Tempus Fugit

Time Flies…

   Oct 12

The Fabric Softener-Pig’s Trotter Juxtaposition

If I could think of two things that should really never appear in the same discussion, let alone the same sentence it’s “pig’s trotter” and “fabric softener”. They just don’t seem to have anything remotely connected between them…..wrong!.

Fabric softener (bless it’s [soft] cotton socks) appears to work its softening magic on far more than fabrics….pig skin in fact.

Soaking pig’s trotters in fabric softener overnight not only provides the trotter with an apple-fresh fragrance but it also renders the skin to a similar consistency as that of human skin.

Starting to sound too bizzare to handle? Okay it’s nothing tooo barbaric or sick or twisted and does not have any Silence of the Lambs connotations. Softened pig’s trotters are a useful training aid for learning procedures such as injections and suturing.

Which brings me to today. Rural Rotation Orientation.

For some reason I was awake ALL last night. I drove up the hill around 10pm and arrived up here to a pile of mail. Thinking after working all day I would sleep….not a chance. Awake all bloody night….doing not much. Made it to daylight and attended day 1 of the rural rotation orientation program.

Ten minutes in and I could tell this was going to be a longgggggg day. I resorted to writing letters to people in exotic places (okay well just one person….Juanita, in Norway). Even that didn’t manage to ease the boredem of a powerpoint presentation that consisted mainly of Chart Junk. Slide after fecking slide of data that showed that health in rural areas is shit and we should do something about it. Tell me something new.

About the most interesting (and useless) fact that I learnt from the whole bloody morning was that around 60% of the world’s supply of atropine/hysoscine etc comes from dubosia plantations in the North-Burnett region of Queensland.

This afternoon was no more interesting. First cab off the rank was jabbing pig’s trotters (I got bored and attempted to transform the cornucopia* (that’s such a funky word) of hypodermic implements and the trotter into an installation of art).

To arouse our flaccid enthusiasm, the next activity involved sticking catheters into fake penises and vaginas**.

Comparing this experience to the real thing….they’re nothing alike. Gripping latex penises (which seem to be perpetually stiff) are not nearly as hard as trying to grasp an iodine coated wrinkly floppy schlong and hold it pointing towards the ceiling, squirting lignocaine/chlorhexidine gel into it and then attempting to slide a catheter down without the slimy slippery little sucker (c.f. Julia Roberts and the Pretty Woman oyster scene) getting away from you. Of course we should not forget to mention the poor patient who is probably feeling less than inspired at having a novice med student fiddling with his bits.

Continuing in the contrived and unrealistic vein of the afternoon, we then spent two hours of cannulation and venepuncture (lordy the puns are flowing thick and fast today). Again it’s nothing like the real thing. Trying to cannulate latex veins which sit firmly under latex skin and are filled with red coloured fake blood is nothing like trying to coax a cannula into a rubbery, sclerosed, less than jovial vein of a real-life human being. Latex arms don’t yelp and squirm. Latex arms don’t get whopping big haematomas when you manage to blow a vein. They should have let us practise on each other. A nice iatrogenic systemic septicaemia would have spiced up the afternoon.

I should stop being so cynical about my medical training.

We have four more days of orientation.


*Cornucopia fig. An overflowing stock or store.

** Note: (for correctness) it is the urethrae of both males and females that is being catherised. catheterisation of the ‘vagina’ is not strictly correct. For details, refer to HERE

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  1. Emma says:

    Jerome…if you were sticking the catheter in the vagina, then I keenly hope I never have acute urinary retention under your care.

  2. Abby Normale says:

    Jer, You are hilarious. I would thoroughly recommend you compile all of your blogs from your medical school training into a book one of these days. It would be SCRUBS meets Bridget Jones’ diary I think and is a guaranteed best seller. The movie rights would be sold in a second. What a shame that you will graduate one day soon and deprive us all of these cynical med student observations!!!!!

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