I am on my Peds rotation at the moment. I have not officially seen any junior patients yet but i am starting to think we are an evil bunch; consorting with one another to trick and deceive the children in doing what we want them to do. Obviously it is for their own good, but i still can’t help but shake my head at how we can blatantly look them in the eye and tell a lie.

I have had several consults with children during my electives. I always shrank away because i have not yet done my rotation. For some reason, i am not comfortable with children and seeing young adults my age. I get the patient of the same age part. We are both young, and we can partly identify with one another. It is a tad awkward when you have to drop your decks so i can examine your scrotum for any inguinal hernias. Has happened more than once, and i can spot the mere fraction of hesitation on the patient’s part. This is also one of the rare times i think looking young isn’t exactly an advantageous thing. Unless the patient explicitly ask for an older doctor, i normally let it pass and proceed with the examination. They usually don’t because it would make things even more awkward. Although i must admit that usually physicians will ask me to step out of the room because the younger patients would feel uncomfortable, whereas surgeons just want to get on with it, and really hate all these whinging.

Anyway there was once a Registra who urged me to insert a cannula in this bright chirpy seven year old. It was his first time in hospital, and he hasn’t seen the like of things yet. I know that because he happily stuck out his arm for me to stick a needle into, oblivious to the impending trauma. I declined and asked a peds-experienced doctor to do it instead. I cannot bear the idea of me ruining a virgin hospital experience for a child and creating a lifetime of negative association.

In my most recent surgical elective, the Registra was amused when she saw how apprehensive i was in taking a history from a child.

“It’s exactly the same as an adult!” she laughed.

And so i went to take this consult. Truly it wasn’t as difficult as i thought it would be. The kid didn’t just spontaneously dissolve in tears at the sight of me in scrubs. In fact the eight year old was quite calm and gave me a very coherent history. When he did not understand one of my questions (my fault, forgot that certain words are too complicated for children), he said so and politely asked me to repeat. Contrary to adult patients who will continue bulldozing on with their stories and beating around several million bushes.

So i am going to embark on my Peds rotation with slightly less trepidation and a bit more curiosity. I do have an agenda – i want to know if my lifestyle will take less of a beating with Pediatric surgery than with Trauma surgery. There will be 8 weeks for me to find out.

On a last note, Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics is simply a godsend. Systematic, simple and straight to the point. You can’t ask for more in a textbook! (Oh wait you can – a little less costly will be very helpful.)


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