No need to worry, I’m alive and well. Med school is still a kick in the pants and as you will see, I’ve spent the last month and a half being incredibly busy:
- This semester I’m doing outpatient work. Last week the doctor I usually follow, we’ll call him Dr. Z, was out. We worked out ahead of time that I would follow Dr. Y instead. When I knocked on Dr. Y’s door I said, “Hi, I’m Dr. Z’s patient here for a check up.” When I walked in with my white coat on Dr. Y started laughing, “Dr. Z’s patient??” I hadn’t even realized what I had said.
- It was my turn to interview the standardized patient in front of my classmates. I was paired with a friend who started the convo, “Hello Ms. So-and-so, what brings you here today?” The woman had abdominal pain or something. This prompted me to jump in, “Are you sexually active? With men, women, or both?” In my defense, it was sex week. But obviously, asking about someone’s sex life isn’t usually the best way to begin an interview.
- Yesterday in small group we were forced to listen to pathologic breath sounds over and over and over again. When the wheezing breath sounds came up I said to the girl next to me, that’s what I used to sound like. Probably because everyone was bored out of their mind, everyone heard me. And then they all looked at me like they were waiting for me to continue. My face was getting hot and red, and then my brain turned off. Next thing I know I am telling them that I used to think my wheezes were George Washington talking to me. It’s true. Not something I ever thought I’d share with my class, but that’s what happens when your brain goes on vacation.
- Again in front of the class, I was delivering bad news to a standardized patient. I told the man we were waiting for the lab results to come back, but I wanted to let him know that his son most likely had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. I was thrown for a loop because this man was an awesome actor. He was on the verge of tears, wanting to know if his son was going to die. Initially I handled the situation very well, “statistics show that 90% of chidlren recover completely. ” But then things started to go wrong. “I know this news must be very difficult for you to deal with at the moment, but your situation is not dire. It’s not like…” oh no here I go “… it’s not like it’s the end… ” where are my words? “It’s not like it’s the end of the world.” Cringe. When telling a man that his son has cancer do not tell him it’s not the end of the world.
- I was interviewing a standardized patient but this time I was being video-taped and graded by a professor/physician/man watching me on TV on the other side of the curtain. The patient was a 50ish year old female presenting with chest pain. After taking her history I started the physical exam. When I got to the cardio aspect of the physcial exam and lay my hand on her chest to feel for thrills, palpitations, etc. Usually as I am doing an exam on a standardized patient who has no real positive findings, I let her know what I’m doing. This kills the awkward silence and let’s the grader know what I’m doing since the camera doesn’t catch everything. So as I laid my hand on her chest I said, “I’m am going to put my hand over your heart…” and then my nerves kicked in, “so I can…” um, how so I explain palpitations and thrills? “so I can…” BRAIN! WORK!, “… see if your heart is still beating.” The patient started to laugh, then the man on the other side of the curtain started to laugh, and then my bright red face started to laugh. Killing the awkward silence is worthless if you manage to make the situation 59 times more awkard than it already was.
Yes, I’ve been incredibly busy being a jackass. On the bright side, I’ve been recertified in CPR and have not yet failed out.