Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Exams

I had my pharmacology exam today and it was entirely fair and seeing as how I had dedicated my weekend to studying for it, I did well. All of my half-assed mnemonics came in handy (e.g. Cipro treats Anthrax...Anthrax starts with "A"...only *A*dults can take Cipro otherwise they'll suffer from *A*rthroplasty....). I have a childbirth exam tomorrow and a pathophysiology exam on Monday. I should just stop talking about exams - they're so common that it's hardly a hardship or remarkable anymore.

I enjoy reading my childbirth notes and textbooks so it's not a chore to study for this course. I've also checked out a book from the library called "The Thinking Woman's Guide to Giving Birth". It's a wonderful book that summarizes the available scientific literature on childbirth. It sheds a lot of light on the total a-scientific nature of obstetrics in North America. For example, the US and Canada are the only two countries on the planet who do not allow women giving birth in a hospital to eat or drink. The thinking is if the laboring woman has to go under general anesthetic, she'll choke on her stomach contents and die and her family will sue. However, the chances of a patient undergoing general anesthetic for childbirth (emergency c-sections are done with regional anesthesia i.e. an epidural) are about 0.025%. Therefore, we starve women and hook them up to IVs that limit their movements before they're about to perform one of the most gruelling and physically-demanding tasks known to (wo)man. Way to go!

Another point that I found interesting: all of the monitors that they hook women up to (a la the maching that goes "ping) are not associated whatsoever with any improved outcomes. The thinking originally went that these monitors will let us know if a fetus is in trouble and we can perform an emergency c-section and avoid brain damage which will cause a decrease in Cerebral Palsy. So 20 years later our cerebral palsy rate is exactly the same but damnit if you're not going to have those movement-limiting monitors slapped on you.

The thing is, this isn't some fringe hippie batik-skirt "childbirth is beautiful, labor is a gift" thing: it's evidence-based reality. I'm really interested in learning more about these things i.e. the gap.
In other news, I've started attending planning meetings for my community center job. It's exciting to be involved in my neighborhood, work with kids and make some money. I am going to design some isn't-nursing-fun activities for the kids i.e. teach them how to take their pulse, listen to their stomach noises etc. I'm hoping a guy in our program who lives in our neighborhood (v. masculine and handsome) can come by in his uniform and be all positive-male-nursing-role-model-ish. I'm also doing a blood pressure screening this weekend at two Korean churches. I will be blood pressure queen by the end of the day.

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