Saturday, November 8, 2008

Courage or Denial

We were taking a young woman's history the other day. She seemed like the average first year student. She was very cheerful, intelligent, and she had a good sense of humour. She was recently diagnosed with pelvic inflammatory disease, PID, which she informed us was caused by either sexually transmitted infections or vaginal tearing. We were all glad she explained...we're first year med students, we don't know anything! She would be lucky if one of us could SPELL pelvic inflammatory disease, much less know its causes.

Anyhow, she was telling us how she had strep throat a few weeks ago, and then a couple of days ago she was going through abdominal pain and needed to go to the emergency room (this is when she was diagnosed with PID). Then she casually mentions her house was broken into recently...and then casually states that she was sexually assaulted several weeks ago.

We were all stunned. The patient went on to tell us how she is taking some time off school to get herself together. She also told us she had found great support groups in her friends and community. All in all, she seemed to be doing AMAZING, all things considered.

After the interview was over, our class and my tutor had a discussion about her calm, casual demeanour. Was she an amazingly courageous girl who was handling everything life had to throw at her with a smile...or was she in denial and avoiding her feelings?

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