Sunday, September 8, 2013

Overly Clinical Thinking: Also Known As Foot-in-Mouth Disease

Last night I posted this picture on Instagram (note the bruises):

Caption: Moving makes me look like I have a coagulopathy. Or experience IPV. :-/ (I don’t.)  #ecchymosis #medstudent

My Instagram is linked to my Twitter, so I also tweeted the picture & caption. Within a few minutes, a women replied to my tweet:

For those of you who don’t know, IPV stands for Intimate Partner Violence. (If you're unfamiliar with the topic, I strongly recommend that you read about IPV on the ACOG website & elsewhere.) I consider myself fairly well educated on IPV and also highly sensitive to the issue. 

So why did I joke about it?

The truth is: I wasn’t joking. I’ve become totally immersed in medical school & now automatically describe things in terms of symptoms, diseases, etc. (For the record, I also don’t think coagulopathies are funny.) Where an 8-year-old might say something like, “I look like a leopard,” my instinct is to describe bruises in terms of medical descriptors (& to use the correct term: ecchymosis).

These words have seeped into my thought process: I now think clinically & medically. This is both good and bad. It’s good in the sense that I no longer feel like I’m hearing a foreign language all day, every day. (Wow, the beginning of 1st year was awful…) It’s bad because I have the sneaking suspicion this is not the first person I’ve unknowingly offended.

(I’m also thinking that looking at pictures of dissected penises in coffee shops might have been poor form.)

I really appreciate that woman for pointing out my mistake. This was a good learning experience. Unfortunately, I don’t have a solutions; I’m just observing the phenomenon. If anyone knows how to stop yourself before offending others, please share!

P.S. I just created an Instagram account for my blog: @thehealthscout. Please follow & let me know when I'm offensive. Or stupid. Thanks. :)

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