Wednesday, August 26, 2009

You say Verrucous, I say Varicose

We have wonderful staff in our office. I wouldn't trade any of them. Our reception ladies are friendly and efficient and attentive to details. They know how to use the computer and answer the phones and file and schedule tests and do all sorts of things that we couldn't run an office without.

They aren't, however, trained in medicine.

Most of the time they get it right, but sometimes it makes for some interesting appointments on our calendars.

I was thoroughly impressed one day to see that my partner had a "thymus" biopsy on her office schedule. The thymus is a gland that lives behind your breast bone, right next to your heart. It's pretty small by the time you're grown up. It's not the sort of thing we typically stick a biopsy needle into in our office. I asked her about it later. Turns out it was actually a "thigh mass" biopsy. "Thymus". . . "Thigh mass". . . Close enough.

We had one receptionist who regularly scheduled people to be seen for ambilical (not umbilical) hernias (I always wondered if an ambilical hernia could walk) and verrucous (which means wart-like, although I'm pretty sure she meant varicose) veins.

Sometimes it's fun just to try to guess what the problem might really be before you actually get to talk to the patient. For instance, tomorrow I have a patient scheduled to be seen for a "breast rupture." I'm not sure exactly how that would happen, but it doesn't sound pretty!

The mystery just adds an element of excitement to the job.