Yesterday was a very busy day.
Between my actual work, some fantastic reading, and the studying that I didn’t do, I just didn’t take the extra moments to write anything.
I always want to write about the types of exams that I do, and the patients that I meet. I meet such neat people. Yesterday, I had to scan the liver of a patient that came with her husband. Her husband kept looking at me like he might know me. Finally he said, “I think you did my ultrasound in February.” I always feel guilty when I don’t remember a patient, but they seem to understand that while they’ve only had one Ultrasound in the last year, I’ve done a couple hundred patients. I told him that he looked familiar to me, and he just laughed. He said, “You probably didn’t get a really good look at my face.” I asked him what kind of exam I did on him, and when he turned red a little red in the face, I immediately knew.
Let me explain something about ultrasound. It really isn’t all babies and happy mommies. Especially when you work in the hospital. We do exams of a diagnostic nature, in order to rule out or prove diseases. These exams include gallbladder, renal, thyroid, gynecological, vascular exams, and quite a few more. The exam that this gentleman had performed on him was actually a “Testicular” ultrasound. We use ultrasound to determine whether or not there are tumors or masses in the testicles, as well as whether or not they might be “torsed”. A torsion occurs when the testicle rotates on its own axis and cuts off the blood flow. From the point of torsion, you have approximately 4 hours to get to surgery and un-twist the troubled testicle, or it will be lost and have to be removed.
The gentleman with his was was embarassed because that was the exam that I had perfomed on him that day. He mentioned that it wasn’t as horrible as he had expected it to be, and that I made him feel very comfortable. I took that as a compliment, but mostly that’s just my job. His wife laughed, and I immediately felt very uncomfortable. Oops.
KatyWyner said this:
As for the ultrasound-I have a question. I’ve only had one. It was when
I was convinced that I had a cyst at age 20. They never found anything,
but they pushed that wand thing into my stomach so hard, it left a
bruise. Is that needed? I was really suprised at how much it actually
hurt. They just shoved it with gusto into my stomach. I guess it’s so
that they can get a clearer picture-but does that always happen? In the
movies they just seem to be rubbing it around and so I was actually
quite shocked and I involuntarily shrunk away from it. The nurse was
naturally irritated that I moved away from her work and she hissed:
“hold still!”. Is this normal? And if it is, why do they have to make
it hurt-can’t it be made to be less painful?
I’m going to give a bit of a physiology lesson. When the female body is functioning normally, a cyst is created every single month, on one side or the other. It is known as a dominant follicle, or Graafian follicle. This is the “cyst” that holds the egg that will be released during ovulation. A normal cyst will be anywhere between one and ten centimeters. I don’t know if you can imagine how big a 10 centimeter cyst is, but it can appear massive. This cyst ruptures during ovulation, and some women experience pain from that process, which is known as “Mittleschmirtz.” That is a strange name for uni-lateral (or one sided) mid-cycle pelvic pain. The only time a cyst is considered medically significant is when it grows larger than 10cm, causes pain, or fails to resolve without any intervention. So a cyst isn’t really a BIG deal, but it can be…it shouldn’t cause you any pain, but it can. However, if you have a tech that is treating you that way, I would say complain. If someone is in pain, and something that I am doing is causing them more pain, my first reaction is to stop. Then I will ask them if there is any way for me to get them some pain medication. Yes, we must use some degree of pressure to get clear images. I will usually say something like, “I’m sorry, honey, I know I’m pressing down on you fairly hard. If it is too much to handle, just let me know.” That is always exacerbated by the fact that you have to have a full bladder for the exam. Not a lot of fun, and it shouldn’t be painful… but it can be. I’m sorry you were treated that way.
Come see me next time. >.O (That is a winky face.)