand why everyone thinks I'm up the duff, but it amuses me that no-one has actually asked me yet. I guess I'll be more offended if anyone thinks I'm starting to 'show'.

*For the non-medics out there, an Exposure Prone Procedure is one whereby you risk exposing the patient to any blood borne viruses you have. This means that you can't put your hands into any blind cavities or do anything where you can't see your fingertips. As a clinical medical student this means I can't do the following:

  • Vaginal examinations or smears
  • PR examinations

  • Scrub into surgery for anything other than the most minor surface procedures. I've been advised not to scrub at all.

I am still allowed to take bloods and put in cannulas and catheters though. I did some bloods this week and shook like a leaf, convinced that I would somehow manage to stick myself and then inoculate the patient (very hard to do), but oddly enough I did it perfectly and got first blood.


Anonymous said...

Keeping my fingers crossed for you. My thoughts are with you. I can't imagine how awful this is for you. Hope you get through this all and come out the other side unscathed.

Anonymous said...

merys- will email you soon about all this.


ilovehotchocolate said...

Hi Merys, been reading your blog for a while now. Your story's similar to mine, but I'm on my thrid medschool application. Can't believe the luck you have, fingers crossed you get better! Chin up, I'm rooting for you :)

AngryMurloc said...

No Vaginal examinations or smears. Silver lining? :O

Jamrock said...

I'm with AngryMurloc here. But this is agreat blog post and thanks for writing it.