Ashiq Pramchand

My First Psychiatry Patient

When I met my first psychiatry patient, Samuel, he greeted me with a broad, mischievous grin and an elbow bump (COVID being at large). I started off my patient interview by asking him some general questions about his personal details, his main complaint, and his medical history.

He believed that he was the god of the moon. Besides holding this grandiose delusion, he had hardly slept for several days and felt an irresistible urge to chop as much wood as possible. This so-called manic episode caused his family to admit him to the psychiatric hospital. He mentioned often that he felt overwhelmed by pressure and judgment from his family and smoked cannabis to cope with stressors in his life. I imagined that Samuel and many other psychiatric patients over the ages must have felt that way, when their illnesses set in and they were forced to face the double-edged sword of stigma and psychosis.

Ward Wanderer

As usual, I found myself rushing through the labyrinth of hallways at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital, in search of our next tutorial. Every day, as fourth-year medical students, we are expected to present cases to awaiting consultants, in the many wards. This time I was lost. A kind nurse directed me to the place where I was meant to be…the pediatric oncology unit.
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