Sunday, August 18, 2013

X-rays Maddeningly Everywhere

The Year Level 5: ICC Year blog posts - stories and anecdotes, patient encounters and hospital drama, and the many colors of UP med school from the perspective of a third year. Here's the fourth entry, under our two-week rotation with the Department of Radiology.

At some point, you start to feel suffocated. The Department of Radiology is essentially a fortress within the hospital. It's built with thick walls to keep all the radiation in. There are safe zones, of course - lots of it; else, we'd be mutants by now (but if it's of the X-Men kind, or if I get telekinesis, I'd probably welcome it, but then you need the gene, so forget it). But the walls. And the blocks. And more walls.

Most of our time is spent in the dark.

There are plates every which way you turn! On the walls, the tables, the shelves, in boxes, lounge counters, the firm clutches of nervous patients. At some point, everything starts to look the same. An opacity on the lung gets multiplied a thousand times and transported to all succeeding Powerpoint slides. Your weary eyes lose the capacity to tell the difference, the ability to summon images where there can be none.

We check out "For-student-use" radiographs. Right photo: Cicatricial tuberculosis. The whites, especially in the upper lung field, represent scarring.

You realize radiology is, after all, the art of imagination. Look at that greyish shadow over there, right above the super faint outline of an intestine! Or, check out that fracture, and how small it is, you can barely see it! The only upside to this rotation that I can think of is the ubiquity of free time; it's starting to feel like a quasi-vacation.

We discuss radiographs!

P.S. I watched Alfonso Cuaron's "Children of Men" two nights ago. Loved it. Now I have the perfect excuse to drop the surprisingly dull book - third time I'd be committing this crime.

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