Tuesday, May 08, 2007

So Fun It Should Be Illegal

Reflex Hammers from Steeles
Yesterday we learned how some basic neurological physical exam skills, and we finally got to play with NEW TOYS (read: tuning forks, reflex hammer). Imagine eight medical students sitting in a classroom banging away at each other with tuning forks and "queen's square" reflex hammers (which, in one of those cruel mysteries of life...are actually circular rubber disks on a stick) or "tomahawk" reflex hammers.
My favorite neurological maneuver is the good old fashioned patellar reflex. Just bang the tendon below the bony patella and PRESTO! Your leg shoots up like it's been possessed. For some reason, this trick never gets old. In a manifesto on humor, the philosopher Henri Bergson mentioned how one type of humor, exemplified by the Jack-in-the-Box, amuses us as children because it pops out at you unexpectedly. It's paradoxical because you fully expect it, even relish it, but when it actually happens --- you are no less surprised and delighted. Every time I see a leg shooting up in the air due to the patellar reflex, I giggle with the maturity of a toddler playing with a jack-in-the-box toy.
Also, today in small group, we learned about the mental status exam (MSE). One of the criteria is arousal/alertness, another one is speech patterns, thought processes, etc.
At one point, in order to comment on a recent patient presentation, one of my classmates started off the discussion by saying: "She seemed pretty aroused."
You don't have to tell me...I have the maturity of a 5-year-old.

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