We spent the morning playing with opthalmoscopes and otoscopes and working on the Eyes and Ears portions of our physical exams. First you inspect the eyes and eyebrows for symmetry, lack of bumps, lumps, swelling, lesions, nodules, conjunctivitis etc. etc., then you have the patient follow your finger while you lead them through a series of movements to check their extra-occular muscles, then their pupils’ ability to constrict, etc. etc., and then, finally, you whip out your handy-dandy opthalmoscope and examine their retinas (and maculas, and foveas, and optic discs), which is not quite as straightforward as it sounds. I was lucky to get a red reflex most of the time, and in a few rare attempts I was able to see the blood vessels in the back of my partner’s eye, but I won’t be differentiating between diabetic retinopathy and deep retinal hemorrhages any time soon. The ear exam was much easier, and the tympanic membrane of my partner was very easy to find: pearly grey, translucent, with a shiny cone of light in the four O’clock position, no bulging, redness, exudate or perforations noted. In other words, a fabulously cool and perfectly normal tympanic membrane! And wheeeee, I spent the morning looking at retinas and tympanic membranes! How cool is that??
The afternoon was devoted to Primary Care, which is a neat class for no other reason than you get to listen to your professors relate all kinds of hilarious stories about the unexpected answers given by patients to very simple (but ambiguous) questions. For example, never start off an interview with the question “why are you here?” because the answer you get might very well be: “because I had an appointment.” Today’s lesson focused on screening tools, which involved going over the midwifery management process (again), and history taking (again), but hey, I’m not going to complain. I’m sure it’s a very good thing to have this stuff drilled into us again and again. And again.
This evening, I attended the ACNM Region II Chapter 1 meeting, which is only the second ACNM meeting I’ve ever attended before. As a student, I didn’t have a vote, and very little to add to the proceedings (although I did pipe up at one point and add a comment, to which I am somewhat proud of myself), but it was neat to watch, nonetheless. The important issue on the table was funding for a new PR committee designed to handle midwifery responses to political issues as they arise (such as the EC Bill debacle), as well as more vocally and professionally promoting midwifery. There was also a report from NYSALM regarding the lobbying work they’re doing on various bills in the NY State Assembly, all aimed expanding midwives’ practice, rights or reimbursement in some way. Overall, I thought the meeting went very well, and was run pretty smoothly and efficiently (as efficient as can be expected, I guess, with 50 or so vocal, opinionated midwives in the same room). I liked all of the moving and seconding, just like in a real board meeting, and I felt energized and excited and eager to help out.
That lasted until I got home, and looked at the pile of school books on my desk. Getting more actively involved in the Chapter is probably going to have to wait until I’m no longer a student. But again, it’s neat to get a glimpse of what the future may hold for me, and it’s always neat to see so many midwives in one place at one time.