H is for Heme

AssalamuAlaikum ^^

Only one week has passed since this new module but I’ve had some great experiences! We had three practicals this week and all three of them were very interesting. Apart from that, I think I can safely diagnose someone who has jaundice *-* (this may sound really ridiculous to you, cause jaundice is such an obvious looking sort of disease, but hold right there! Jaundice is of two types! And it’s important to know which type you’re dealing with!)

The first practical I had was called “hemoglobin estimation” where you basically take a sample of blood and hemolyse it. To hemolyse, or hemolysis is when you break down the membrane of the red blood cells so the hemoglobin can come out and react with the acid, changing the color of the solution from red to brown. You compare your blood sample to a standard and keep diluting the blood until the sample is the same color as the standard. The total volume of the sample is now related directly to the amount of hemoglobin in the sample. You could find out if youre anemic if you compare your blood Hb to the set health standard, which is different for males (13-18 mg/dL) and females (12-16 mg/dL).

The next practical was genetic counseling where we basically watched this really emotional video which was produced to create awareness about thalassemia (a blood disease where- check this out- thalass means “sea” and emia means “blood” so basically, patients with thalassemia need oceans of blood to stay alive since their hemoglobin is defected right from the start. Regular blood transfusions or a bone marrow transplant is the only solution). After the video, we had to try counseling our peers.
It did not turn out very good.
Doctor: Assalamualaikum, I’m going to be your genetic counselor for today. I saw your Hb report and-
Patient: Yeah, yeah, here’s my Hb report, I just got it from the lab *throws invisible paper over to student pretending to be a doctor*
D: Uhh.. Okay. *pretends to read report* It appears that you have thalassemia major and-
P: Am I going to die?!
Other Students: He can’t have thalassemia major, he’d have been dead long before coming here!
Teacher: Ugh, start again and make him a thalassemia minor patient.
D: Assalamualaikum, I’m going to be your genetic counselor for today. I saw your Hb report and it appears that your have thalassemia minor.
P: Am I going to die?!
D: No, luckily for you, thalassemia minor is a symptomless condition where you are merely a carrier.
P: What does carrier mean?
Teacher: The patient is supposed to stay quiet and let the doctor do the talking.
P: That’s not fair! It doesn’t happen in real life though.
Teacher: The patient you’ll get in your exam will not be asking questions.
D: Anway, carrier means that your children have a chance to get thalassemia if you get married to-
P: I’m married.
Teacher: No, you’re not married.
P: Yes I am *throws arm over male student sitting beside him* this is my wife and we even have a kid who doesn’t have thalassemia.
Wife: Mere bachay ko thalassemia ho sakta hai?! (My child can have thalassemia?!)
Teacher: Stop manipulating the scenario. There is no wife.
P: But whyy.
Teacher: I said you’re single, that’s the end of this story.
D: Ahem, so you just have to bring in your future wife and have her tested. If she is also a thalassemia carrier, you have a 25% chance to have a thalassemic child and you probably shouldn’t get married-
P: Okay so-
Teacher: NO. This scenario is over.

The third practical was just about looking into slides on a microscope and drawing them. The slides were about bone marrow tissue, which was divided into two types being red and yellow bone marrow.

Apart from that, we also had a bakesale this week and I also signed up for a research program being conducted by a urologist and a volunteer program where the college students go to set up medical camps. Apparently, we (first years) get to learn the basic stuff from our seniors like checking vitals and prescribing minor drugs so we can use it on the patients who come to the camp! That sounds really exciting and I can’t wait to start learning this stuff! Then I could actually say out loud “Yeah I know a bit about being a doctor- I prescribed some *insert long pharmacological name of drug here* to the patients at the camp I set up B|” (I can pretend, can’t I >_>)

That’s about it for the major stuff that happened this week ^^ my result came out too but I don’t want to disclose it. It’s a good result, I did better than 70% of my class but still. I guess I’ve totally forgotten about my new year’s resolution where I was supposed to not take grades seriously. Oh well.

How did your week (end) go?

Ps. I forgot to write about jaundice. I guess I’ll write it in some other post if you guys are interested in reading about it ^^.


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