Thursday, September 15, 2011

Uhh, Hmmm. What? Okay. Wait a minute, what?


"Of course it happened to me, because that's just how things go." Do you ever find yourself saying that to yourself whenever something unfortunate happens? I found myself, this afternoon thinking that exact thing, as if my life had been one long string of unfortunate incidents, as if there were a grand scheme to screw everything up for me. This is a dangerous trap; one that is easy to fall into but getting out of posthaste is imperative.

So, the last day of block exams we had to deal with three separate exams. The middle one was a doctoring practical that basically was identifying surface anatomy landmarks and palpitation. You know, find the thyroid cartilage, identify the left middle lung (okay, trick question, you got me, there is no left middle lung!) and the auscultation points of the four heart valves, and much more. In fact, we (the students) were provided a page of landmarks that constituted a predetermined set of things we were supposed to know going into the exam. Great, sounds good.

The exam starts with having me find 4 different pulses. Excellent. Then I am asked to identify the lobes of the anterior upper lungs -- again, no problem. To finish off the exam, I am asked to identify the exact auscultation points for the upper posterior lungs. Oooooookay. From simple deduction, I can figure out (on the fly, no less) that it is not a good idea to listen to the lungs through the scapula. So, I try and pass it off by saying that just medial to the scapula, superior to T3 but inferior to T1, in hopes that's good enough. You see, this wasn't on the rubric provided to the students. If it was, I would've known to point out rib 4 was what the proctor was looking for. I didn't, because I didn't know it was going to be asked.

Of course, this was the moment I began to think that of course, this happened to me, because that is just precisely what happens to me. In the grand scheme of things, this isn't a big deal, and even during the exam I knew this and I was never in danger of losing perspective. In these doctoring exams they partner you with another student. In this instance, I was the student who was the "doctor" first. When my fellow student had her turn, she was asked to provide landmarks and palpitations that were listed on the rubric. She did just fine, but as the afternoon progressed, I couldn't help think (and in the process, get caught up in the trap) that these things are just the type of things that happen to me.

Like I said before, these things are amplified in our minds, especially when we're so focused on these exams, determined to not sacrifice any points to lack of preparation. And, now that the week of exams if over, and I had some nice Indian food with the wife and now am watching a movie on the couch (Cedar Rapids, if anyone is curious, which is the kind of movie I like, especially with Dr. Steve Brule in it -- for your health! Maybe the happy ending is a little too much) with the same wife, and life is good.

For someone in my position, who admittedly, has gotten away with more than I deserve, it is important to remember that the world isn't conspiring to foil my plans. After all, my car did start this morning.

I'm sorry for the lack of entertainment value in this post. I'll have some good stuff this weekend after a good night's sleep. Hang tight.

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