Today's session: ear, nose, and throat physical diagnosis. Very interesting, mind you, but it was quickly remembered from Neurology last year that my gag reflex is low to absent. Specifically, you can shove a tongue depressor down my throat and follow it up with a little mirror, and even if you mess up and bang around on my palate, uvula, tongue and tonsils with the beast, I won't gag, nor will I cough. I'll just sit quietly while all fifteen of my classmates tug my tongue this way and that, so that everyone but me gets a good view of my vocal cords.
"Oooh, say 'eeee' again! I saw them move!"
"Cool! Hey, Jim!" "Hey, Rachel!" "Here, Iwona, practise on Nykki. She doesn't gag!"
My tongue is numb. My throat is dry. But I have the awe of all my classmates.
I got to look down Iwona's throat, briefly, and Kara's, after I gagged her ten times with the tongue depressor. Press...and scoop. There's an art to it. An art I do not possess. But I'm pretty decent at peeking into ears. Jim's malleus is hyperemic - it's a big red line down his eardrum - and he has otosclerosis from ear infections as a child. I can see Kara's incus, which is pretty darn cool, and I even got to blow air in and see her eardrum move.
Iwona's nose is most interesting - she has a giant hole in the middle of her nasal septum. We all had to look at that. It's like the two sides of her nose are connected. Jim's cracking jokes about how she must've used cocaine back in Poland - because cocaine use can lead to septal perforation.
We had a meeting today, the AMA kids, talked about the CSAE and the resident work-week.
Those of you with political activist leanings: call your representative people. H.R.3236 has 72 co-sponsors. S.2614, its companion bill in the senate, has only 3. Both bills call for an 80-hour cap to the work week, no more than 24 hours per shift, with 10 hours between shifts. No more than a 12-hour straight workday for ER residents. It may not seem like a big deal - but treating patients after 110 hours of work is not good for the patient, nor is it really conducive to a learning environment.
The CSAE, on the other hand, is more of an internal issue. If you would like to see the details regarding this proposed exam, it's here on the AMSA website. The National Board is not listening to the students' concerns at all, and we've been forced to go the the state medical licensing boards to fight it. I think it's laid out pretty clearly on the site.
It's been an interesting day.