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My parents the doctors

23 Aug 2013


Because of their insane schedules, parents didn’t know what a weekend was Pic: Burger/Phanie/Rex


Dr Muiris Houston

In a light-hearted mood, Dr Muiris Houston retells some humorous and acute observations he came across of growing up in a medical household.

In honour of the media ‘silly season’ and the fact that many of you are either on holiday or have just come back from a break, this week’s column is a light-hearted one.

I came across the following on the Buzz feed website. Written by a young journalist, both of whose parents are doctors, it is a thoughtful take on the many signs that show you may have been brought up in a medical family.

I’m sure you will recognise many of these; if not, your offspring certainly will.

• Your parents have no qualms about bringing up bodily functions at the dinner table.

• There are books with pictures of organs all over the house… including genitals, but it’s not weird!

• When you or one of your friends have a bruise/cut/throbbing pain, you call your parents first before seeing your own doctor.

• You’ve grown an appreciation for all corny doctor jokes.

• You got used to your parents diagnosing your friends without them even asking, and now you kind of do it too.

• Unless you’ve severed a finger, you never went to the doctor, because the doctor lived in your house.

• But most things could be fixed with paracetamol, or ice. (Or so the doctor told you.)

• You’re unfazed by medical shows on TV, because you’ve heard more medical stories than you’d care to remember.

• If you decided to follow in your parents’ footsteps, then you were THE CHOSEN CHILD… Because becoming anything other than a doctor was considered a sin.

• And when someone was on-call, you had to be as quiet as a mouse during every phone call.

• You know what medical gloves are REALLY for…

• Because of their insane schedules, your parents didn’t really know what a weekend was.

• If you broke an arm or needed any kind of surgery, you had the best doctors and nurses in the area to take care of you.

• Hospitals and doctors’ offices didn’t terrify you one bit.

• Because you spent a lot of time visiting your parents there as a kid, when you went to the hospital for something embarrassing, every doctor and nurse knew exactly who you were.

• You grew up with free band-aids, rubber gloves and medicine, and are angered that you need to pay for these things as an adult.

• Thermometers? No, all your parents had to do was put a hand to your forehead to tell if it was serious.

• And you were never able to get away with faking sick, BECAUSE YOUR PARENTS KNEW THE TRUTH.

• You’re always really proud to tell other people what your parents do for a living.

Doctor, doctor…

Meanwhile, here are some medical jokes and anecdotes I came across recently:

For Biology, a boy was assigned a paper on childbirth and asked his mother: “How was I born?”

“Well honey…” said the slightly prudish mother, “the stork brought you to us.”

“Oh,” said the boy, “and how did you and daddy get born?”

“Oh, the stork brought us too.”

“Well, how were grandpa and grandma born?” the boy persisted.

“Well darling, the stork brought them too!” said the mother, by now starting to squirm a little.

Several days later, the boy handed in his paper to the teacher, who read with confusion the opening sentence: “This report has been very difficult to write due to the fact that there hasn’t been a natural childbirth in my family for three generations.”

CAT laughs

People easily forget that us doctors are human too. We get frustrated by certain patients and clinical scenarios, as illustrated by this extract from a consultant neurologist’s letter to a GP.

“This lady’s CAT scan and other investigations were normal. She continues to have headaches, but, interestingly, when she went to Cuba they disappeared. The same thing happened during her trip to Poland. I considered putting her on Amitriptyline 25mg at night, but on reflection I am putting her on a plane to Cuba with the suggestion that she book a one-way ticket.”

Engine trouble

And my favourite from the recent crop:

A mechanic was working in the garage pit removing some engine valves when he spotted a famous heart surgeon waiting in the office for the service manager. He shouted across the garage, “Hey doc. Come over here for a minute.”

Somewhat taken aback, the cardiac surgeon walked over to where the mechanic was working on the car.

In a loud voice that everyone could hear, the mechanic said: “So mister famous doctor, look at my work. I also take valves out, grind them, put in new parts; when I’m finished this baby will purr like a kitten. So how come you get paid such big bucks when you and me are basically doing the same job?”

The surgeon, now quite embarrassed, shook his head and replied in a soft voice, “Try doing your work with the engine running.”

Have a relaxing week.

Date: 
23 August 2013

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