Day 115 - Lab Fashion (17/01/2018)

Finished the CBL case - our patient had Brown-Sequard syndrome, a hemisection spinal injury with sensory loss on one side of the body and motor loss on the other. We struggled to the end of this one, and had to work quickly to finish on time. There was a lot of sociology-type stuff to consider this time too, such as long-term management, occupational therapy and PTSD etc. - the patient had been involved in a car crash and had lost the use of one leg.

With it only being a half day, there was an optional lab session in the afternoon, focusing on reflexes and electrical activity within muscles - measured via electromyography. Essentially we attached electrodes over various muscles (biceps, triceps, quadriceps and hamstring) and tensed and relaxed them, watching the readings rise and fall on a computer display with different actions.

We were all wearing tight jeans, however, which made accessing the upper leg quite difficult. What this practically meant is that one of us would have to remove said jeans to expose the flesh so the electrodes could be applied. Having little modesty to speak of, I volunteered and fashioned a makeshift tunic out of a labcoat handily provided by the Block 3 lead. I say tunic, it actually ended up looking much more like a giant nappy when I was sat down, but we do what we must in the name of science. Got some good readings, and were taught a new hand reflex - by pressing down hard medially and superiorly to the bony prominence at the lower-inside of your hand you can cause the small muscles at the edge of it to jump upwards and wrinkle the skin. It feels very odd and looks disgusting, but interesting nonetheless.


Student seminar in the evening with two new teachers (including my medic Dad). Due to a couple of last-minute changes of plan, there was only myself and one other person there, but the content was taught very well. We went over the ascending spinal tracts as well as the pharmacology of pain relief, including different analgesics and gate control theory. The crucial parts for me were drawing out complicated pathways one step at a time and building them up from scratch, as well as short, funny little ways of remembering things. It makes all the difference.