Agraphia Medical Tragicomedy

18Oct/05Off

Well, apologies for not having written for a week, but we've been pretty much back at the grind.

Turns out that the "delivering bad news" class wasn't a week ago (that was a standard high-risk interview. Mine went pretty well, though the initial 5 questions still seem pretty stunted and difficult to ask for me- name, age, hometown, doctor, sex), it was yesterday. And man, was it intense.

I figured I'd go first out of our group of 6, because I was so nervous I just wanted to get it over with. In terms of scenarios to get, I got pretty lucky- I had to tell a woman her cancer biopsy came back positive. She was in denial about it (they teach us a bunch of standard defense mechanisms... one being "I can't have cancer, I've lived a healthy and fulfilling life up until this point! I eat well! I exercise readily! Check the test again! I want a different doctor!"), so I had to tell her that we were extremely careful and it was, in fact, cancer, and we'd have to start a treatment regimen. It certainly wasn't fun, but it wasn't that bad.

The next person got the woman whose chemotherapy had stopped working, and she had less than a year to live. The woman started sobbing. She didn't know what her family would do without her, wasn't ready to die, was too young to die... I mean, it was ROUGH. The next guy got the patient whose spouse had died on the operating table... and he definitely got yelled at. "YOU DIDNT DO ENOUGH! YOU AREN'T SORRY, I'M THE ONE THAT'S SORRY, I HAVE TO LIVE WITHOUT HIM FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE".

So, anyway. Fun times. We got to deal with all the nasty stuff that happens when medicine goes wrong in a concentrated hour and a half. My stomach was a bit knotty after the whole thing, really. Not so sure that oncology is going to be my bread and butter after that. Oh, by the way... these were standardized patients, not real ones. Still, its very realistic... the woman who was sobbing was actually crying, and the one screaming was yelling and cursing at the top of her lungs.

Interesting, though, playing the role of arbiter of truth. They had to tell us that we can't really sugar coat stuff any more. If someone has a year to live, you don't tell them they have 5. If someone gets diagnosed with HIV, has never done IV drugs, and has only ever been with their highschool sweetheart... you'd better believe that the highschool sweetheart has been doing more than sitting at home watching soap operas.

2 weeks until the MSFC conference! I'm heading out to LA to learn more about contraception and women's health- should be fun. A couple other students have already been to conferences (Universal Healthcare, College of Surgery) and they've had a pretty great time so far. It's pretty sweet to have someone else pay for your traveling, just because they think it's important that you learn something.

Filed under: Medicine Comments Off
Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Trackbacks are disabled.