I got a brain injury. Happened on a Thursday night. Got sent to the ED and was told that I have a concussion and needed to take time off ‘work’, or in my case, time off on hospital placements.

As soon as I start using my brain, it hurts. Unlike a common cold, it’s not something I can just toughen up and push through. Think of it like a sluggish computer that lags and clicking it more will just make it even slower. This had a huge impact on my life. At the time, I was on my 6-week General/ internal Medicine rotation, arguably one of the busiest rotations in medical school (some would say that General Surgery takes the number one spot and I would gladly concur); along with all the extra commitments I have outside of Uni – social media, blogging, exercising etc. Now I’ll have to put all of them on hold. I hate myself.

First thing I did was to contact the right people to let them know of my situation and that I would likely need an extended time off from the hospital. For those of you who are wondering, this is the exact same process as if any of us caught COVID and needed to isolate for 1-2 weeks.

There are mainly two components of our learning:

  1. On the wards/ in clinic/ in theatre/ seeing patients.
  2. Formally scheduled learning sessions/ seminars/ bedside teachings with senior Doctors

The room we have most of our teaching sessions and seminars in.

I was advised to avoid the former because of substantial periods of standing and looking at computer screens, which is not optimal for brain injury recovery. I am still allowed to attend the bedside teachings and scheduled learning sessions so I’m not missing out on too much. However, in the clinical years of medical school, spending enough time/ weeks being exposed to each major rotation is important for our learning, and there is no way around that – I’ll probably have to make up for my missed time on the wards later in the year, potentially during my breaks or even in summer ;(. Over the weekend and that following week. I just slept lots and reduced my screentime drastically so my brain can recover. If you get sick or injured during university, it’s important to prioritise your health so that you can recover quickly and return to your studies.

Take home messages from this blog:

  1. Don’t ignore your illness: get enough rest.
  2. Inform your supervisors to arrange catch up time for your placements or internships.
  3. Stay on top of your studies IF you can.
  4. Take it easy. Life is a marathon, not a sprint.