SPOILER ALERT! Just kidding. No spoilers here. There’s a lot of wild stuff* that goes down in this episode and we are making the executive decision to reveal absolutely nothing more than exactly that. The reason is this: You can only hear these stories for the first time—once. And since we’re all about first times, we want to keep this one pure and let it hit your ears fresh. No keywords. No hints. Trust us. It’s much more fun that way. Sharing this week are doctors Michael Coords, Sarah Coates, Haren Heller Dane, Emma Husain and Christopher Carrubba.
*Disclaimer: These true stories were told by medical professionals. Non-medical professionals should not attempt to tell them at home and would do so at their own risk. Please refer all potential listeners to the link below.
This transcript is of the medical podcast, My First Cadaver — Episode Four: My First OMGNFW.
MTS AD: “My First Cadaver” is sponsored by Med School Tutors. United from the far corners of Middle Earth to help students reach the highest pinnacle of medical exam scores, the MST Team is truly the ultimate fellowship of tutors. “If by my life or death I can help you score high, then you have my study schedule.” “And my clinical knowledge.” “And my axe!” “We don’t need an axe.” “Oh…” For every Frodo starting their adventure there’s a Samwise to have their back. Let Med School Tutors be a part of your origin story. Together, we can save the world.
FAITH AERYN: Sometimes there just aren’t words. There are sounds, maybe, and gestures, and a lot of feelings, but the English language often doesn’t cut it when it comes to the truly outrageous and unexpected. Even doctors get tongue-tied in the wildest of situations. Obviously, this is why the great Motherboard of human existence was compelled to fill this gaping hole in our communication experience with hashtags, emojis and texting acronyms. How else can we possibly express the surge of emotions brought about by stupefying grossness if not with a yucky-face-icon or insanely specific series of typographical characters? I mean, W.T.F., right? In this episode, our team was faced with a unique dilemma: How can we, in this solely auditory medium, share stories that must also be seen, touched, smelled and tasted to be truly understood, appreciated and believed? Our solution? We ask that you break out those vivid imaginations as we present you with these oh-so-cringe-worthy tales and slowly work our way up from a palatable 1 to the barely digestible 10. But first, easing you in, is Dr. Michael Coords with a lesson on pain.
DR. MICHAEL COORDS: This is a fun story. I did get in trouble once because patients notoriously, they don’t fully comprehend a pain scale — from 1 to 10, you know? 1 being almost no pain at all or zero being no pain and 10 being the worst possible pain of your entire life that you can imagine. It really bothers me when they blatantly lie about it and you’re calling them out on it. You know…they’re laying in bed, they’re not tachycardic at all, they’re breathing fine, they’re in no visible distress and they tell you I’m in 10 out of 10 pain. Sometimes I think they’re actually being serious and they believe that they’re in 10 out of 10 pain. All right…you’re in 10 out of 10 pain…hmm…So I was getting really pissed off at the same patient every single day who kept saying this, until finally I went in there and again he was like, “You know what, I’m in 10 out of 10 pain.” So finally I had enough. I’m like, “All right, so you’re telling me that if I go and break both your thumbs right now you wouldn’t even care because you actually won’t be in any more pain than you are right this moment?” He’s like, “Well yeah I’d be in more pain.” And I’m like, “Well then you can’t be at 10 out of 10 pain!” So I actually wound up getting in trouble later on from my attending for talking like that to my patient. But it was just to illustrate that these patients have no idea what they’re talking about.
DR. SARAH COATES: So we’re in dermatology and you see a lot of patients every day and you ask them kind of the same questions. One of these stock questions that we always ask people is, “What are you doing for sun protection?”
FA: That’s Dr. Sarah Coates.
SC: You know like, “SPF blank. Where are you putting it? Are you reapplying it?” And we want to know how many sunburns you’re getting a year and all of this stuff that happened to you when you were a kid in terms of sunburn history. So we’re just used to asking that question. Most people probably lie about the answer cause no one uses sunscreen as much as they should. But we were in Oregon, a medical student friend of mine and me, and we asked a patient what they were doing for sun protection and she said, “Oh, Bill got a vasectomy 10 years ago.” And we were like, “Uh, that’s great! So, um… are you using sunscreen?” and she was like, “Oh! SUN protection!” and we were like, “Yeah, that whole thing. Cause this is a dermatologist’s office.”
FA: Okay. We told you we’d be working up the absurdity scale. Now we’re going to begin our dive into the deep end with Dr. Haren Heller Dane — a graduate of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. I think you said something about a crazy tattooing story? That I gotta hear.
DR. HAREN HELLER DANE: Yes! So we were taking care of an old man, probably about in his late seventies early eighties, for a urological procedure. And after he went off to sleep the urologist had to put in a Foley catheter to drain his urine for the procedure. When he went to insert the Foley catheter he read “Joe” on the gentleman’s penis and then as he started to pull the penis out and down we all saw it said, “Eat my Joe.” Eat my Joe?
FA: If your constitution is at all delicate, we give you full permission to tap out. Without further ado, here’s Dr. Emma Husain.
DR. EMMA HUSAIN: So now, I think I’m in fourth year medical school, so I’m 24 years old and it’s a 17 year old boy who’s come into the emergency for a penile lump. I go in to see him as I see all, I’m in that rotation, I see all the patients first to get the history, physical, present it to my attending. So, I went in there and he had, it said “penile lump” on his chief complaint, so I knew that was gonna be where we were headed. And in the history I asked him about sexual activity, of course, right? And he said, “Well I’m saving myself for marriage.” He was was religious of some type and that was his decision. So, ok, so I knew it couldn’t be sexually transmitted and I said, “All right, change into your gown, take off your underwear. I’ll be right back.” And so I came back…and umm…the penis was uncircumcised and very lumpy around the top and I asked him, since he had a foreskin I said, “Well, do you pull down your foreskin to clean around your penis?” And he said, “No…” I said, “So you never…” and he’s like, “Well no I don’t touch it because…” and again he mentioned religious masturbation prohibition. So, ok, so I poked his foreskin back and these huge curd like chunks of smegma started falling like [tick, tick, tick, tick] all over the sheet that I had covering him, I just had his part exposed. Just tons of them! Like a baggy full of… stuff! And I just… I said to him, “This is called smegma. This is this accumulation of secretions from around your penis and you’re supposed to pull the foreskin down like this and clean around it and there was just still more there and then I just…I couldn’t, I just couldn’t. I don’t know what happened. I got kind of… a panic attack, or I think a little bit of being grossed out to be quite honest. And I just said, “Ok…so uhhh…I’ll…If you can just… hang on here for a second. I’ll be right back.” And I went outside and I was blushing and I was all verklempt and I… I… went to my attending and I blurted out this story sort of stream of consciousness. “Boy…smegma…cannot…ahhh!” And that was the story. It was obviously not a life-threatening problem and that’s good for him. But I just… somehow that… I got halfway through my work and I just couldn’t … continue. I did not have the skills, the disassociation to continue with this patient. So that was… that was that.
HHD: I was giving anesthesia is the colonoscopy suite that we have in our hospital and at the end of the day they added on this case. I didn’t quite understand what it was. So I talked to the gastroenterologist and apparently, a young girl had to come to the emergency room because she got this huge black dildo stuck up her anus and, of course, we had to get it out. So, we wheeled her into the procedure room, I had her drift off to sleep. So after she fell asleep… uh… the room started getting crowded. Filled with all the gastroenterologists that heard about the story and all the anesthesiologists in the suite that heard about the story because everyone had to see this dildo stuck up her butt. People were calling other people, “You gotta come look at this. This is amazing! Get in here! Get in here! Ya gotta see this! Ya gotta see this!” This is a tiny little closet room, crowded with people. We finally got it out after, I don’t, maybe 20 minutes of trying to maneuver it with all different kinds of contraptions and we finally got it out and she did okay and she woke up at the end not knowing that everybody in the endoscopy suite knew the entire story.
FA: I believe it! And this is why you went into medicine isn’t it? These stories.
HHD: Right! “Honey, what did you do at work today?”
FA: Dr. Christopher Carrubba is back with a story he’ll never forget… and I’m not sure I will either.
DR. CHRISTOPHER CARRUBBA: This is another like, third year med student on the G.Y.N. rotation. Again, kind of like, went into the clinic. They were really great with us there like would let us see the patients first and come out and report. I went went into the room and it just, I mean, it smelled awful. Like no sugar coating it, I came into that room and wanted to vomit. Umm… it was a little bit of an obese patient and ya know she’s there with her… I mean maybe boyfriend, maybe husband… I don’t know. But ya know we’re all there, we’re talking and ya know I mean again just like typical health maintenance, standard G.Y.N. visit questions. Umm… and she’s just like, “Everything’s good, everything’s good, good. Ya know, nothing’s wrong.” Umm and I was like, ya know, finish everything up and ya know we weren’t allowed to examine them especially as like a guy student in there by ourselves so I was leaving to go get the resident and uh… ya know all of a sudden her like boyfriend cuts in, he goes, “Uh uh. Uh uh. We ain’t lettin’ him leave. If you ain’t gonna say it I’m gonna say it!” and she was like, “No, no, no! Don’t you say it, don’t you say it!” and he’s like, “Nah, nah, someone’s gotta hear it. Yo pussy stank!” and I mean I almost lost it. And he was like, “Girl be tryin’ to get me to go down on her every single night. You in this room! You smell what it’s like! Imagine putting’ yo face up in that!” I just remember like, going out and the resident was like, “Oh, what’s she here for?” and I’m like, “Hmm… Her pussy’s stank!”
HHD: In our anatomy lab, how it worked was, you had one body that you were sharing among four medical students. Each group of two would take one side of the cadaver. My partner happened to be six foot two. One day, we were in the anatomy lab and he was showing me what he had discovered right before a test. And he — and I was chewing gum. And it happened that just at the moment that I was looking up to talk to him with a mouthful of gum, our partners on the other side flicked a piece of fascia from the arm up into the air and it landed in my mouth and down my throat. And I’m running around the lab going, “I ate the body! I ate the body!” I was trying to cough it up, cough it up, and I couldn’t cough it up. “I ate the body! I ate the body!” And it just so happened that the dean of admissions was also the instructor of the anatomy lab and he’s watching me run around the room screaming, “I ate the body! I ate the body!” And everyone thought it was the craziest thing. Who eats the body? And I had already swallowed it and it was too late and it was covered in formaldehyde and I didn’t know what to do. But I never chewed gum after that in the anatomy lab!
FA: Seriously! How did the fascia just land in your mouth like that? That’s so awful!
HHD: Yeah, I don’t know! They just accidentally like, well they were trying to dissect the part of the arm and it flicked up into the air. Just like the pieces of fascia from the arm. Just at the moment that I was looking up to talk to him. The funny thing is I think like a year later, some of the kids in our group were giving tours to incoming medical students and they were even saying, “Just be careful you don’t eat the body because that happened to one of our medical students this year.”
FA: Facepalm. Was that even a word half a decade ago? Is it a word even now? It’s a thing. A thing we do, and now a thing we say or type inside parentheses or brackets. And not a doctor thing. It’s a people thing. It’s a people-expressing-exasperation-to-other-people-about-other-people thing. It’s a thing that exists for the singular purpose of creating a shared experience of humanity’s absurdity with humanity. Kind of like this episode. But it is a thing, because clearly we citizens of Earth desperately need it to be. Look: We’ve all been idiots or had idiocy thrust upon us. Not just doctors. Is there something to be learned here, gleaned from the mental image of a rectally-embedded giant dildo or the imagined sound of smegma falling onto an exam room floor? Nope. Probably not. These anecdotes don’t even work as a PSA, because, honestly none of you would do these things... right? This episode is a check-in with reality, and with ourselves, as well as a reminder that we are all one embarrassing moment away from being someone else’s story. So thank you to our doctors, and in particular Haren Heller Dane, for giving us something to chew on — and lots to laugh about — because laughter still is the best medicine.
Thank you to: Doctors Michael Coords, Sarah Coates, Haren Heller Dane, Emma Husain and Christopher Carrubba. The My First Cadaver Team; Papa Claire Music & Compulsion Music; our Nerf-blasting friends at Salted Stone. And special thanks to Robert Meekins who is NOT a doctor.
Stay tuned for Episode 5 — coming soon to a listening device near you. Don’t forget to check out our blog for additional content. That’s blogmfc.com. And if you haven’t done so already, if you could rate us in iTunes, that’d be sweet. And remember, guys: Don't chew gum in the anatomy lab or you could end up eating your first cadaver.
MFC Team: “…never masturbated it’s not a sexual release, then we’re going to a sexual thing that happened and then we’re going to a guy not going down on a woman because of her sexual issue. So I think that that’s the correct grossness order. You can’t go from sun protection to dildo! It’s impossible. You have to go smegma or with the ass… That works…right?” “Well… yeah!”
MTS AD: This episode of My First Cadaver was sponsored by Med School Tutors. Not everyone needs a friendly wizard with giant eagles to rescue them from the pit of a volcano. Sometimes all you need is a fellowship of tutors armed with unmatched talent, experience and resources to accompany you on your journey. That’s the kind of power we wield. Let Med School Tutors be a part of your origin story. Together, we can save the world.
This transcript was for My First Cadaver, a medical and medical school podcast.