Wednesday, October 03, 2007

PBL, Seminar, Physical Diagnosis, and Clinical Correlation

Today was a really long day. I had PBL first in the morning, and we just did not have it together as a group today. The seminar afterward was about vasculitis. I hadn't done any of the textbook reading since it was already pretty late by the time I finally got into my apartment last night. But I still thought the seminar was pretty good. It was about vasculitides, which are inflammatory diseases of blood vessels.

In the afternoon, our physical diagnosis session covered the eye exam. My group had a really great preceptor. We got to use the machine to look at one another's retinas. I forget what it's called, but it's that thing where you rest your forehead against a pad and the optometrist is on the other side moving the lenses around. ("Is it better this way--click--or like this?") I was the first "patient," and the preceptor told all of my classmates to try to see the number on my contact lens. It turns out that they could, and I don't think I've ever had such an intensive eye exam by so many people in a row in my entire life!

After that, we spent two hours meeting with patients who have rheumatological diseases for our Clinical Correlation. (Rheumatological diseases are inflammatory diseases of the muscles and joints.) I wish we would have been given some background about the patients before we went into the rooms, because every single meeting started out with the patient asking us what we wanted to know. To which I always replied, "Um, everything. I don't know a thing about you or what you have." The takeaway points I got from this are that rheumatological treatments are tremendously expensive (most of the patients mentioned this) and that more research needs to be done on how to treat rheumatological diseases (several patients expressed the hope that we would become rheumatology researchers.)

As far as I know, no one in my class wants to become a rheumatologist. I've heard several of my classmates express strongly that they have no desire to study rheumatology, and I feel the same way. But I have never felt so bad about disliking a medical field as I do about this one. Here were these poor patients, all of whom donated their time to meet with us, and all of whom have suffered greatly from truly awful diseases that made them physically deformed, telling us how they hoped we'd find new cures for rheumatological diseases. And there I was, unable to stop thinking about how I am not such a huge fan of rheumatology, and that I will gladly stop studying it the very first second that I possibly can.

On the bright side, I finally found my keys. I have started wearing them around my neck. Let's just hope I don't misplace my neck along with my keys next time!

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