Try To Say This Without Giggling

Filed under: @ 3:01 pm

For years Matt and I have played a game we call “Pretend You’ve Never Had Any Medical Training”. The focus of this game is to one-up the other as regards some of the dumber-ass shit that we are exposed to on a day to day basis as medical professionals. One of us will call the other and say “Pretend you’ve never had any medical training…..” which is a recognized preface for “Damn, you won’t believe the dumbshit that I saw today!”
Thus I called Matt the day I had a client who had been treating his dog’s weepy eye with drops that he himself had been prescribed after a corneal transplant. For the record, immune suppressant anti-rejection eyedrops don’t do a bit of good when your dog’s got a grass seed stuck under his third eyelid.

And Matt won some years ago by calling me when a guy walked into the ER in Tacoma where he was working with the complaint of not having been able to urinate for the previous five days. Not that the guy didn’t need to urinate, but he couldn’t. He said, as I recall, that he had thought about going to the doctor around about the third day, but he figured he’d wait to see what would happen. I have yet to top this one.

Which isn’t to say that we don’t still call each other with these things, but Matt still wins for the biggest dumbshit.

Which brings us to the reason that I called Matt while on my way out of work about a week ago. It doesn’t really qualify as Pretend You’ve Never Had Any Medical Training because it doesn’t involve a person, but it was still very much worth a dumbshit award.

So try to say this phrase, out loud, without giggling.

Rubber chicken head.

(*snort* *giggle*)

Last Saturday morning I was presented with a 4 month old kitten with a history of vomiting for the past three days. Kitten had been seen by one of the other doctors on the previous day and had some injections and some medication prescribed after the owner declined advanced diagnostic testing. Where kitten felt better for a few hours after the medications, once they wore off he started feeling really rotten again. I told the owner that we absolutely had to do the recommended diagnostic testing at that point and she, fortunately, concurred. Ran my tests, took my x-rays and found a large-ish radiodense object lodged in the kitten’s small intestine.

Well there’s the reason he’s been vomiting.

Called the owner, told her what I’d found and told her I needed to do surgery that afternoon to remove this whatever it was. Received consent for surgery, got everything all prepped and opened him up.

Now for those many of you who have never done intestinal surgery on a kitten, the procedure is to start at one end and “run the gut” i.e., examine the entire gastrointestinal tract from stem to stern at least twice so you know you’re not missing anything. I ran the gut, found the whatsis in the proximal duodenum and when I didn’t find anything anywhere else in the intestinal tract I set about to remove the whatsis.

Made a single small incision through the intestinal wall over the whatsis and out poked…..a rubber chicken head.

Really. Honest.

Now granted it wasn’t a rubber chicken head like one would find on a rubber chicken used in the old comedy routines to smack people with, this was obviously the head off of a rubber chicken kitten toy. But the whole head, neatly bitten off at the neck, came poking out of my incision beak first.

Which gave me an incurable fit of the giggles.

This isn’t the oddest thing I’ve removed from one of my patients. There have been rocks too numerous to count, marbles, string, ribbons, casette tapes, clothing of all sorts (including the “Low Rise Thong Size Large” from the labrador retriever of a woman who still can’t look me in the face), and for a while Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were VERY popular. But I’ve got to say, it’s darn close to being the silliest.

And I still can’t say “rubber chicken head” without giggling.

5 Responses to “Try To Say This Without Giggling”

  1. Uncle Andrew Says:




  2. Gavin Says:

    Rub her what?!?!

  3. Margaret Says:

    Touch the puppet head dude!

    (and if you recognize that you are truly one of the geek elite!)

  4. Gavin Says:

    Memo to myself: Do the dumb things I gotta do…
    Yep, pin on my geek-elite pocket protector, I am well versed in The Might Be Giants.

  5. Uncle Andrew Says:

    Memo to myself: Do the dumb things I gotta do…

    But don’t cross the street in the middle in the middle in the middle in the middle in the middle of the block.

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