Monday, July 26, 2004


Last Thursday I performed a real live health assessment: I took a very elderly patient's year-old's blood pressure and listened to heart and lung sounds. The patient's lungs were filled with rales (crackle-y sounding things), which generally indicate pneumonia or other deep respiratory infections. My skills are such that I recognized the patient's heart sounds to be absolutely out of control but have no idea what to call said lack of control, which is why the program is 14 months and not seven weeks. Before we advance to further assessments we have the ultimate practical exam tomorrow: We have to be prepared to examine any or all body systems and ask appropriate questions. Essentially, we draw a complaint ("my tummy hurts") out of a hat and then assess a patient's abdomen and ask all of the correct questions. A lot of things to remember.

Last week was notable for lectures on male and female genitalia. One man in one of my clinical groups pointed out that for the female genitalia exam assessment we were all quite serious and really somewhat dour. The male genitalia lecture was accompanied by giggles and jokes and other reverse-sexist behavior. The disparity was built into the notes themselves: our male lecture notes reminded us to treat the penis and equipment as we would any other part of the body. The female lecture notes didn't bother to remind us that vaginas were part of the body.


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