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Radiology killed the OMM star

October 29, 2007

Let me begin with the things I learned from my 2 weeks as a radiologist:
1) SITS= rotator cuff
2) SGT= Pes Anserinus (goose foot)
3) Tom Dick & Harry= what goes round the lat malleolus
4) GIVE INFARCTS= causes of AVN
5) Michelle will never be a radiologist!

Ok, ok…so I learned a bit more, but ask me again in a month and I bet this was the take-home message that stuck with me.

Actually I learned quite alot. I was paired with a radiology group that does musculoskeletal radiology almost exclusively. It turned out to be a great anatomy lesson, and I really pushed myself to finally push through the mental block of muscle names, innervations and connections. I mean, I knew intuitively where they connect and how they move and where the nerves run, and especially how to treat them…but what’s the gol’ dern name again? Its really embarassing as a DO not to know the anatomy, esp anything musculoskeletal. And we all know that is the best learning tool: humiliation. Or avoidance thereof.

So here’s a little bit about how things actually went down, b/c I think the life of a radiologist is quite a mystery to most.

Mon- I showed up at the south office on time. Maybe ten minutes late actually. I still ended up waiting for nearly 40 minutes. When the doc finally came in and got started, he shut off all the lights and we stared at a glowing screen. He started rattling off all the anatomy and what each spot of increased signal (ack, I’m speaking the language! that means bright spot) meant to him, then dictated those findings, never really looking back at me or stopping for a breath in between cases. Meanwhile, I did two things: 1) made sure I was saying “mmm hmm” and “ok” b/c you can’t exactly nod in the dark, and 2) stabbed myself repeatedly to stay awake. We were done by 11am, so I went home for a nap.

Tues- I showed up at the north office a little late, radiologist was still later, though I had a new guy. He had a very different style. He liked to take little breathers in between each case and then a long break after about 5 cases. He said it was b/c he was one of those radiologists who never quite got used to living without the sun. He included me more into what he was doing, and even assigned some homework. I didn’t have to stab myself nearly as many times that day.

Wed- Back at the south office. I get there 10 min early and today’s radiologist is already there, in the pitch black, whispering to himself. I try to sneak in and not bother him. He does like 3 cases before he says anything to me, the whole time before then whispering his dictations like he doesn’t want me to here. He opens with “So what do you know about AVN?” Its avascular necrosis. “What are the risks?” I start naming off the problems it can cause and he interrupts to say he wants to know the causes, not the results. Oh, risk factors. I name the top 3 to which he replies “ya, there are like 20 of them, you should know them.” Then dead silence for 15 more minutes. Then “So what do you know about scaphoid fractures?” A bone in the hand fractures when you fall forward and it has poor blood supply so its hard to heal. “Ya, but what kinds of fractures? Look that up.” Dammit. It goes on like this, but luckily only until 10am.

Thurs- Apparently I wasn’t suppoed to show up this day. I am with the doc I think I was warned about as not liking students. As soon as I realize this, I tell him that I mainly came in to use the textbooks and study, but would appreciate any bones he might throw me in terms of cool cases. He seems to appreciate this, and was actually quite sweet about showing me a few things. Except that he called me Rebecca the whole time. Rebecca. Oooookay.

Fri- I was sick as a dog and thought of calling in, but decided against it when I remembered that I was supposed to meet their female associate that day. I figured since it was the first time meeting me, she wouldn’t expect too much. Well I get there and it is definitely NOT her. It was Wed doc! Aaah! First of all, I had only read about half of the assignment he gave me. Tues doc had given me a chest xray book that he wanted me to return by Thurs, so I had focused on that, then I was sick Thurs night. I thought I wasn’t going to see Wed doc until sometime the next week. Second of all, what I did read about, I couldn’t articulate very well being all confused in the head from sickness. Of course, the first thing he asks me, “So what are the 20 causes of AVN.” I could only remember 10. “What about scaphoid fractures?” Nope, didn’t read. He proceeded to chew my ass for this, after all, I have all my afternoons off, why wouldn’t I have time to do this? Aargh.

Next Mon- I come in more depressed than I’ve ever been while practicing medicine. I studied my butt off over the weekend and I knew my preceptor would be my doc that day, so I had to rock it to make up for whatever he might have heard from Wed/Fri doc. And ladies and gentlemen, I did! Plus, he was a totally awesome teacher. Very animated and informative. Finally!

Next Tues- I wanted to continue the streak from te day before with this Tues doc, so I got there early to study. I randomly picked shoulder. And waht did half our morning turn out to be? Shoulder! And this guy was pimpalicious. Not in a mean way at all, he was actually really fun, but he wanted to really see what I knew. By the end of it, he said I was acing questions he wouldn’t expect ortho radiology residents to know. I rock!

The rest of the week- Honestly boys and girls, it was all good after that. Very relaxed and informative. I suppose they saved the good bunch for the 2nd week. Oh, I also got to meet the female radiologist. And she listened to hip hop and Johnny Cash all day. So ya, we got along great.

So now I’m done with radiology, and though it might have bumped my contact prescription up a notch, and made me learn more about the rotator cuff than I ever cared to know, I am no longer an anatomy idiot.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 10, 2007 12:42 am

    It’s really, really great to hear that other people have weeks like this on rotations. You have no idea the hope that you have given me! 🙂 Also, I’m putting you on my blogroll. No need to thank me for the 2-3 extra hits per month you’ll get.

  2. November 11, 2007 2:28 pm

    Amen to that, Kim (and Michelle). It seems like some weeks, my asshole just keeps getting stretched wider and wider. It cracks me up (always retrospectively) when a doc translates my not reading about one aspect of the material as my being a totally ignorant buffoon. Yes, I said buffoon, damn it.

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