Thursday, February 14, 2008

Too familiar?

Today, I became a bit more familiar with the human body, perhaps a little more familiar than I wanted. I had been worrying about this all week! We spent four hours delving into the intricate details of the female pelvic exam, and practicing the various skills until we mastered them. We practiced the breast exam, the bimanual pelvic, the speculum and pap exam, and the rectovaginal exam. I'm relieved it's over, and pleased with how much I learned and how effective it was to have the teaching assistants (who also play the role of patient) help us with the techniques. It's hard to believe, looking at that cervix, that a baby has passed through it when all you can fit into it is the tip of the pap-smear sampling brush. The female reproductive system is a complex system of organs whose communications and interactions are quite mysterious even to the best experts. I fear that section of pathophysiology more than any other! For now, I can merely appreciate, and observe, and understand the basic skills necessary to detect abnormal findings. And, be extremely grateful that there are women in this world who are brave enough to volunteer themselves to the hands of young, naive speculum-wielding medical students. 

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