2.20.2011

Physical Exam, Part 1

Hubby's been learning the art of physical examination this semester, so we have been practicing what he's learned.  I always wonder at times like this, what does a medical student without a spouse do to learn things like this?  I guess if they have a roommate, they could practice on them.  But what if they live alone?  Call up a friend, invite them over,  then ask if they can examine them?  I mean, a physical exam is not super enjoyable.  I probably wouldn't volunteer to do it more than once, except, of course, for my hubby.  Man - I feel like med school would stink without a spouse!  (Of course, maybe it would rock. What do I know?).

Without further ado: The step-by-step process of a physical examination, when given by a learning medical student. 

Scenario: Wife is seating on the exam table /kitchen barstool, wearing her hospital gown/ bathrobe (yes, backwards), when Dr. Hubby enters the room/turns around and says "Okay, you ready?"

1. All physical exams begin with the relationship/flow part of the physical exam.  Hubby introduces himself to me, and I, naturally, give him the most random name I can think of.  (It would probably be even more humorous if I use the name of someone we know.  I'm going to try that tonight). After asking if I am comfortable (I always tell him I am much too cold), he begins the physical exam. 

2.  Vitals - blood pressure and pulse. No matter how quickly he does it, I always end up with very tingly fingers.  It might be because he likes to take it twice, to make sure he did the readings correctly.  Which, while he does read them correctly, they are never technically correct.  My blood pressure is always around 90 over 48 on his cuff.  (I'm no doctor, but I think that's knock-knock-knocking on heaven's door).  This is because I have what the hubby affectionately calls "chicken arms" and I actually need a pediatric cuff to correctly fit me.  Please, don't judge.  I realize I should probably do some push-ups right now. 

3. Eyes.  The hubby inspects the outside, then watches how my pupils dilate, does the "H" pattern thing, and then tries to make me go cross-eyed (which doctors apparently call convergence), something that I literally cannot do.  (We googled what it may mean if someone's eyes don't converge.  Theories are all related to head injuries, which I've never had.  Unless my mother dropped me as a baby and never told me...Mom??).    

3a.  This is my least favorite part.  Hubby uses his ophthalmoscope, darkens the room, and blinds me.  It is terrible.  My eyes literally begin to water just thinking about it.  (Please note that I have been to the eye doctor once in my life - many, many years ago).  But I think my tolerance for being blinded by the light has finally began to increase - the hubby finally saw my optic disk!  (This was a Very Big Deal to the hubby).  For the remainder of the exam, I sit in a slight daze, watching the florescent, mystical, magical shapes floating in front of my eyes...

4. Right - where were we? Ears.  Hubby just looks at the outside and inside of my ears.  He tells me I have very clean ears.  Just fyi.

5. Nose. Basically the same thing as the ears.  (It's a little gross that the hubby sees my boogies all lit up, but oh well.  Whatever it takes to help him learn). This is also when he checks my sinuses.

6. Mouth. Open wide and say "Ahhh!"  Also, he looks at my tongue, lips, gingiva (which is a very fun word), etc. 

7. Lymph nodes.  Lots of palpating (definition: to touch or feel) of random places on head and neck.  I had a swollen one a couple days ago, but no worries - my daily physical exams have shown that it has gone away.  

8. Thyroid.  I never have enough saliva to swallow every time.  Basically, the hubby palpates my neck - I mean, my thyroid - while I swallow.

7. Posterior Thorax and Back.  More palpating.  "Is this tender?  How about this?  Here?"  Followed be a few minutes of percussion (definition: to strike.  He does it nicely, don't worry).  I just pretend I'm getting a back massage. Hubby did inform me of a moderate curvature in my spine.  Interesting. 

That's only 3.5 of the 8 pages total that lay out the "Guide to the Core Physical Exam," so this is definitely to be continued! 

I don't know what the hubby has learned, but here is the summary of the things that I have learned from my daily/twice-daily physical exams:
  • I have child-sized arms (I may have known this, but not accepted it).
  • My eyes are ridiculously sensitive to bright lights being shone directly into them, and I will cry off all eye makeup before my right eye exam is complete. 
  • Sometime my lymph nodes randomly swell, but subside within a few days without me ever becoming sick.  
  • I think I have a shortage of saliva. 
  • At some point in time, I suffered a head injury (which I can't recall) that affects the ability of my eyes to converge.  
  • There is a more-than-slight curvature in my spine.  Hubby took a video of it with his phone, tracing the outline of my spine.  It's actually pretty sweet.  Except the whole fact that it's my spine, curving. 
That's only 3.5 of the 8 pages total that lay out the "Guide to the Core Physical Exam," so this is definitely to be continued! 

Spoiler alert: any posting that takes place tomorrow will likely be griping about the weather.  You've been warned.

1 comment:

  1. Oh man - they do NOT know how much that light in the eyes hurts!

    At least your husband isn't DO... mine came home last night and tried moving my ribs around! Not natural, I'm telling you.

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