Rinne, Highmore and Kiesselbach

(This was written 5 days ago, in a lecture I had no intention of paying attention to)

It’s amazing how some lectures inspire me to write anything but its related notes.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I completed my ENT cycle, and you would think that I’ve moved on. No, I wouldn’t be me if I move on sooner than 6 months. Besides, I promised myself that I’d write (read: bitch) about this subject, and by golly I will.

ENT as a subject by itself isn’t so bad. It’s when it is a subject in my University that things go downhill. Other departments start classes at 9 in the morning, this one starts it at 8.30, sharp. When you live on little sleep and it takes almost an hour to get to the hospital, that half an hour matters. Not a single professor is understanding (i.e. lenient, a slacker..not anal). All of them were in school during World War II, not all of them are fully present now, if you get what I mean.

The two things that bothered me the most were the dress code and the exams. It’s compulsory for us to dress in office wear. Sure, I have shirts and blouses and junk like that, but those things require ironing and using starch and whatnot, effectively killing about 15 minutes of sleep time. I’m more of a roll-out-of-bed-and-pull-on-a-hoodie-and-remember-to-wear-jeans sort of person. You can see how this was going to cramp my style, or the lack thereof.

Then there’s the exam. That bugger was going to be at the end of the cycle. Two miserable weeks to learn EVERYTHING there is to know about the ear, nose and throat. Okay, I’m going a little too far; two God-forsaken weeks to learn ALMOST everything there is to know about the ear, nose and throat.

I’m sure I would have been able to take things in stride if I had not seen my roommate during her ENT cycle last year. She wasn’t my roommate during that period of time; she was a zombie who went for class, came home, studied, had a meal, and slept for about 4 to 5 hours daily. These activities were not necessarily done in that order. Needless to say, watching her made me scared. Shitless.

Truth be told, the two weeks went by fast. I spent every single day being petrified. The only problem was, all that fear didn’t even come close to making me study as hard as I should have. I pretty much just listened to lectures and my professor (who drilled it into our heads that we were going to fail with the horse poop knowledge we had).

The day of the exam was a killer. The exam was divided in two parts: practical skills and theoretical knowledge.

I was fearing the worst because THEORETICALLY, I knew how to examine a patient, but my partner, Anna has a super sensitive gag reflex ( I see the possible humour. Don’t.) and it was virtually impossible for me to perform a posterior rhinoscopy and pharyngoscopy. I knew what I was supposed to see, I’d just never actually seen it before. Thankfully, the patient given to me was easy to deal with and the techniques I had to demonstrate had nothing to do with reflexes of any kind. I survived Part One.

Part Two was my next hurdle, because I knew practically nothing. At least, it felt that way at the time. In Russia, most departments have a list of exam questions prepared for the students. This list is usually up on a notice board, or students are given a copy of these questions. It’s a little hard to explain, but the summary is if a student has managed to find the answers for all the questions on the list, they’ve pretty much studied everything.

The ENT department gave us a list of 95 questions at the beginning of the cycle. Out of these 95 questions, only two will be asked along with a case question.Each student gets a different set of questions. Naturally, being me, I only prepared exactly four answers. FOUR. Out of ninety-five.

Obviously, the odds were against me. I don’t know how it happened, but thankfully my first question was one of the four that I had prepared, my second question was about rhinogenic meningitis (which was the question that I specifically declared wouldn’t be asked because the occurence was so rare) and my case was about a nosebleed. I didn’t choke and die while answering my questions. Okay, I choked a little, because answering in Russian will probably never stop being scary to me.

Of course, now I look back and think that it wasn’t so bad. Clearly, I don’t remember all the details anymore.

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