We’re the Strange Ones – Part 2

by | Jan 27, 2014 | Reflection

“Would you please not talk about that at the table?!” my wife has frequently been known to say (my kids used to get a good chuckle out of this).

It goes with the territory. We medical people are accustomed to seeing and talking about things that many would find, well, unappetizing.

This starts, of course, early in Medical School.

You could always spot the First Year Med Students in the cafeteria at Emory. They were the ones in short white coats sitting together with a buffer zone of empty tables around them. The reason for the mealtime quarantine was obvious: the students had just come from Gross Anatomy Lab and reeked of formaldehyde; they munched happily on spaghetti and meatballs while discussing boisterously the marvels of the day’s dissections.

We’re strange people.

I often remind my staff, my students, (and myself) to be continually aware of the sensibilities of “normal” people. What is commonplace and everyday to us is unusual and sometimes frightening to others.

But to you patients, please, a little understanding for the social grossness of some doctors. It’s hard to overcome the fact that  we learn early on in school the official medical descriptions of various bodily growths, tissues, fluids and discharges are often stated in terms of different foods. For heaven’s sake… that’s just disgusting.