05 April 2009

Worse Than It Looks On TV?

So my brother and I went back to our parents' this weekend and had some blood drawn as part of our annual medical check-up. The procedure itself was almost painless and took less than a minute. We were free to go eat some breakfast, much welcomed after the recommended 12-hour fasting period.

(Actually I think the fasting period itself was much more distressing to me than getting blood drawn. I need snacks, dammit.)

Having been around needles, syringes and other "sharps" in the hospital during my clinical rotations, I'm thankfully no longer apprehensive around them, whereas before I decided upon entering the healthcare field, I was as nervous as anyone else when it came to getting shots. More importantly, I'm also reporting success at being able to observe the occasional serious trauma case as well -- although sometimes my stomach isn't as iron-clad as I would like it to be.

In an attempt to remedy this, I've taken to watching Discovery Health. While the channel has some pretty interesting scripted shows (like Mystery Diagnosis), lifestyle/diet makeovers, and assorted specials about 200-pound tumors, autistic savants, morbid obesity and other unique medical and health conditions, I try to watch programs like Trauma: Life In The E.R. (which covers events as they actually happen) to get the full effect of what I could expect to find in the Emergency Department at a Level 1 trauma center. I mean, they show damn near everything on that show -- from impalements and car accidents to gunshot wounds and animal attacks.

So I'm usually good at taking a purely clinical perspective and watching all the blood, bone and guts. As my brother says, "Think of the body as a machine." Fine and good. I've only had to turn away a handful of times, mostly during segments where they show eye injuries. I don't know what it is, but I'm extremely uncomfortable when eyes (or anywhere around the eye areas, really) are subject to laceration or some other trauma. I sense my stomach turning into quivering jelly and have to look away from the screen for a couple of seconds ... yeah I know, weak sauce!

But isn't it natural to find this stuff disturbing in the first place? I mean, your eyeball is falling out of your head, bro.

If the doctors and nurses doing the actual work on the show can stay cool and collected, I figure I can too. Hell, I'm only watching them on TV! At any rate, I'm improving. The more time I spend in the hospital, the better I'll get at developing that calm, clinical view. And I guess I better keep my eyes on Discovery Health so I'll be ready when the real thing happens.

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