We had a dermatologist come to class last night to talk to us (as interpreters and future interpreters) about dermatology terms and give us what he called “Implosion” to the world of rashes and skin conditions. He was my least favorite speaker so far. He opened up a window to what goes on in the mind of some providers, a window best left closed, I think.
The first thing he wanted us to know was that he can usually tell what is wrong with a patient within 15 seconds of walking into the room. All he needs to do is see the affected area and he can make a diagnosis. As a matter of fact, one of the hardest parts of his job he said, is figuring out how to make patients feel important in the process. Yipes. Isn’t that what we’re all afraid doctors will do?
He had lots of slides of rashes and ailments of the skin. He said he wanted to show us the slides so that we don’t have a gasp of horror in the doctor’s office when we see one of them in living color. This was a good idea, I’ll give him credit for that. Because ladies and gentleman, there is some sick shit going on in the world of skin. One of the women in front of me kept turning her head away from the slides. Until the doctor chastised the room for getting queasy at the slides. “What are you going to do in my office? You guys need these slide so you don’t pass out in front of the patient.”
I needed the presentation for my own benefit as well. During the last 20 minutes of slides we saw some of the different forms that rashes can take: ichthyoform, herpeform, annular, targetoid, guttate, paisley, stripes… I think I said, “Cool” 3 different times, which would also be inappropriate in a clinic setting. Good thing we had the slides.
Not that it was close to our least comfortable slide presentation. It wasn’t. I think that might have been either the female or male reproductive system. The male reproductive system slide show was like a how-to lecture on torture. The most alarming picture was the one of the cystoscopy. Cyst is a word used in medicine for almost any bag of fluid. In this case they were referring to the bladder. The scope part of the word refers to examining with a viewing instrument. So in the front of the room, bigger than me, was a diagram of a tubular camera, inserted through the end of the penis, threaded up the urethra and into the bladder. It was like the premise of a Stephen King novel
The female reproductive slide show was also a little difficult to sit through. It was something like Georgia O’Keefe meets Gulliver’s Travels. In the front of the room was an artfully rendered sketch of a vagina the size of a fishing boat. That sketch was followed by another gigantic black and white sketch of the same subject matter. It was weird.
I love this class.