Saturday, April 17, 2010

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Relishing the moment

Assigned to evaluate us was Dr. LCL, arguably among the fiercest, toughest consultants in the neuro department. And this was our return demonstration, a practical exam of sorts that aimed to evaluate our ability to elicit a good patient history, assess the patient's mental status, and test for cranial nerve function. While the exam was intrinsically challenging, our assigned preceptor made it even more so.

The good doctor is known for asking questions that span the theoretical and the practical. Terrified, my groupmates and I prepared for her to the best that we could. When it came to the real thing, we didn't deliver as much as we hoped.

"Trace the visual pathway," she told me. This she said even as my partner, Miguel Catangui, was busy eliciting tendon reflexes in our patient. I was shocked. My mind went blank. I had to say something.

"Ma'am, can I get a pen and paper? I think better when I draw things," I requested.

"While you're at it, where is the lesion if the patient has left homonymous hemianopsia?" she asked.

I traced the pathway, mustering all I knew. I hadn't prepared for this, and I was in panic. This was the sketch.

IMG_2492

"So where is the lesion?" she demanded.

"It takes me a long time to figure these problems out, Ma'am," I said calmly, a betrayal of what I actually felt—raging anacondas in my stomach, not just colorful butterflies.

Just about the end of the exam, I had it—the elusive answer—but Ma'am, for some reason I couldn't comprehend, had forgotten the hanging question entirely.

The lesson? Keep it slow, keep it cool.

4 comments:

  1. Its always like that, when you ger nervous your brain stops working :) but you did a good job anyway.

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  2. Tzippy: thanks for dropping by! I'm thankful I passed the test with grades WAY better than I had expected. And I enjoyed and learned from the experience, which is what matters.

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  3. I woke up today because I dreamt it was a Wednesday, and we had an Endo exam on Friday I hadn't studied for.

    Med school continues to haunt us during Summer break. :P

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  4. "and we had an Endo exam on Friday I hadn't studied for." That's almost impossible, Laureen. You always study three weeks before the exam. Haha.

    But yes, med school does haunt us, wherever we may be in the world. I hope you're having a great time in the States!

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