Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Knot Tying

Today was a short day, with only 2 one hour workshops on our schedule. I was in the 8-10 group, and throughout the morning heard (over and over again) that I looked like I'd just rolled out of bed. The truth wasn't that far off, as I'd actually spent more time in my car getting to class then I had been awake in my own apartment...

My first hour was spent learning how to tie knots. It seems that the medical community has a habit of taking a fairly easy, straight-forward concept and making it ten times more difficult then it should be. I remember having to practice getting my shoelaces in the right place at the right time, and this had the same sort of feel to it. I'm pretty good at being able to watch someone demonstrate it once and then fumble through it on my own, but today my hands and eyes weren't coordinated and I did much better if I had a flow instead of having to stop and work out each step. (here is a picture/video clip of what we were doing; they show the basic square knot but then go on to add all sorts of twisting and wrist flips!) I'm glad have plenty of time to practice before I'm out on the wards.

The second hour was used to teach us how to suture. I had visions of sewing apples or bananas up, but we used "life-like" arms (as life-like as plastic skin with lots tiny little holes from other people's "practice" and bright red foam that would "bleed" (or simply fell apart, as the case may be).) I grew up using a needle and thread, but this was unlike any other sewing I've ever done. The needle is curved, much like a sliver of the moon is, and it was hard for me to manage getting it through and back out at the right spots. After many practice rounds I feel okay with the technique, but worry that I'm going to leave people with crazily shaped scars. I hope they have plenty of long-lasting anesthetic on board too, as it might take me a looong time to get to the end of the wound.... (in the hour long lab I managed 6 stitches without mistakes!)

Today was a glimpse into what the doctor's on TV do, and what people expect that I've already learned how to do. Most think med school teaches you had how to use the fun tools, and how to interview patients without realizing that the majority of my time thus far has been spent in the classroom learning about various disease processes. All of it is important, but things like knot tying and suturing are MUCH more fun.

(knitting: I started and finished another chemo cap yesterday and got another "liner" hat done for the Dulaan project. I skipped out of the last few hours of lecture yesterday to come home and sleep, and the rest of my evening was spent in a post-test daze. Today I hope to work on my striped sweater and need to get some laundry done. (otherwise I'll either being wearing scrub pants or a toga made out of clean sheets tomorrow, and neither is a great way to meet people at the Harlot's shindig...)


Anonymous Bridget said...

I'm confident that if you can learn to knit, you can learn to suture! It must count as practice!

If you don't get your sock yarn in a week, don't panic. My orders from them have taken up to a month.

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm SO glad you posted the suturing videos. Really! Our PA is class is having final exams this week before we start our rotations, and this is one of the skills that will be on the practical.

I sent the link to my classmates, but wouldn't admit I found it on a knitting blog.

K, the PA student who knits

2:10 PM  
Anonymous Laurie said...

It's like any other skill. Teaching the muscles and neural pathways to do it is slow, tedious, especially when you are feeling production pressure. Then you wonder why it was ever an issue. I had the guys teach me a arthroscopic tie, that you push down the scope, and tighten it after it's out of reach
You should see me reading knitting charts at the speed of snails.

8:11 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

You will get it. I thought the same thing about knot tying, and then I had to teach the students one day and I had to go hide in the corner and figure out exactly what I was doing so I could come and show them. It becomes second nature. And the suturing will be the same way. Get some rest.

8:48 PM  

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