* * Anonymous Doc

Thursday, September 10, 2009

First day in outpatient is certainly a change from the night shift. Normal hours! Different problems! A patient came in, and it turned out she needed a pelvic exam. I've done one of these before, in med school, during my OB/GYN rotation, on a fake patient who they hire to let the med students practice (what a terrible job, no matter how well they pay). There's a safety net when it's a fake patient-- she's done it before, she knows what to expect, she knows we don't know what we're doing, and she's trained to guide our hands and tell us what we're touching and make it all a little bit removed from reality (again, what a terrible, terrible, terrible job, no matter how well they pay).

But when it's a real patient-- and especially a real patient who may in fact have some sort of issue down there-- it's a very different situation. The saving grace was that the woman said she had never had one of these before-- hence, she had no idea what to expect. Otherwise, if she actually had a point of comparison, I feel like she would have gotten up and left, or at least demanded a different doctor. I mean, surely she had some sense of what was happening, since my resident was standing over me trying to instruct: "I think you need to go deeper" ; "You're not quite all the way in" ; "Yes, that's what it's supposed to feel like." The resident did the exam after I did, just to double-check -- fortunately no real issues going on for the patient -- but, gosh, I'm really glad that I never have to be on the patient end of this, and I'm hoping that whatever practice I end up having as a real doctor, I don't have to do these very often.

I don't know how people go into gynecology or urology, and have to do this stuff all day, every day. Dealing with a patient's private parts in a clinical setting is really not appealing. It's weird to write this or think this, but it's like, I don't know, it takes some of the mystery away, it makes it all seem a little less magical, a little less special. And that's even putting aside the possibility of dealing with actual infection (or infestation, or wound, or other such problem) down there. It's just not something I want to spend a lot of my workday doing.


  1. Hey! The good news is, you're internal and not family, let alone ob/gyn. Leave the ugly, the rotten and the infected to the gynecologists!

    I'm not even sure how you're still able to say "special" and "magical" as an intern, because I'm pretty sure those words faded from my vocabulary by about halfway through third year...Perhaps you're just a better intern than I.

  2. Does this mean you might enjoy this rotation? Dare we to hope?