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Ah, medical humor - SPK Live
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May 2011
Steve K
Fri, Aug. 25th, 2006 08:59 pm
Ah, medical humor

This was on one of the "Physician's Weekly" posters we put up each week at Parkview:

*rolls eyes*

Speaking of hospital stuff, I've gotten pretty used to unusual medical requests and looking at rather gross images after almost being employed a year.  Plenty of photos featuring blood and tumors, let me tell you!  However, we got a request to look up "labial and/or vulvar reconstruction" this week.  We often attempt to find full-text articles online since that saves photocopying and we sometimes even forward them on as attachments to the doctors or nurses.  Thus, I was pleased to find one particular article and I opened it in order to print it off.  To my shock, a woman's mangled "nether region" with legs spread wide immediately took up about a third of the screen!  Needless to say, I experienced more nausea than I have since my first month on the job.  Just not a great way to start your day, you know?  Why did they have to put that right on the first page? *shudder*  At least I can chuckle about it now, I don't think I'm permanently scarred. *wry grin*

EDIT: I've decided to keep this story as originally written, though I did later put it behind a LJ cut.  It is not my intention to offend or make light of awful situations, but I can see lobstermagnet's point.  As a learning experience and so that others can see where this dialogue came from, I will keep the whole thread intact.  It is not meant to be derogatory to women or people with dire medical situations, just recounting something unusual that happened to me and which I felt like writing about.  My apologies if it does come across as offensive, maybe that's something I need to be more sensitive about in the future.

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Current Mood: silly silly
Current Music: The Kry - "You" album


(no subject) - (Anonymous)
Steve K
Sat, Aug. 26th, 2006 01:41 am (UTC)
Other side

If you're working anywhere near medicine, you'll need a stronger stomach than that.
Like I said, I've gotten pretty used to seeing that kind of stuff. It was just so unexpected and rather disturbing that I made note of it here!

I'm sure if you found said woman, she would apologize profusely for ruining your morning. Nor did such pictures enter the journal article to make you nauseous.
Now, c'mon -- I'm not trying to be a jerk here. My morning was not ruined; I do not "blame" her for being a study case, or the publisher for making the information and photos available, or the doctor for requesting the article, or me for opening it up. It was just a shock and I felt like writing about it. I'm sorry if it came across as derogatory, but it's simply a recounting of something that happened to me and which is still in my mind two days later.

I have cervical cancer
I didn't realize that. Are you getting treatment? I can see how my story might seem insensitive to someone in your shoes, that obviously was not my intent. I hope you're OK, that kind of thing is certainly rough. For the record, I am proud that my work helps doctors and nurses do their jobs more effectively. I knew going into it that I would have to look at some unpleasant things, but I also realized I might be able to help make a positive difference. I try to do good work and make sure people have the best information available. I hope there are people down in your neck of the woods who are working to make sure your doctor can provide the most complete and comprehensive care for you.

ReplyThread Parent
Sarah Mae: Radical, Militant, YA Librarian
Sat, Aug. 26th, 2006 06:07 am (UTC)

As someone who gets squeamish herself when even reading about mutilation and genital injuries (male or female) much less seeing a large image of it, I understood where you were coming from.

I have also had painful medical experiences and surgery in that area, though not cervical cancer, and I can understand sensitivity about the subject.

I took your reaction as that of not expecting the image to be the first thing you saw, not that the image didn't belong with the article.

But yeah, the medical field is filled with "disturbing" images so I'm glad you are getting used to them.

Steve K
Sat, Aug. 26th, 2006 03:06 pm (UTC)

As someone who gets squeamish herself when even reading about mutilation and genital injuries (male or female)
Yeah, one thing I didn't say above is that I strongly suspect would have had a similiar reaction if it had been penis disfigurement. There's just something especially unsettling about that area of the body being messed up. It's not like it's the patient's fault and certainly doctors need to know how to treat such things, but it's still disturbing! It's no one's "fault," I think it's just human nature to have an instinctual adverse reaction to such things.

I took your reaction as that of not expecting the image to be the first thing you saw, not that the image didn't belong with the article.
Yes. I was starting to get pretty tired last night and wasn't explaining things well; I think you hit the nail on the head. I know perfectly well that such things are included in medical literature, it was just so unexpected at that moment! I'm glad you could see where I was coming from, though I can see that it would still be wise to practice more discretion about such things in the future. Live and learn, right?

ReplyThread Parent
Sat, Aug. 26th, 2006 03:35 pm (UTC)
Re: Imagery

Well it's obvious everyone thinks I'm a gigantic overreacting idiot. Frankly I just take it from the standpoint that I would be devastated if I knew that JUST ANYONE could go and look up anything of mine and then post about it in a public place about how gross it is. Fine, it makes you squeamish. It wasn't really there for your eyes to begin with. Like I said, medical issues are private, and if you somehow happen upon them in a non-private setting it just isn't your place to be like SICK! WHAT A MORNING RUINER!! LOLZZZ!

But by all means, you are correct. It's your journal, talk all day about it, forget the discretion. I'm just letting you in on maybe what that person would feel like if they knew this was floating around the corner of the internet somewhere. As if her self-worth weren't diminished enough. You are entitled to your reaction, but not to spread it around. It's the principle of the thing.

Incidentally, I have plenty of good doctors and I am fine. I don't like it when people react to the word cancer the way they react to torn genitals. It really isn't a big deal, I was just talking about doing my part for science. Since you cannot understand why this upsets me so much, I wouldn't really worry about it. Your natural human reaction is the way most people are, which is why people like that woman remain anonymous on a medical page. The rest of the world views them as GROSS! right off the bat. Like I said before, just imagine how you would feel to be disfigured, and I hope sincerely that you never have to deal with that. But if you were, you might donate your disfigurement to research in sincerest hopes to help somebody else.

I took your reaction the same way as she did. But I don't agree with sharing it with everyone else as an LOL! moment. Don't worry about discretion. Your journal, your gut reaction, your friends to take your side. Simple as that.

FrozenThread Parent
Steve K
Sat, Aug. 26th, 2006 09:29 pm (UTC)

Well it's obvious everyone thinks I'm a gigantic overreacting idiot.
Nobody is saying that. You simply have a very different perspective on this posting, which I can appreciate and which I admitted. By deleting your comment and unfriending me, I might say you are overreacting now. That's your call, though. It is obvious this touches you on a deeply emotional level and I truly am sorry that offense was taken. That said, I was NOT pointing and laughing at the lady in the photo. Quite simply, you have to find the humor in such situations or work in the hospital would become incredibly depressing. I run across these kinds of things all the time, but this in particular was SO awful and unexpected (being a large photo of extreme trauma right on the very first page) that it was still in my mind two days later, so I decided to write about it and release that tension. It's more about how I deal with it all, especially since I don't orignally come from a medical background.

Like I said before, just imagine how you would feel to be disfigured, and I hope sincerely that you never have to deal with that.
Just so you know, I had abdominal surgery as a baby, in 6th grade, and again in college. I've had a big scar running down my belly my entire life, and kids would tease me about it or say it was gross when I was younger. Again, you had to learn to laugh about such things or it would be too painful -- I would joke about how I know it's time to get out of the swimming pool because my scar would turn blue when I was getting cold! It's obviously not on the same level as tumors or gaping wounds, but I've had my own medical issues and the resulting reminders to deal with since I was only a couple months old.

Your journal, your gut reaction, your friends to take your side. Simple as that.
I could tell this touched you so deeply that I started checking my User Info page about a half hour after I saw your first comment in order to see if and when you would defriend me. I had the feeling that nothing I could say would help matters, or that other people might say something to offend you. I hoped it wouldn't come to pass, but I was not very surprised when I signed into LJ this afternoon and saw you had removed me from your flist. All I can say is that I never expected such a powerful reaction from what I thought was a fairly innocuous anecdote, and I'm sorry it's come to this. I've enjoyed getting to know you a little and even hope you'll change your mind. Take care of yourself, feel free to leave a comment anytime.

FrozenThread Parent
Sat, Aug. 26th, 2006 03:20 pm (UTC)

Ha! This post is hilarous! When I was in college, I had a class called medical aspects of Athletic training and there was one point we had to make a "workbook" filled with pictures of STDs! Let me tell you, you will never EVER want to have sex again after seeing that! I feel for ya! Oh, and sorry about Friday but it kinda ended up being a chic night :-( sorry!

Steve K
Sat, Aug. 26th, 2006 09:10 pm (UTC)

Yeah, it can definitely be unsettling at the time but somewhat amusing after the fact. Thanks for letting me know about Friday, hope you had fun! :)

ReplyThread Parent
Tue, Aug. 29th, 2006 09:23 pm (UTC)

Ummm... lobstermagnet seems to be dealing with some issues and used you to vent. {{hugs}}

As it stands. The person in the picture gave consent for the journal for them to use it. And anyone can get copies of these journals. You were rather respectful, really. If you had included links and derogatory remarks, I might think differently. But with my medical history, even I get sqeamish around some images.

Steve K
Wed, Aug. 30th, 2006 01:45 am (UTC)

You're exactly right, I started the story by saying anyone can pull these up as free full-text -- it's not like I hyperlinked to the article and was saying, "See?! EWWW!!! *LOL*" That never even occurred to me until you brought it up! I guess since I've spent time in hospitals myself (as a surgical patient) and I've worked in the Parkview library for almost a year, I don't feel quite as inhibited talking about this stuff by now. Thanks for saying something, I appreciate the feedback! :)

ReplyThread Parent