I work in hospital medical records, and today a co-worker came across the lovely term “rectal trumpet”. It was in a policy manual for usage so we got that it was for incontinence, but…what does it do?
And really the more pressing question is, how do you as a doctor keep yourself from cracking up in front of patients every time you say a term like that?
Ah yes, the venerable rectal trumpet! Invented in the mid-1940’s by a proctologist and amateur musician, Dr. John “Vertiginous” Gillespie, this oddly-tuneful medical instrument transformed the atmosphere of GI clinics across the US with its soothing tones, and was later skillfully utilized by Doctors Eddie “Trismus” Davis and Louis “Hypertrophic Buccals” Armstrong, who…
*can’t go on — giggling too hard*
Actually, I’d never heard of it either, but this fantastically-humorous description from ImpactedNurse.com explains how this combination of a nasopharyngeal airway + urinary drainage bag can help in cases of profuse watery diarrhea. (There’s even a terrific pun at the very (sorry) bottom of the article!)
As to your second question: I’ve often reflected on my medical training and the tragic paucity of training to deal with the real-life ridiculousness inherent to so many medical terms, procedures, and situations. It should be part of the standard med-school curriculum — a “ridiculum,” if you will. But instead, all of us healthcare workers are expected to maintain an air of aloof dignity while discussing the frequency, consistency, and odor of various bodily excretions. It’s unfair, and the internal strain of holding in any visible signs of humor can be very taxing on the poor provider.
Hmm, maybe the ancients were on to something with their "humors"-based theory of illness…