Thursday, September 11, 2008

Psychoses...mine and others

Well it's been a helluva week so far. I've been kicking like a duck staying above water. We have an exam on Monday over just about every neuropathology known to man and I feel swamped (obviously not swamped enough to stay off of blogger...). This has been a week I've been dreading since school began. Why? Because it was my turn to face the music and interview my very own crazy person.

We are all split into psychiatry groups of about 8 people with two facilitators. The super fun part is interviewing a real, live psych patient that answered an ad in the paper in front of the whole lot of them. All this with no real training in how to interview psych patients, just information on whatever disease they are supposed to be suffering from. I chose the chronic pain interview because I felt that there was at least a likely somatic (bodily) diagnosis that I could interview them about when I started to get squeamish about all those suicidality questions. Boy was I wrong.

Don't get me wrong, I feel grateful that this person was able to share their time with me and I really did learn something about interviewing psych patients, but not from the experience of actually interviewing. I spent about a half an hour talking with this person, who was obviously here to lecture us about pain treatment, and how their pain was misdiagnosed for too long in a clinical situation. Mostly they talked about the actual feeling of pain and the procedures they were undergoing to correct said pain. I managed to direct some of the interview to psychiatric issues, although it was tough to get a word in edgewise, and it proved to be enough to give our facilitators all the information they needed to launch a frontal attack on the psychiatric front. When it was opened up to group questions, they came fast and furious, asking about everything from depression to self-mutilation to suicide, and getting answers none of us expected. I'm sure the 20+ years of practice they each have led them to know what to ask, but I was pretty impressed. While all of us spent our time trying to get to the root of their physical diagnoses, the mental picture was as clear to them and it was unclear to us. It gave me a whole new appreciation for two things: 1)their obvious ability to read between the lines, and 2)my own (apparent) sanity. They were mad as a hatter...yikes.

Obviously I must be the luckiest person on the planet to get stuck with that interview. I think I'll probably go buy a lottery ticket just in case.

Oh well, it is fall, the weather is perfect for running with the big guy (and tiny little runs with the little guy, if only I had a video camera...) who is too hairy to really enjoy running in the summer, and...wait for it.....we're going to the Great American Beer Festival!!!!

I know what a lot of you are thinking,'ve been to the Beer fest before, what's so big about this deal? Well, for starters, it just happens to fall on the day of my neuro final. Awesome. It's on the beginning of that one special weekend that only comes about every ten weeks or so...the weekend when there is nothing to study, even if you want to (well, this isn't entirely true, refer to the post about the big bad boards...but there will be no studying that weekend, for the record). For school and many other reasons, I didn't think I'd be able to go to the beer fest this year, but fortune smiled. That lottery ticket is looking better all the time! Best part is, lots of great friends are going with me. Sure makes the rest of neuro look a lot more doable...even with the crazies.

**Disclaimer: according to our psych professors, there is such a thing as a crazy patient, I'm not just being a crass jerk; at least not too much so.