ndab Ah Yes, Medical School: On Highs and Lows

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

On Highs and Lows

Today I had my second chance to go to my Woodland Hills preceptor and try to actually learn something useful, which is more than I can say for 75% of what is taught in lecture and lab (and I would assume this holds for just about any medical school). I figure I'll get the disgustingly gross/entertaining stuff out of the way, because I saw an interesting contrast that I think is kind of chilling to think about as a future physician (assuming I pass, which is looking more and more doubtful each and every day).

So my regular readers (is there such a thing) might recall my last preceptor experience, where I saw a horribly chaffed penis/two-headed monster. Perhaps that was coincidence. Perhaps. But I am now starting to believe that my preceptor gets a kick out of messing with me, and lines up all the "sensitive male issue" cases for when I'm there. He must just sit in his office and go, 'testicles! lets have the boy do this one...biiiiatch.' Today I learned about epididimitis. You may recall from a biology class that the epididimus is found in the male testiclar region. You may also know that anything with an -itis at the end means inflammation. You may now conclude that I got to see a horribly inflammed testicle today. I don't know how this happened, but I feel like somehow this is not what rappers talk about when discussing big balls. I also got to see what green toes look like. What?, you ask. Turns out that a fungal infection, if not treated, looks really fucking gross. And green. All over the place. I mean honestly how much green does it take before you start thinking, 'hey I really oughtta have this checked out.' (to all you politicians out there, I saw the guys file and he was under insurance and had a normal job and honestly at some point you just have to stop making excuses and realize that you are gonna turn into the jolly green giant).

OK so now that I got that out of my system, I actually have been thinking about two separate events that I witnessed during this preceptor visit. The first was a lady who came in with severe abdominal pain. She had similar pain 6 months before, and it suddenly came back, figuring that it was probably the same thing and needed meds. She did not seemed concerned at all. The doc decided he wanted to do a colonoscopy, and when asked why, he said 'to screen for colon cancer' matter-of-factly. Her face turned sour, and now all of a sudden this innocent trip to the doctor has brought on a large volume of anxiety that will not likely pass for some time (especially since this test won't be done for about one month). It is odd to wonder what her biggest concerns were right up until that moment, and how things can change in an instant...

...on that note, the last guy I saw was coming with severe shoulder pain. He seemed severly distressed and could barely move his arm. Doc had me give him a cortisone injection (which I might add is the first time i injected anything into anybody. go me.), and two minutes later he felt no pain and could move his shoulder all over the place. Pretty remarkable, and seemingly the complete opposite sequence of events that had just taken place with the abdominal pain lady. OK so I don't really have any conclusions to draw from this, other than this is a pretty powerful profession, for better or worse. If the cheese factor is getting to be too much and you are searching for more sarcasm, please see below.