Acknowledgement of Body Donors

Where do corpses come from? There’s a question to ask yourself.
They aren’t prepackaged to be purchased off a supermarket shelf.
No, our materials for gross anatomy and physiology
are donated by those who at death reach for the apogee
attainable through one final act of generosity.
Past generations helped them and in the spirit of reciprocity
they renounce their connection to their physical remains
that we may learn to alleviate the sufferings and pains
of all those who still reside upon this mortal plane.
So if you, or anyone you love, has ever gained
from modern healthcare or carried the flame
for one of the professions reliant on anatomical knowledge
take this moment to think of the body donors and acknowledge
their final gift to us and the generations we precede
and recognise that we should all be very thankful indeed.

Would ‘You’re So Vein’ Be a Lame Title?

Now we’re learning some actual clinical skills in our classes
instead of just memorising facts in the hope that they’ll pass us.
Today, we practiced venipuncture, IM and SC injection technique,
we’ll be assessed on the respiratory exam sometime next week.

The skills we practiced today were simple enough
(although on our artificial model nothing could be too tough).
IM and sub-cut were 80% stabbing ability,
while angle and depth introduced only slight subtlety.

For venipuncture, I must admit, we did need more
fine motor skills to guide in the fixed needles
and butterfly clips with various protuberances
but in the end everyone managed to work out the appurtenances.

And look, they even let me keep a souvenir (obviously not actual blood)

Because I’m Too Tired to Write a Real Post

If you were wondering about the lapse in my blogging
it’s because for the last two weeks I’ve been slogging
away at studying for a mid-semester assessment
and only now, at the end of this huge time investment
have I had a chance to resume my normal rhyming
and in the next few days I’ll resume my roughly weekly timing
of posting poems on the minutiae of medical school
(I’d start again immediately but I’m far too tired for all
the effort of writing a proper post at this particular time
but after a good night’s sleep I’m sure I’ll be fine.)

Down at The Globe

Last night I planned to do some quiet pre-reading for my Monday tute
so I wandered down to catch bus 412, which traverses the route
from a shopping centre near my residence to the university
when coming up the centre stairway who should I see
but two girls from my PBL group standing, waiting to go
somewhere with a gaggle of 1st years I didn’t know.

“We’re going to the city” explained one of the two who I knew
“UQMS is running some sort of charity-talent night do,
with med students in bands playing their own songs.
Forget about studying. Why don’t you come along?”

Having been somewhat reluctant about the pre-reading from the start
I was quickly convinced to go watch the more musical students ply their art.
So we all headed down to The Globe – though not quite sure of the way
(we only walked in the wrong direction for 5 minutes I’d say
before realising it was actually down the other end of the road)
When we got there we waited a while in the queue before we showed
our IDs, were given three red stickers each and allowed admission.
The stickers it turned out were to vote on a photo competition.
I never found out who won that (and I don’t really care).
The first bands we listened to – well, it’d be flattery to call them fair.

So we went over the other side which was converted from an old cinema
but without any seating so there were a crowd of students sitting in a
series of amorphous rows on the floor like an open air concert with a roof and walls.
Unlike the band on the other side, the musicians here you could actually call
talented. We stayed there until the temperature in the enclosed crowd got
a little too high, even when they moved in an industrial fan it was still too hot.
We drifted back and forward between the two sides of the club for another hour or so
then decided we’d had enough and it was time to go.

History Lesson

The first assessment in the medical curriculum will
be history taking – an activity in which I have some skill
thanks to my time spent working as a pharmacist in the community
and I feel that experience will surely advantage me.

But although it’s listed as an assessment in all our documentation,
it’s “formative”, which means it’s something closer to an initiation
into the grading structure and the format of the actual markable test
conducted mainly to give us feedback for our own professional interest.

But although this doesn’t officially count towards our final grade
it does get recorded and in a few weeks we’ll watch the DVDs that we made
of us taking a history from our colleagues playing the parts of patients
acting as if they suffered from a range of mysterious, unknown ailments.

My partner played the part of the doctor first
while I pretended to be a patient with the worst
diarrhoea he’d ever had with intermittent emesis
(that’s vomiting, for those of you don’t know what it is)

My partner actually did really well,
until right at the end she fell
into a trap you’d think she would have saw
and forgot to turn off the video feed before she swore.

I don’t know what reaction that’ll get when our class views the DVD.
She was worried about our tutor’s opinion, but if you ask me
no-one will care. We’re all adults and I’m sure we’ve all heard worse
than someone idly dropping an impulsive, poorly timed curse.

After that little faux pas it was my turn to record a history.
Her fake patient had productive cough and other respiratory
symptoms. It was fairly easy to work down the question list
and a record of travel to India was the only detail I missed.

Taking a patient’s medical history (at least in this artificial case)
is surprisingly simple but perhaps I’m just used to having to face
real patients in the past who were usually either confused, confusing or hostile
and by comparison these prewritten scripts for preclinical students are a little bit facile.

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