Guinea Pig

You’re probably expecting a post on Cavia porcellus
but I’ll admit straight up that this blog is more or less
free of Rodentia and guinea pigs as a rule
and today won’t be an exception to that ruling at all.

I was walking down the hall one Monday ago
when seeing a board full of notices I briefly slowed
to peruse for anything that might be of interest to me
and here’s a paraphrased version of the things I did see:

‘Textbooks!! Good as new condition. Biochem, anatomy – latest editions.’

‘UQ Christian mission! Follow us to avoid burning in perdition.’

‘Got shoulder pain? Listen, subjects for short assessment needed (it won’t be an imposition)’

‘Students wanted to fill wait staff positions. Good pay available with great working conditions’

I could do without offers one, two and four
but I had some shoulder pain and wanted to hear more
about the possibility of getting a free physio assessment
for nothing beyond a small time investment.

So off I went to be a subject for a study in teleconsultation
with two assesments run end to end, each about an hour’s duration.
One conducted in person by a physio and the other being
beamed live between us via two-way video stream.

The long range consultation was less effective without a doubt
despite demonstrations there were a few maneuvers I doubt I carried out
quite correctly. But no-one claims it’s a substitute for face-to-faces
and it’d be better than nothing, for people in remote places.

Anyway, the final diagnosis if anyone’s curious
was exactly what I expected – the pain was largely spurious.
Just the result of bad posture throughout the day
but it’s nice to be certain (for free) anyway.

Just this once I’ll make an exception to my rule - because I know this is what you really came to see.

Image from here

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)

The Stationery (As Well As Stationary) Vending Machine

Here’s something novel that I’ve recently seen,
it’s a stationery vending machine.
Instead of selling artery clogging snacks
it endeavors to sell whatever items you lack.
Lets say for example, I forgot to pack my pencils.
I can always pick from this range of writing utensils!

دروس العربية

Here’s something from two weeks ago
before study forced my blogging to slow,
the beginning of semester for language night-classes
at the department to which our university passes
responsibility for LOTE and linguistic instruction,
translation, interpreting and related functions.

It’s here that I intend to continue learning Arabic
an endeavour I’ve been pursuing for a bit
over a year now but it’s being difficult while working
and my return to uni may just give me the chance I’ve been yearning
for to put time towards such self-strengthening measures
given the relatively high amount of leisure
time students (yes, even ones doing medicine)
are permitted to use for almost anything.

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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