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14 January 2008


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Wow. I even felt a little sick just reading it. Poor poor woman.


Oh. My. Gosh.

That is horrible.

Christine the Soccer Mom

That just makes my skin crawl.

Thank God (again and again) for my wonderful husband.


Well, my first thought (before reading) was "Damn, that's one chatty hygienist!". Which I guess is a very good thing, considering how bored I was at my last appt when the hygienist didn't talk at all.
And then I read it. And now I'm feeling a bit sick, too.

Margaret in Minnesota

Gee, and to think that my hygienist just comments on how many kids I have...

I'm joking. That's what I do when the subject matter makes me uncomfortable, and certainly this story does.


Imagine when they come to the ER with a potentially serious problem. I saw a youngish Somali woman in the ER during med school - she was there for abdominal pain. The potential diagnoses in abdominal pain are wide, especially in a female - everything from constipation to ectopic pregnancy (there are wide cultural variations in the ability to localize and describe the quality of pain). I couldn't fully examine her, and her husband had to be present the whole time. What do you do?

In addition, the cultural attitudes toward pain and pain-killers can be weird. When my mother-in-law visited us from China, she broke her dentures, so we took her to a dentist - he wanted to pull her (last remaining) 2 stubby teeth, to make a denture that would last longer. She was literally shaking in the chair before he began. It turns out that she had several teeth pulled in China without anesthetic (too expensive), and she was dreading the pain again. A shot of novacaine later, and she was happy as a clam.

I saw another woman in China having some kind of abdominal surgery (I think it was ovarian surgery of some kind - I was a baby med student in a foreign country). She was conscious, with a spinal anesthetic of some sort and was groaning and moaning during surgery. The OR nurse walked up to her, smacked the on the shoulder, and said "Why are you being so difficult?" I was stunned.

A friend of mine in China was in a motorcycle accident and broke her leg. She was in a lot of pain in the hospital and they clearly hadn't controlled her pain. Nor did they want to - as it was explained to me, painkillers can be addictive. I didn't go back to visit.


(I suppose I should add for the sake of accuracy that obviously I was not toting a tape recorder nor taking notes. What you're getting is my best reconstruction of the story from memory when I got home...)

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