Friday, November 21, 2008

Geriatrics Patients

As mentioned previously, I'm basically spending my days seeing geriatric inpatients in the mornings and outpatients in the afternoons. It still takes me at least an hour and a half to see each one. Since I'm on geriatrics, all of my patients were either in Korea or WWII. Most of them have multiple serious medical problems like heart failure and COPD, and they also have other issues like dementia, difficulty walking, or side effects due to polypharmacy (multiple drugs). The patients themselves can be quite the characters. One patient with moderate dementia wanted to tell me an off-color joke, and another had post-traumatic stress disorder. Many of them are depressed also, especially the inpatients. I am sure it doesn't help that we're getting close to the holidays.

This afternoon I had POD/ARM. It was on clinical trials. The talks were good, but since I have taken the MS course on clinical trials, I had already seen them all. After that, we had a class meeting on the research year and how to sign up for electives, advanced cores, and areas of concentration. Considering that I have done all of those things already (geriatrics is one of the advanced cores), it was pretty pointless for me to stay. But I had some time to kill anyway, because one of my surgery rotation patients was back in the hospital for another operation. I wanted to go see him after he got out of the PACU (post-anesthesia care unit). He was a bit groggy, but I think he was really surprised when I showed up. I probably won't get to see him again since I'll be at the VA all of next week, but at least I had the chance to stop by today.

Next week I am on Hospice. It is a palliative care service for people who are expected to die within the next six months. I'm interested in palliative care, so I'm looking forward to it.

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