Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Crazy Daze

This week is just absolutely killing me, although today was a pretty good day as far as school goes. Our PBL group was being observed by one of the administration people this morning. I don't know what it is about us being watched, but somehow it does something to the group dynamics and makes us all act even weirder than we usually do. :-P My learning objective for Friday is on reading EEGs. Our seminars this morning were both about coma, and they were really good. I have to say that overall, this year's NMS block is vastly better than last year's was.

In the afternoon, I had my clinical skills course. First, we had to practice interviewing standardized patients about their sexual history. Most of it is pretty straightforward, but some of the examples we had to read were a little ridiculous. For example, there was one where the patient was arthritic, and the doctor asked if the patient could open their legs to have sex. I read that one and thought, there is no way I will ever ask any arthritic patient that question! Do I look like Dr. Kinsey or Dr. Ruth? I came here to be a clinical researcher, not a sex therapist!

The standardized patients were awesome though. The one I had was playing a lesbian with a rash on her groin, and the interview was pretty uneventful. I asked her about her sexual activity, partners, using protection, satisfaction with her sex life, if anyone was hurting her or forcing her to do anything she didn't want to do, etc. Some of my classmates apparently got treated to detailed descriptions of lesbian sex toys, but I didn't really give my actress too much of an opportunity to go into a lot of details. :-P It felt a lot more awkward doing the interview in class than it ever does in clinic. Having an audience of a physician, a shrink, and three of your classmates watching you interview this person on what is probably the most sensitive subject out there is kind of weird, even though it's all pretend. We got through it all right, but no one ever said that being professional all the time is easy. ;-)

Afterward, we had a Clinical Correlation on impaired physicians, which was AWESOME. Several physicians and nurses who were recovering addicts came to speak with us in small groups about their experiences. Most had been alcoholics, but some had been addicted to opioids or other drugs. They answered our questions about how their addiction had affected their professional and personal lives, and we talked about Alcoholics Anonymous as well. Some of these people attend AA or NA (Narcotics Anonymous) meetings every single day, up to four meetings per day. The main things I learned from this were that being isolated from others and feeling like they were "in control" were two of the biggest risk factors for becoming an addict, or relapsing after getting clean. They also mentioned that statistically, odds are that three or four people in my class of 32 will become addicts or have problems with alcohol or other drugs. That really made their stories seem even more pertinent to us.

This evening, I came home and wrote my paper for class tomorrow. It wound up taking about three and a half hours. I don't like writing papers at the last minute, and I am just so happy that I got it done in time, even though I didn't have a chance to do any of my reading for med school this evening. I can't do it now either, because my class is at 7 AM tomorrow. Sigh.

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