NOBODY wants to land up in a hospital. The reasons are several: the smell of medicines and antiseptics; the groans and moans of patients; some OPD examination procedures that may be unpleasant. We doctors are regarded as next to God, but sometimes, we can be next only to a comedian! A doctor may have weird expressions and make strange sounds while concentrating on a procedure.
When we enter a medical college as students, we are encountered with many medical terms that we struggle to memorise initially, but these can be funny: ‘artery’ seems to be some kind of a drawing art, ‘terminal illness’ sounds like an airport terminal, ‘vegetative state’ has nothing to do with vegetables, ‘coma’ is not a punctuation mark, and many more.
Taking down family history can be amusing, when the doctor is more ‘honest’ compared to the patient or there can be an awkward situation due to a misinformed patient or his/her attendant. Once an intern in the past history sheet column wrote that the patient was in ‘a good state of health until he banged his car against a tree on the side of the road’. Another budding doctor wrote in the psychiatric illness column that there is ‘no past history of suicides’.
Sometimes, we encounter patients with an extraordinary sense of humour. I recall an incident during my internship days, when a senior consultant surgeon was examining a gentleman who had complained of ‘prostatism’. The doctor had to examine the patient’s rear. For this, he had to relax it and deliberately asked some random questions to divert the attention of the patient. This is how the conversation went: ‘Babaji, kitne bachche hain?’
‘Do ladke, teen ladkiyan,’ replied the elderly man.
‘Bidi-cigarette peete ho?’ enquired the doctor.
‘Dhuan aa raha he kya?’ the man retorted!
There was pin-drop silence for a while as the consultant stared at the patient for a few seconds. The team of juniors in the hierarchy was turned at once out of the room… they were laughing so hard!
Another funny incident was encountered during my internship days at the ENT OPD. A middle-aged woman came to the doctor for a follow-up. She showed the vial of ear drops to the consultant, saying that she was relieved of her earache, but the drops tasted bitter. Looking at the satisfaction and feeling of contentment on her face, nobody could gather the courage to tell her that she had taken the medicine via the wrong route.
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