Teaching Moment

While I don’t have any other significant hospital experiences to compare it to – there are many, many pluses to being in a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital. The doctors (and staff) are numerous, attentive, talented and focused. Almost without exception those providing my care are present and working well past their appointed shifts, most of the time because they’re focused on a symptom or test result of mine. The facilities and technologies are top notch and well maintained – I couldn’t possibly be more pleased with my stay so far at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, aside from the cancer and all.

Though being a teaching hospital – it does provide certain unique experiences. Yesterday I had a few symptoms which could have been cardiac related so as a precaution they decided to give me an EKG. At this point I’ve had maybe ten EKGs in the past thirty days, thankfully all of which have been clear so I was a good patient for one of the PCTs (Patient Care Technicians – essentially assistants to the nurses) to learn how to do her first EKG. Kathy (not her real name) has been one of my PCTs since I was admitted and I adore her, she can’t be more than a year or two older than me though. After about 15 minutes of me half naked with her placing and replacing the leads for the machine it was clear that I’d had more EKG experience at this point than she. We got through it and all the results were normal, It’s a little fun to know that I was involved in progressing her talents as a medical professional which she’ll use to help others after I’m discharged.

I’ve had the opportunity a few other times since my admission to undergo optional procedures and tests to support the drug trial I’m participating in for my treatment and BIDMC. It’s nice to think there’s at least a little I can give back in gratitude for everything I’ve received so far and will in the future. Even if it is just a little bone marrow or blood, hopefully the somewhat experimental chemotherapy regimen I’m on will be proven more effective than conventional treatments and in 2012 everyone in my position will be able to receive a more positive prognosis.

-Austin

    • Phoebe
    • October 30th, 2010 9:57pm

    Hi,
    I’m a 20 year old pre-med student, and I just wanted to tell you how much this post touched me. I just found your blog and have gone back and started reading from the beginning, and I don’t think you could ever realize how much you are helping out people like “Kathy” and the other students learning from you. I am leaning towards being an oncologist (although I still have a longgg time to go), and seeing this experience through your eyes is blowing me away and making me more and more sure that this is what I need to do with my life.
    I may comment more as I get further through your posts, but I just wanted to say thank you for being such a teachable moment yourself. Thank you for your blog. I hope you are healthy at this moment; your last post was almost 3 months ago, and I’m hoping that is for a good reason.

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