December 2015 | Issue 21
Dear Diary

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By Reudi Chan
Class of 2020

9 November 2015:
Today, we celebrated Deepavali at School, and maybe I was a bit too lazy to dress up… BUT I got a kick out of it all the same, seeing my roommate up to his usual antics. He practically walked to school in a singlet with a towel wrapped around his waist – sometimes I’m afraid to let people know that we’re roommates.

Kudos to the Arts & Culture (A&C) committee for putting this together, they even borrowed traditional Indian costumes from our teachers for us to try on. They also prepared henna tubes for us to try and win the henna design competition. Some people opted for the more clinically relevant option of drawing electrocardiograms (ECGs) on their hands. I mean, why not? This IS medical school after all.

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The enthusiastic half of my team, and of the cohort, had lots of fun taking pictures with the nicely decorated festive wall outside the Learning Studio. I, together with other lads who hadn’t dressed up, had lots of fun watching them from the side as they went for the perfect selfie angle. 

On a more serious note, it was a great way not just to celebrate Deepavali, but also to usher in the much awaited three-day holiday! Who doesn’t love two-day work weeks?? Thanks, A&C guys!

12 November 2015:
I had my first Long-Term Patient Project (LTPP) visit at the Ang Mo Kio Thye Hua Kwan Hospital. The LTPP is a two-year project, during which we are attached in pairs to a patient who has kindly consented to us following him or her on their patient journey.

For what seemed like a really big and daunting task, I felt completely unprepared. Not in the sense that the School hadn’t prepared us enough for this, but rather was I, in my current capacity as a medical student, ready to walk by my patient’s side in what was supposed to be his personal journey?

In the end, for all my anxiety, it was a rather anti-climactic beginning. My partner and I chose our patient from a list of volunteer patients, and we were sent on our way. I can’t reveal much more about what transpired (in the name of confidentiality), but it wasn’t the easiest of sessions for sure, much unlike our previous sessions talking to simulated patients. Who knows what the next two years are going to be like?

18 November 2015:
By far one of the most tiring days that I’ve had since the start of School. It started with our Integrated Clinical Practice (ICP) session at Bukit Batok Polyclinic. The agenda for the day was to practice information gathering skills during patient consults. During the session, each team had a room, and each person had to interview one simulated patient. SO, the unofficial agenda of the day was to sit back and enjoy watching your fellow teammates struggle with their patient. (Then give them feedback at the end of it, of course.)

Naturally, we all had our little troubles here and there. I think I colossally embarrassed myself when my attempt at maintaining eye-contact was interpreted by my patient as ‘excessive staring’. Our simulated patients were all really good sports though. One of them was really super fierce when she first walked in, so much so I momentarily questioned why I’m putting myself through medical school if this is what awaits me at the end of it. In the end, she turned out to be a really cheerful person, and so did the other simulated patients. I can only hope that talking to my future patients will be as pleasant!

After ICP, we rushed back to hall for our Inter House Games: Sports. I played soccer and dodgeball, though there were also matches of frisbee and captain’s ball being played. In what was a very pleasant but entirely unexpected turn of events, our House, Lim Boon Keng, tied for overall first place after the games. This news was greeted with replies of “Sure or not?”, “Don’t lie”, “HOW??”, and it took a few daring and brave individuals to claim “I knew we could do it all along”. I spent quite a few moments standing in front of the scoreboard, trying to make sense of all the numbers and tallies. The confusion quickly vanished, when our pizza came (naturally our priorities gravitated towards celebrating our win).

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29 November 2015:
It’s a Sunday like no other. It’s the Sunday before our anatomy spot test. But it would be too much of a waste to give the day away to studying. I attended a trampoline judging course together with my ex-CCA school batch mates, in preparation for the first Trampoline Singapore Invitational Championships 2015 next week. We’re participating as judges for the competition. I was a previously member of my school’s gymnastics team, so I was very happy to be able to go back to my roots.

Sunday nights are also book-in nights, though my friends, who are still serving their National Service, are less than amused when I compare returning to Pioneer Hall to their return to camp. This Sunday night was no exception, and the moment I stepped into my room, I was greeted by my roommate holding his stethoscope to his laptop saying, “I think my laptop has a viral infection.” The next moment, the stethoscope was on the fridge door, and he said, “I think our fridge is experiencing hypothermia.”

Is the army still open to taking me back now?

30 November 2015:
DEAR DIARY: I overcame my first test in medical school today. Goodbye November, hello December (and my next test too, coming in three weeks!!)

Here’s a picture of the view from my window, to top off what is left of November!

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