Thursday, September 13, 2007

The eye the ear and the nose

My macula densa hurts.

Today was ear nose and throat day in my health assessment class. Using the opthamaloscope takes some getting used to, and the only people to practice on are other students. We were warned to approach the eye from an angle and not hit the macula directly with the light, but I think this is what my partner did--and she examined my eyes many, many times. Ever since class I've had a tiny headache. Imagine a pinpoint of pain with a diameter of about 2mm somewhere behind your eye. My own view through the opthamaloscope was pretty cool. I saw my partner's optic disk and was able to identify some blood vessels. You focus in on the pupil, trying to achieve the "red reflex" which is when your patient suddenly turns into an alien with a bright red light where her pupil usually is.

My partner insisted she saw a cobwebby substance on both my retinas, which freaked me out a bit. When I took microbiology, we were taught that white bits on the retina were signs of the sorts of super scary diseases that always get featured on the TV show House. (That show, in fact, seems to take many diseases straight out of my micro textbook.) I requested a second opinion from a different student who assured me the backside of my eyeballs look normal. There's a load off my mind.

Then we looked at a model with slides depicting abnormalities of the ocular fundus behind his eyes. My partner and I decided to take the model into a large dark supply closet, where we thought we'd get a better view. Unfortunately, the slides slipped out of place in the transfer. Looking through an opthamaloscope in a pitch-dark room at a tiny circle which will only reflect the scope's light straight back at you? Like looking at the freaking sun. I stumbled across the darkened closet, clutching my head and moaning about my burned-out retina.

As for the ears and nose portion of the class--frankly, I think I prefer to keep my eardrums private. You really don't want someone who doesn't know what the f** she's doing sticking a probe into your ear. As a woman, the word "speculum" makes me uncomfortable. "Nasal speculum" is just weird and disturbing. Our instructor warned us not to probe too deeply into the nose, but my partner dug around as if she thought she'd left her car keys in there.


  1. I cannot imagine letting a fellow patient poke around in my eyes, ears, and throat. You are far braver than I.

  2. Hi Patience,

    I stumbled onto your blog a few hours ago...and I'm still reading and reading--scanning for more on PVCC nursing school/clinical experiences.

    I totally LOL on this entry of yours. A few years ago I took a two week intensive medicine course designed for non-medical persons going overseas for mission work...we basically had a crash course in nursing skills and diagnosing patients (appropriate for unsophisticated medical environs). It was such fun... but I totally remember doing mini-physicals on our classmates. THANK GOD they reminded us it would be illegal to use these new-founds "skills" in any western-ized country. We did the NG tube insertions on partners...I was in tears as my partner couldn't get it past my swollen nasal tissues. ouch. (if you search MME on my blog, you'll see pics/dialogue...if you care!)

    I am waiting to hear from PVCC for the Associates program for fall 2009. I am planning to start prereq (A/P...) this summer regardless if I get in. If I get in...I'm still going to apply to UVA and VCU for their master's programs for fall 2010.

    I'm single without a family so I wouldn't have the same time demands as you have (I read about your debate between options). I'll probably start PVCC --if they let me in--and then if I'm accepted at UVA/VCU, I MIGHT decide to switch over to the masters level program after one year at PVCC and be GLAD that I have some clinical experience under my belt before heading back to school full-time (even though I know the PVCC nursing courses won't transfer). I'm still thinking about it...debating...talking to people. I really want to do some shadowing of a variety of nurses in a variety of fields before I go to grad school and have to pick a field. LOL. Thanks for writing.

    You should use tags/labels for your posts. It would make finding/reading your past posts on nursing topics much simpler. That's just suggestion. You are a busy woman...and CONGRATS for all your hard work and accomplishments so far! I'm going to keep following your blog.

    Cheers, Joy