I would like to be writing posts about what we did last week with my sister and niece here, not to mention the spring celebrations of the weekend, but the computer that has my photos on it is beyond my reach this week as Dan prepares for another conference. So! Thank goodness for my sister and her i-phone and the photos she emailed me that I have to share of an experience we had while they were here! We'll see how my old computer does with crafting this post.
(But Debbie, couldn't you just...I don't know...write a post? You know, with words? Hmmmm. It's a thought. But I'm a little addicted to the visual aids and will claim an April-ish mush brain and, well, leave it at that.)
The College of Osteopathic Medicine at the University here has pediatric clinical labs for their medical students - which of course means they need children to "practice" on. We have a couple of friends who are standardized patients (they used to be called "simulated" patients, but as the head nurse in charge of our participation pointed out, they are actually real, not simulated), which means they have a job as pretend patients who come into their weekly lab presenting with symptoms, which the medical students then proceed to try and diagnose correctly. I think they even get to wear make-up and spit up fake blood, but I could be making that up. Anyway, through them we received an invitation to come and participate in the pediatric labs, giving the students an opportunity to brush up on their kid charms and practice checking reflexes, listening to heartbeats, examining eyes, ears, throat, and basically doing a thorough well-child exam.
Eliza is saving up her money for a summer camp, so when she heard that she would be paid to participate, she was all for it. (I even heard her negotiating with her first team of doctors; she jokingly asked if they'd be giving any shots, and one of them offered her money if she'd let him and she said, yeah, give me an extra 60 bucks!) (There were no shots given.) Ani wasn't quite as sure, but as you can see from these pictures, she warmed up quickly to the idea, and their cousin was excited to make some money, so this is how she spent two mornings on her spring break from school in Wisconsin!
My kids don't go to the doctor very often, and to be honest, our current family physician could take a lesson or two from these very personable young med students, so the girls really enjoyed their mornings holding court with 2 students at a time in attendance, through 4 hour-long rotations. It was very entertaining to eavesdrop on their interactions...the first set asked Ani to count backwards from 10 and she exclaimed, "Oh man, this is gonna be EASY!" I heard Eliza tell her jovial first pair of students about getting a splinter out using a banana peel as a bandage ("It's the biggest herb in the world! And it WORKS!").
The more comfortable they got, the funnier they were. My kids are chatty to begin with, and they went all out. Eliza lay back on the table while they listened to her "stomach" and she told them, "Um, I think my stomach is up here - you're really listening to my intestines. Can you tell what I had for breakfast?" There was also a lot of cheese ("ok, I'm going to look at your boogers now") and you could tell which students have kids in their lives and which don't know where to begin with getting a kid to talk to them.
It was on the whole pretty morale-boosting for them both. They got to shine for a while as the bright, friendly kids that they are, and while they know it, I think they got a kick out of the people in the white coats finding them so as well. They earned their money - by the end of the week (2 4-hour sessions) they could have run the exam themselves, and politely hung in there when they were asked "Have you every listened to your own heart?" for the eighth time, or reminded someone again that they don't go to school...My feedback for the students was to get creative about how they asked their questions, if they find their patient is a homeschooler. My kids will not give you the answer you are looking for if you ask them what their favorite subject in school is, how their grades are, or what sports they enjoy at school. However, ask them what they like to do, how they spend their time outside, ask them to talk about something they're good at, and how they like to move their bodies, and they have a lot to say!
(thanks, sister, for taking these photos!!)