Code Stroke–lessons from the Neuro wards

I’m already halfway through my Neurology rotation! This one is definitely going by fast.. well it’s only 4 weeks to begin with. I’ve spent these past 2 weeks on the inpatient wards helping take care of some pretty sick patients. There have been some triumphant stories and also some very sad and heavy ones that pulled on my heart. Many of our patients suffered strokes; seizures are a close second. I’ve also seen exacerbations of myasthenia gravis and multiple sclerosis. One of our patients currently is suffering from Locked In Syndrome and another from cryptococcal meningitis. So, I’ve seen a decent variety of pathology and definitely know the stroke work-up pretty well. As much as I’ve learned in terms of management, my patients have also taught me a lot outside of medicine

Take care of yourself

Our health should never be taken for granted. All of the habits that we have now (diet, exercise, mental hygiene) will manifest in the next 30-40 years. It’s so easy now to ignore ourselves and put our focus on school, business, other people, etc. but it truly isn’t worth it. I’ve seen patients who neglect their health, don’t see a physician on a regular basis, or don’t take their medications end up in an ICU bed an hour after they were just living their normal life. It reminded me to not depend on my metabolism or athletic background (what I do when I’m feeling like letting myself go) forever. It also encouraged me to push forward in my pursuit of becoming a primary care physician. There’s so much to be done on the preventative side of medicine!

FOE-family over everything

Strokes change lives in an instant. One of our patients was perfectly fine at 8:30 pm when his wife called, but when she came home from work an hour later, she found him on the ground. He had a massive stroke and by misfortune arrived to our hospital outside of the window to receive any brain-sparing treatment. Now she has to make big decisions on his behalf. Another patient had a beach vacation planned with her husband and is now bedridden unable to speak. Devastating is an understatement. The only way our patients keep hope alive is through their families and loved ones. Spouses, children, siblings, and parents drop everything and travel far and wide to be there for the patient. It was a lesson to me to always have the financial means to be there for any of my loved ones at the drop of a dime. It’s also reaffirmed how important human connection is. Life wasn’t meant to be lived alone. Our high and low moments were meant to be shared.

Tomorrow isn’t promised

We have to cherish the days we have now with our level of health. Not everyone can even simply get out of bed in the morning. Not everyone can take a breath for themselves. We have so much to be grateful for in this life and when you count your blessings, there isn’t much room left for complaining. The same goes for our loved ones. As much as you can, take time to love on them–call, text, visit. Because at any moment, things can change forever

I’m off to outpatient clinic for the next two weeks. Looking forward to seeing more bread and butter neurology, and seeing healthier patients in general. Hope everyone has a great week! 🙂

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