Currently listening to: Bicycle Song - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Last year physiology was one of my least favourite subjects, mainly cause it focused a lot on neuroscience, the brain, sleep, etc...all of which I despise. Coupled with my chronic procrastination habit, I didn't do that well in it. This year however is totally different. Biomedical Physiology II is only about the heart and lungs and as such the practicals are much more interesting. Last year we were fiddling about with bits of rat intestine, but today we actually got to do something halfway interesting with real people. It felt vaguely what I imagine med school to be like, putting science into practice, as it were.
The practical was all about circulation and blood pressure. So we started off by taking several pulses in different areas, the basic ones i.e. radial (wrist), brachial (upper arm), carotid (neck), but also other ones which I'd heard of, but never actually taken, e.g. popliteal (behind the knee, very hard to find) and the femoral pulse which can be palpated in the groin area. It was quite amusing to see a lab full of students with their hands down their trousers/skirts fumbling around, trying to feel for a pulse in their groins!
We also got to use a lot of cool equipment. Med students might look at me with pity as I describe a stethoscope as "cool equipment", but, well, I've never used one before, and it felt pretty damn good doing a practical that didn't revolve around microscopes or petri dishes. We also used sphygmomanometers to take blood pressure the old school way and pressure transducers. Finding the brachial pulse with a stethoscope is much harder than it looks!
It was a very good practical, probably because I found the theory behind it interesting. The write up is about the scientific concepts behind circulation, blood pressure, etc and probably won't be that fun, but I'll save it for the weekend, I guess my friends and I will muddle our ways through it, I think the explanations needed will be pretty straight-forward. I got in the sixties for all my physiology courseworks last year, this year I'm aiming for all seventies (i.e. firsts). If I should be so lucky?
Next practical is in two weeks, about ECGs, which sounds very good. If clinical medicine is anything like this, I can't wait!