But I sure am as tired as one!
“Work” started at 8.30am with me driving to uni with half a mug of coffee(because I had no time to wait for it to cool down) in my tummy, just enough to keep my eyes open through pre-clinical briefing which goes on for half an hour.
This is how it works:
My class is divided into five clinical groups and I’m in the third group, on duty today at the clinics from 9am-12pm (yay lunch). At 8.15am, we are expected to be at our locker rooms changing into our clinical uniform. If I’m lucky, the locker room smells less musty than the day before. When everyone’s there, it starts to smell a little funky. Benefits of morning classes.
We then grab our case sheet (Patient’s Hospital file) and go up to the briefing room – sort of like a boardroom where the lecturer precedes over the discussion. Exciting would be those of us who have patients who are coming in for a treatment (can you believe, we actually gush at things like, “OMG I’M DOING FILLING TODAY. YAY. CLASS IV SOMEMORE!” and moan and groan when we’re still stuck with scaling as that is the most basics of basics. But in my opinion, the most boring part is doing a thorough examination of the patient, complete with medical history and the likes. Mundane, but it is part of our job and a lot is expected of us to perform beyond expectations. (I’ve gotten sounded by the lecturers more than a few times that tears have threatened to fall. I feel inadequate after almost every clinical session.)
But in a way, feelings of inadequacy is good as it would make me study. As I wrote on my facebook status last night at 3am, “Jolene Lai Pei Shan is slightly stressed out about clinics. There are no exams in the next two weeks and I’m actually studying! 0_0”. I know I should make it a habit… but just so you know, my last exam was in July. You do the math. My brain is mush! (but clinics have gotten it back on track..so thank god.)
I was actually reading through procedures….for AN ENTIRE HOUR. Somehow studying for clinics and exams are completely different. There is this fear that pushes you. Screwing up your assessment paper is no biggie as you can save your ass in the finals. We’re talking about a freaking human being here! Scary!
Back to the briefing session. Upon completion of the session, we would then go into the polyclinics (where there are 53 bays complete with the whole dental chair and what comes with it, computer (which is not functional yet) and some nice panels to hide from fellow classmates who might be able to pinpoint your mistakes.
And as Brenda puts it, THE WAR BEGINS.
You’re on your own. Fending, flailing. Sweating, shaking.
The door opens and in comes your patient/a new patient.
You greet them like an old friend and make them feel at ease. Basically it’s all very PR related.
If it’s a new patient, you do the entire medical history, extra and intra oral findings complete with diagnosis and treatment planning. Our lecturers are extremely particular about format. Those of us who are acting as Dental Surgery Assistants (DSA) can get sounded too should any mistake be made when writing down the findings. Most of us write as we are told by our classmates who are operators for that session.
We can’t correct our classmates in front of the patients as it would make them look inadequate and cause the patient to worry. Then before you know it, it’s time to present the case to the lecturer and when the lecturer looks at it and looks up and says to the nearest person, “Who did this?”
To which that unfortunate nearest person, is of course me, and I would reply, “Huh? I’m the DSA!”
And the answer I would get in return is, “DSA is not student ah?”
My lecturers are very nice people outside of the clinics. I understand their newly adopted stern-ness and I guess they have to do this for our own good. I sound so saintly.
So yeah, after battling the war between you and your incredibly shallow memory of Everything You Have Ever Learned In Dental School In The Past 3 Years and 2 months, at 12pm, we are told to send our tired patients away and try our best to cajole them to come back for a consequent visit.
The day doesn’t end there for me! Oh no!
At 1.30pm, we are back in the clinics, this time as DSA’s, preparing the bays for the group who are on duty as operators for the afternoon session. It’s a more relaxing job of course, with the opportunity to learn about the materials. Mostly things I’ve never even seen before, but am too afraid to ask about in case I get the standard, “Go back and read about it and tell me tomorrow.”
I mean okay lah, it is the same thing. Composite is composite, Amalgam is Amalgam. Bonding agent is bonding agent. But sometimes they come from different manufacturers and I don’t have the liberty of reading the instruction sheets all the time!
But this also means that it’s back to good ol’ McCabe. (Our bible for the Dental Materials subject.)
Since all of us would have to wear face masks, I did something quite stupid today. One of my classmates walked by and asked me who my operator is. I mouthed back my operator’s name to her. While wearing the facemask. Stupidness.
But being DSA can be rewarding in itself, you benefit from your operator’s mistakes. They get scolded and learn from it. You learn as well minus the scolding part.
I hope i didn’t paint my lecturers to be ferocious people.. it’s just a stern tone. Girls with fragile hearts like mine are too soft for such Real World Treatment. But I’m toughening up. National Service taught me well wtf. (I scribbled the word “PATIENCE” behind my locker at NS. It was from my resentment towards the many many characters from contrasting backgrounds from my own.)
So when 5pm rolls by, it’s time to clear up and send the patient on his way. Same story, come back for another visit.
5pm is also when the entire AIMST Dental Students’ Association committee would meet for their weekly meeting, leading up to the annual dental dinner on the 14th of December. So that goes on till 7pm.
7pm, dark skies either due to sunset or rain, I’m not sure but I drive about 15 minutes to one of the only coffeeshops that we frequent.
8pm and I’m at home, feeling like I could collapse into bed but NOoo..I still have two articles I promised to write like a month ago (luckily i chose dentistry. I would not have made it in the journalism world), a blog entry to do (those with tons of pictures. Burning out, burning out..uh oh halp) and of course, the sticker orders. I collapsed into bed without showering and slept till 10pm.
Woke up and sorted out the sticker orders, bathed, finished up some assignments (also due to procrastination) and lastly, an episode of Gossip Girl. Wanted to continue with another episode but decided to do something mildly eat shit sleep. And the time is now 4.03am.
ME IS TIRED AND MESSED UP. ARGH.
And I’m driving home on Friday morning. Woot.
Now I shall curl in bed and continue reading Belle Du Jour’s first book. Niiiight. Mini book review: It doesn’t make you horny.
P/s: As this is another dentistry related post, I will treat myself to one Mini Yam Potong for every “can get discount ah” comment I get from friends. I love you all but new jokes are needed.