Today was another dress-up day for us because we went to the EKG lab over at the CCF hospital. They divided us into our PBL groups, and we rotated through four stations. In a couple of them, we were watching the surgeons perform procedures like implanting a pacemaker and ablating (destroying) an overactive piece of heart tissue. Those stations were really neat. A third station was for us to learn how to read EKGs. The doctor who was going through the EKGs with us didn't realize how little we knew, and so a lot of the exercise was over our heads, unfortunately. But we took copies of the EKGs with us, and after I'm done with this week's reading, I want to work on them some more. The last station was for us to learn how to place the electrodes on a person to take an EKG. A couple of the people in my group put electrodes on a nurse who had volunteered to be the "patient." We were the last group to visit this station, and the poor guy had red marks all over his chest from where our classmates who were there earlier had been sticking electrodes on him. At least his chest wasn't very hairy. If it were, they'd have had to shave him, because otherwise the electrodes wouldn't stick to his skin well, and getting them off again would be a major pain. Literally.
We continued on with our EKG PBL case today. It's still hard for us to get through all of the objectives in an hour, so we are going to do the last two on Friday. Mine in particular was very long because I was going over how to read EKGs. I didn't discuss placing the electrodes or how the leads are oriented at all because there just wasn't time. I'm going to cover that on Friday now.
At lunchtime, I went to another talk about providing medical care for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people (GLBT). The speaker was a physician from Case who is active in the Cleveland community in this area, and he spoke to us about some of the special considerations for GLBT patients. I think that most people probably know that certain diseases like AIDS tend to be more prevalent in the GLBT community, but I didn't realize that certain other diseases like cancer are also more common in gays and lesbians. Part of that may be due to the fact that lesbians in particular tend to have higher rates of obesity versus straight women, and both gays and lesbians tend to smoke more than heterosexuals do. I also didn't know that human papilloma virus, which is the virus that causes cervical cancer in women, can also cause anal carcinoma (cancer) in men who are the recipients during anal sex. GLTB patients also tend to not visit doctors as often as the general population does, possibly at least in part because of their experiences with homophobia among physicians. It was a very interesting talk all in all.
In the afternoon, I went to the gym, and then I went to see Dr. Drake in the anatomy lab. He is going to be giving a review session tomorrow about the nervous system, but I won't be in tomorrow. So I went to talk to him about it today, and he was very helpful. Dr. Drake is basically here because of CCLCM, and he really goes out of his way to help us. I think we were very lucky to get him to come here to run our program.