Wednesday, November 18, 2009

An Awkward Exam

It was awkward, alright. There were four of us stripped of our shirts and wearing only footy shorts in the exam room with the teacher.

My partner, Richard, was noticeably nervous. After three years of chiropractic school, we’ve come to accept our exams will be strenuous, but achievable. Each of us reacts differently to high pressure situations, though there are some general signs and symptoms... Spine hunched, breathing shallow and quick, we are ruled by the “Lizard-Brain” during the sympathetic dominance of these fight or flight situations. Richard, however, had had one unique reaction to stress. He had what we chiropractic students call, in scientific terminology, “A Raging Boner.”

It was as though someone replaced his morning vitamin with Viagra. And, to his credit, Richard was blessed by the creator with quite the endowment. I kept going cross-eyed and, as we stood in the middle of the room, I almost wanted to hang a hat on the thing just to keep it under cover.

I went through the usual procedural assessment in front of the teacher. But I had to alter my position in space because of this wily beast. I increased my circumference when I circled to get around him. It was as though someone injured a limb and I didn’t want to exacerbate it.

No one acknowledged the boner. It really was the pink elephant in the room that no one dare speak of...metaphorically speaking.

I instructed Richard to lay on his stomach on our chiropractic bench, and as I palpated his back, I hoped to all hope that he would settle down. Perhaps blood flow would return to parts of his body that would have greatly needed it by now.
Alas, when he turned over to lay on his back, the creature was off to the side. Though you could no longer hang a hat on the thing, it was still a cantankerous creature noticeably protruding over top the right hip. I sighed a little bit of relief. Then, when I saw my next test question, I got nervous.

I will need to digress for a moment to explain how slap-stick it got in the last few minutes of my exam. There are certain techniques chiropractic employs for patients who require low-force treatment: the elderly, the frail, the acutely painful patients. One of these techniques is known as “Blocks” or “Wedges”. These are highly effective in realigning the often twisted hips and pelvis. These blocks look like larger versions of door stops, covered in foam and material, and they are then placed under the patient’s hips, one per side. With Richard on his back, our teacher wanted me to demonstrate how I would hypothetically place the blocks underneath a patient...but, for the safety of my classmate’s spinal alignment, I was instructed to lay the blocks on top of this patient.

The left block stuck like a magnate to Richard; the right block, however, I fumbled to the ground several times over after my vain effort to lay on a rounded, moving surface. In front of the teacher, gritting my teeth and squinting my eyes, I again slowly lay the wedge on Richard’s chubby penis. The block quickly toppled to the ground like a failed Jenga move. Again I tried, and again and then again, fumbling the block before I looked helplessly at the teacher.

Richard broke the silence and said to the teacher, “I think he’s a little nervous.”

I am not sure if he meant me or his penis.

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