Some of the procedures/diagnoses I’ve encountered which make me glad to have a “strong stomach”…
- Checking for Pelvic Infections — There’s a particular physical exam finding which can help determine whether a woman with abdominal pain is suffering from PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease), called Cervical Motion Tenderness. This involves using two fingers to “wiggle” the cervix side-to-side. I find this procedure gross, not because of the cervical contact, but because I usually perform it after having first done a speculum exam which allows me to visualize the cervical opening — which often, in this disease, has some nasty smelly discharge flowing out of it. And for some reason, as I then proceed to wiggle the cervix with my (of course gloved) fingers, I always imagine that the motion is causing the cervix to ooze forth with more of the nasty fluid. *shudder*
- Draining Thrombosed Hemorrhoids — Watch a couple procedural videos on this website — while imaging the smell of 3-day-old roadkill. ‘Nuff Said.
- Draining Infected Sebaceous Cysts — Winner 3-years-in-a-row of the “Most gag-inducing smell by a skin condition”! And for extra fun, try draining a really tense full cyst on the back: the combination of the cyst’s internal pressure + the thick back skin which requires lots of pressure on the scalpel blade = sudden exploding smelly pus flying right at your face! (Hope you have quick reflexes… and a good cleaning service to wipe down the walls afterwards.)
- Rupturing Amniotic Membranes in a laboring pregnant woman — The feel of that warm fluid flowing over my hand is bad enough. But a couple times, the amniotic sac is under so much pressure that the fluid SHOOTS out like some horrible obstetric Old Faithful! I witnessed an ob-gyn resident catch a flying mouthful of that stuff — he wasn’t the only one gagging afterwards! (Incidentally: Google Images doesn’t have any good live pictures of “breaking waters” — somebody needs to get busy with the camera at a delivery!)