Did I mention that, with a little cajoling, I scored myself an appointment with Dr. Foie Gras (who my dear friend insists on calling Dr. Liverpaté, which does have a certain ring to it)? So off J. and I went this week to visit the dear doctor, seeking help for my progressing lumpy gout.
Dr. LP well tolerated our barrage of intrusive personal questions. At our last visit, he disclosed he had married and bought a house. This time, we learned he and his wife recently had their first child, a baby boy. Dr. LP happened to have a newborn picture or two on his phone, which he showed us readily. We oohed and ahhed appropriately.
The doctor’s recent sleep deprivation did not seem to interfere with his clinical acumen. But before we give this esteemed physician too much credit, let’s consider his job: gastrointestinal specialists train intensively for years in order to be able to ask people about their poop. Yes, all such doctors have a morbid interest in their patients’ potty habits, and they make a whack of cash investigating such habits. Can you imagine talking to each and every patient about their No. 2? I certainly cannot, and I am grateful that my clinical interviews cover a broader range of subjects.
And so, after I addressed my concerns, including whether my gouty bumps would continue to grow until they became grossly disfiguring and burst through my skin (we’ll address his response to my catastrophizing some other day), Dr. LP circled back to the No. 2 (not his but mine). But because even a poop specialist prefers visuals to words during a discussion of this type, Dr. LP began looking frantically around his assessment room for the hanging poop chart, a.k.a., the Bristol
Poop Stool Scale. Lo and behold, there was none.
With any other patient, this would have been a true GI crisis. Dr. LP knew that I, a longstanding clinic patient, familiar with poop-preoccupied physicians, would know not only about the existence of this chart but also have the chart memorized. I didn’t need the visual reminder; the verbal cuing would suffice. So we had a quick discussion, after which I expect Dr. LP made a note to hang a copy of this chart forthwith so other less experienced patients would not have to endure such an awkward conversation.
Before we left, Dr. LP, who is by nature a serious fellow, displayed an uncharacteristic playfulness, possibly prompted by his recent sleep deprivation. We had been discussing a certain over-the-counter medication, and Dr. LP was distracted by its absurd advertising, which he tried to locate for us. He explained that this medication’s packaging has always been an emasculating pink, so the company had recently come out with a blue-bottled version for macho men. The contents of the pink and blue bottles are absolutely identical; only the colours of the labels differs.
What, then, would I like you to take from today’s post? With any GI specialist, you can expect the poop talk. Hopefully there will be a poster to help you through it. Also, not only do men have babies, they are babies.