ndab Ah Yes, Medical School: Learning Is Fun! And So Is Unnecessarily Hurting People!

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Learning Is Fun! And So Is Unnecessarily Hurting People!

Before I get to the nasty stuff I saw during my preceptor visit yesterday, I would just like to add something to my previous bitch-fest. As much as I enjoyed ripping my school, I have to say that I impressed myself (along with the doctors I was following around) yesterday with how much I have actually learned in just four months. Almost every patient we saw had something that I was completely comfortable with: diabetic ketoacidosis, COPD, heart failure, etc. Granted, these are pretty common things, but, as one doc said, most first year medical students wouldn't have the slightest clue about such things because they don't get to learn about them until second year, much less the detailed knowledge of pathophysiology and treatment options that I brought to the table. Awwwwwwwww Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.

Anyways, the amusing stuff from yesterday is as follows:

One patient I got to learn about is jovially referred to by the doctors on the ward as "Magpile". This monstrously large woman was brought into the ER with a whole mess of problems, not the least of which was the fact that there were MAGGOTS on parts of her body that she was completely unaware of. Umm. Yea. That is just awful.

Later on, doc decides that one patient needs an arterial blood gas test done. Then looks up at me and says "Oh, you're doing it." That's just great. Turns out that this test involves taking a big needle and sticking it down someone's wrist at a 45 degree angle, hoping to hit an artery (they are buried deeper than veins). Needless to say, this does not hurt at all. Naturally, I hit a vein the first time around and had to repoke him. Then I missed again. And again. And again. What made me feel a little better was the fact that the doctor couldn't do it either, but that could have been because the swelling was so much after my attempts that it was just not gonna happen. Yay trial and error!

Next, doc decides that I should just keep on trying and has me follow a nurse around to start an IV on someone. Unfortunately, as the nurse would later tell me, it is as if this woman has no veins, so we spend about 20 minutes just trying to find one on her body in the first place. Did I mention that she was going through menopause and was experiencing hot flashes while I was trying to poke her? Or that she knew I didn't have the slightest fucking clue what I was doing and was belittling me the whole time? Or that the nurse pointed to what she claimed was a vein but was to me nothing? Yea you can guess what happened next. I fucked that up. Heh. Actually, I made the right hole, just didn't direct the needle completely in the right way, which required nurse assistance. Well, I'll take any sort of silver lining at this point. And no "I can't find the hole!" jokes, please.

So what is the moral of this story? If you happen to be at the Kaiser I'm at one day and just so happen to see a dashing young medical student handsomly walking around and offering to stick you with a needle, just say no.