GIF-Party: Why Doctors Are Weird

This post brought to you by the temporary insanity of surgical rotations.

The more time I spend in hospital, the more I realise how weird doctors are. We ask strange questions, and we actually get answers. A few times I’ve asked non-patients (friends and family) and received some awkward looks. I don’t think for one moment that we should STOP asking questions – but I do think it makes the medical profession pretty weird and unique.

It reminds me of one of the most striking thing I read in Anne Fadiman’sย The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down:

Txiv neebsย were polite and never needed to ask questions;

doctors asked many rude and intimate questions about patients’ lives, right down to their sexual and excretory habits.”

After a patient has had abdominal surgery, we ask…

Have you passed stool yet? And some patients require more…. colourful vocabulary.

When a baby has had surgery we ask the mother,

Has your baby passed wind since the operation?

When a pregnant patient has some spotting but a closed os and a live foetus, we ask…

Did you and your husband have intercourse last night?

When we present a breast cancer patient at an onco-plastics round

we comment on their breast size as if it is completely normal.

When someone presents with a tiny tiny defect:

This is too small for a risky surgery right now. Wait til it gets bigger or symptomatic.

When someone presents with a massive growth or defect:


Linking up with Medical Mondays.

27 thoughts on “GIF-Party: Why Doctors Are Weird

    1. Hah, thanks! You’ll get used to it, and better at it with time. The first time I had to ask a patient for a urine sample, I didn’t know how to ask. I settled for the professional words, and unfortunately the twelve-year old girl just looked at me blankly. So when I explained, her eyes lit up and she exclaimed, “Oh! You mean I must pee in a cup!” Awkward.

  1. Hahaha, every time I’m at work I say that doctors are weird. Not for the above reasons though :). The fact that I don’t think any of the above questions are weird, probably means that nurses are just as weird as doctors.

  2. *Waves hand to you* Medical Monday linker in the house!

    Ahh yes, I remember my pharmacy school rotations. I know this post is dealing with weird medical questions, but what about weird medical reactions (from yours truly)?

    I was the pharmacy student who would congratulate a pt with reduced renal function with claps and excitement when they produced urine (the tint didnโ€™t matter). While I knew they knew their kidneys showing some improvement was a good thing, they didnโ€™t know how to take me squealing and smiling like a chesire cat.

  3. Ha! This is great! Having just finished nursing school I think it’s definitely people in the medical field that are weird. ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t tell you the conversations my friends and I have had where my husband will tell us to quit talking even though it sounds completely normal to us!! LOL.

  4. Too funny — I’m not even the medical member of our relationship and I get it! Thanks for the laugh! (PS — stopping by from Medical Mondays!)

  5. Awesome post… definitely made me giggle. I always joke that medicine has made me better at asking strangers about their bowel habits than I am at asking my friends about their weekends.

  6. In India, women are very squeamish about the word ‘vagina’ and all its local translations. So when we want to ask a puerperal female if she had a vaginal delivery, we ask, ‘Did the baby happen from below’ (Direct translation)!

    1. That’s super interesting! I don’t think I have ever heard a doctor talk about a “vagina” directly to a patient either. We also refer to “below”! I don’t know if it is really a cultural squeamishness or more a squeamishness on the side of the doctors, here. I find that we ask patients if they gave birth “normally”. I always feel rather sorry because I think such language perpetuates the stereotype that C-sections are somehow not “normal”!

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