Thursday, January 21, 2010

Illnesses Which in My Case I Have Not Got

There are only a limited number of jobs that a woman can do whilst lying down.

I did one of them today.

No, not that one. Honestly! A different one.

Somewhere in England some final-year medical students were having an exam, and I was playing the role of a patient with cholecystitis - - - an inflamed gall bladder, in fact.

They had to examine my abdomen, and I had been told where to show that it hurt by subtle "I am in pain" acting. "Owwww! Aaaaargh! Nonononono! Heeeeeelp! Mercy!" - - etc.

Actually if you prod a patient with this in one particular place it hurts like hell and this is called Murphy's Sign (nothing to do with Murphy's Law, I'm pleased to say).

So that's what I was doing all day. Forty times, in fact. Eight minutes each.

But of course, even when the students were pretty sure what the problem was, they have to give an alternative possible diagnosis, just in case. Sometimes there can be more than one possible diagnosis, of course.

So in order to do that, they needed to take out quite a few of my organs, count them, check them over, and put them back, hopefully in the right places.

Ohh all right then, they didn't actually need to take them out - - but they did need to find them to check they were the right size etc, just in case the pain was, for example, caused by me being a heavy drinker with an enlarged liver.

So they all had to rummage about in my abdomen until they found my liver. They did try to find my spleen, but I think it had popped out to a cafe somewhere.

They also examined my hands for any signs of illness and my eyes for any signs of jaundice - - and declared them free of illness and in reasonable working order.

All the way through they listed lots of illnesses that I haven't got and it was actually quite comforting to be told this by forty nearly-qualified medics, one after the other.

I was very impressed by the students, as a matter of fact: they all told me what they needed to do, asked my permission, apologised for their cold hands and thanked me afterwards. Although they did know that I wasn't a real patient, one or two looked distinctly surprised when they met me in the corridor afterwards: I had apparently made a miraculous recovery.

I was particularly grateful to quite a few of them who thought it might be an ectopic pregnancy. Yes, yes, I know everyone over twenty-five looks pretty ancient to most students, but it cheered me up no end.

It was an interesting day - - though with a very long, traffic-filled journey on either side of it. I think I'll be going to bed soon, to let my poor abdomen recover for a while.


Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

I am having to censor myself with regard to commenting on these medical role plays and examinations. What I might have said would have only created mirth in the heads of other filthy-minded bloggers. Sorry for having such lewd thoughts.

9:48 pm  
Blogger Daphne said...

YP - By 'eck, you're a smutty lot in Sheffield. Here in Leeds I have a very clean mind. Really.

9:51 pm  
Blogger WendyCarole said...

inflamed gall bladders really hurt. I know I had one.

10:27 pm  
Anonymous Caroline said...

Hi Daphne - I have been reading your blog for a while as I'm reasonably local and recognise lots of the places you mention. I was tickled by this:
"Yes, yes, I know everyone over twenty-five looks pretty ancient to most students..."
I used to work in that building and had my first mid-life crisis at the age of 26 when it was increasingly obvious from the reactions from the students that I was already old and wrinkly and therefore redundant. I have since found out that around the age of 30 you just become completely invisible! Now I'm looking forward to what happens when I turn 40 this year. Thanks for writing this. I do enjoy reading your posts.

9:57 pm  

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