Wednesday, June 26, 2019

--- Opportunistic learning ---

I'll never suggest vivisection or dissection on this site.

I'm one of those respect-for-life people.

I'm a predator, so I have no problem with sustenance hunting but I don't like trophy hunting. I don't think that animals should be used in medical research, much less product research. I don't think studies should be used where anyone is placed in danger - human or non-human. I am all for no-kill animal shelters and animal rescue facilities. Ethics committees should be aggravating organizations.

So, how might you learn about anatomy and physiology?

Well, there are YouTube videos of just about any surgical procedure you might want to see. But this blog is about opportunistic learning.

Nobody likes invasive medical procedures so people should take advantage of them as learning opportunities.

Doctors, more and more, are including educational debriefings after substantial therapies.

I've had three clinical procedures since I've been in Colorado. The first was my cataract surgeries. The staff was very personable and explained every step of the operations. I was conscious though sedated through the whole thing and the surgeries were not only pleasant but interesting. I am so glad that I waited until after they were over before I watched a cataract removal on YouTube!

My second medical adventure was a trip to the Porter Hospital Emergency Department after developing bronchitis and a profound fatigue. Again, the staff was personable and informative. They explained everything they were doing as they swirled around me in a kind of medical tornado. Afterward, they gave me a full, printed report of their results.

A report of a physical examination with blood work can tell you a lot about your physiology and most doctors are willing to provide a printout. Researching each test result can tell you all kinds of stuff about what's going on inside you.

I've just had my second screening colonoscopy. People are advised to have colonoscopies every ten years after the age of 50 - it's easy to treat colon cancer if caught early and it can be prevented if intestinal polyps are caught and removed as soon as they appear.

I've had three colonoscopies. The first was diagnostic and, at that time, they did not anesthetize people. The preparation was very uncomfortable and they couldn't get the endoscope past the upper left of my large intestine. I felt exactly where they stopped. So they sent me for a lower GI X-ray with a barium enema. I was awake through that also and, as unpleasant as it was, I did get to watch the monitor as they pumped mud into me. Barium mud.....that's the same stuff they pump into oil wells to keep pressure in the well. Not only are barium compounds heavy but they block X-rays well.

The second colonoscopy was when I turned 50. The prep was a little less griping but the gallon of slimy, tasteless polyethylene glycol was sickening and produced plenty of griping. But they, at least put me to sleep for the procedure. I missed the briefing afterward. The anesthetic they used caused me to dissociate. I sat through the talk, asked questions, listened to the answers, and the first thing I remember after the procedure was walking out to my friend's truck to go home.

This time, they have taken the magnesium citrate out of the clean-out-your-gut drink so there was no griping and I got to flavor it with Gatorade so the prep was actually okay. Rocky Mountain Gastroenterology in Littleton treated me like a king at the clinic and when they put me out, I was flat out. I also got to talk to the doctor afterward and they gave me informative photos of the inside of my large intestine.....all the way to the end, including the polyp they removed meaning that my 10 years to the next colonoscopy has shrunk to 5 years. If the next one is as agreeable as this problem.

If you don't already, you can learn a lot about your inner workings by requesting medical reports from your regular physicians and encouraging specialists to share information with you after procedures...ask questions and show appreciation for good work

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