ndab Ah Yes, Medical School: Why I Am Going Straight To Hell

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Why I Am Going Straight To Hell

Before I begin, I would like to apologize again to my millions of loyal readers for not getting off my ass and updating on all the crazy shit they make us do during medical school. For you see, I have been stricken with a severe case of laziness and I just haven't had the energy to do...anything. This includes studying, for those of you who will undoubtedly be paranoid in about 10 years when you go to visit a doctor and find out he graduated from my medical school. I thought about writing a whole column about said laziness, but I realized this would be utterly self-contradictory and I would not want to be the one to violate the sacred laws of formal logic.

Now that that's out of the way, let me touch upon something that we have been covering during the past week. Namely, 'tards*. Our Doctoring class this week centered on how one should deal with mentally and physically handicapped patients in a clinical setting. Very useful stuff, no doubt. But instead of having us practice this, they made us watch this video demonstrating how doctors make assumptions about such patients, don't listen to what they have to say, and sometimes wholly disregard their health as insignificant because they are a waste of space to begin with. Ouch. Let me first say that I totally agree that the behavior depicted in the video was awful and I in no way will allow myself to become a doctor like that.

That said, some of that shit was fucking hilarious.

Let me demonstrate this by describing one of the vignettes shown to us. The opening shot was of the student doctor with an elderly female patient (who is a real patient with a real condition) sitting in a wheelchair in front of him. The dialogue went as follows (I tried my best to replicate exactly what the patient sounded like, so if you sound out what I typed below it should actually be pretty close to the truth - yes, I make time for stuff like this):

Student Doctor: What brings you here today?

Patient: Muuuuuaaaaaweeeeallll Iiiiiiihaaaarrrrghghgg aaaaaaaaaproooo blllleeeaaium waath myutray staawmaoughn

Student Doctor: Umm. Can you tell me where the pain is?

Patient [waving one arm around in a circle repeatedly over her entire stomach/abdomen area]: Iiiiiiiaattts awwwwvveeeeeeeeeer thiiiiiaaaaeerar.

Student Doctor: Umm. How long has this been going on?

Patient: Aaaaabbuuuuaawwwt ssseeeaaaaax wwweeeeekaaaaakgyeras. Iiiiaaweet weaaalllly huuuuaaareeastests.

Student Doctor [getting a little frustrated]: OK. Do you have a translator or something that can help?

Patient: Nawwwgghergihadateheajkehajhd

Student Doctor: Umm. Se habla espanol?

[Cut to shot of lady sitting there in her wheelchair. Uneasy silence proceeds]

Anyways, this goes on for a little while longer before the student doctor walks out and presents to the attending that the patient must have acid reflux or something. The attending realizes who the patient is, knows that she is fully cognitively intact and just has this speaking problem (among other things), reprimands the student, and saves the day by diagnosing her problem as a urinary tract infection.

First, let me say that while the student doctor handled the situation horribly ("Se habla espanol'? I mean, honestly, what the fuck?), I can totally understand how frustrating that encounter might be because I could not understand a fucking WORD of what that lady was saying. How can they expect someone who's never seen this lady before be able to understand her, when they have to give us viewers SUBTITLES in order to get what she's saying (and I must add that I seriously question some of the subtitling). Also, perhaps more awfully, I found myself laughing at this vignette because it was just so fucking funny. Like right out of a movie. Granted, a really bad and politically incorrect movie, but a movie nonetheless. Coupled with the fact that I tend to imitate someone fondly known as "Ghetto Retard" (a legendary card-swiper at my college who lives up to his name in so many ways it is ridiculous) with another friend in our class who knows of this guy too, it has occurred to me that I am due for some serious karma punishment sometime soon. I am trying hard to atone for my awfulness, but sometimes when you're tired and burned out you just gotta take a step back and laugh at the situation, because if you were watching that you'd be laughing too.

*Now before you get all shocked and appalled at my derogatory references to this patient population, let me remind you that I am just describing what I saw, and any humor I gained from it is not reflective of the kind, sensitive (and damn attractive) person that I am - it is instead a reflection of the building fatigue and general indifference I am developing towards the stuff they are making us do in class as a result of being in school since August 4th with absolutely no end in sight.