Wednesday, March 7, 2012

having a medical professional at home is supremely helpful

Since Y has been in medical school, he's gotten several midnight emergency medical questions from family members. Symptoms have ranged from vomiting and diarrhea to Lyme Disease. Every time, he's woken up and given patient, thoughtful answers, backed up with facts from whatever exclusive medical app he has access to.

Since Y has been in medical school, I've asked him several questions about my own health. Symptoms have ranged from random dizzy spells to shortness of breath. Every time, he's looked at me with a scowl and said, "I don't know. Ask a doctor!" 

Have you ever heard the phrase "the shoemaker's wife has no shoes"? I get it. I really do. 

In the past few years, there are two instances I can think of when Y has been helpful in response to a medical issue or question I've had (not including the time I got brain freeze):

1. Y looked up from his textbook. "I know why you get scared so easily!" he announced, startling me. 

"What are you talking about?" I asked, even though just that week he had accidentally scared me to the point that I almost killed him. We were running together, and near the end of our route he had slowed to a cool-down walk as I sped up for a sprint to the finish. A few seconds after I passed him, he snuck up next to me, startling me and causing me to reflexively hit him as hard as I could in the chest. I feel like I was one heartbeat off from inflicting commotio cordis.  

"You have Jumping Frenchmen of Maine syndrome!"

"You definitely just made that up," I said.

But in fact, he did not. Jumping Frenchmen of Maine syndrome is (assuming Y didn't change the Wikipedia page to play a huge joke on me) a neurological disorder.  The person who first described this disorder noted patients "reacting abnormally to sudden stimuli" including jumping, yelling, and hitting (all of which I've done). It was first observed in northern Maine, hence its awesome name. 

I think I'm going to start writing this on any form that asks for my medical conditions. The gym I join when we move isn't going to know what to do with me.

2.  Yesterday, while watching a Rogaine commercial, I turned to Y. "Do you think," I ruminated, "That if I smeared Rogaine on my face, I could grow a beard?"

Y's expression turned serious. "The major compound in Rogaine is blablabla," he said thoughtfully. "so that means bla bla bla bla. I think. Let me get my phone." He returned a moment later with his trusty medical app. "bla bla bla bla. So, no."

I'm still wondering why I often feel dizzy and get out of breath. But at least I know I can fall face first into a vat of Rogaine and be okay. 


  1. Oh my gosh, I would love to live with you guys for like a week, I think you would constantly keep me in stitches.

  2. I totally hear you with the shoemakers wife has no shoes. My husband is in medical school as well and says the same thing to me as well. When my family will ask him questions and he asks for their medical records and tests results and will spend hours trying to help them out. Whats that deal? P.S. Loving your notes from the interview trail and all other medical school spouse posts!

  3. My Dad (extremely worrier) always gives Russ a call when he's worried that something may be wrong. Poor Russ gives him all his attention when normally it's just nothing or a cold. When I ask Russ about my symptoms, which rang from serious to ridiculous depending on my mood, he tends to just shake his head and tell me I'll be fine.

    Because THAT makes me feel better.

  4. Yup, we are the shoemakers wives. . . I always have questions for J but he always tells me "I don't know, go see your doctor." However, if family or friends call they totally get the thoughtful doctor who talk them through the possibilities and whether they should see a doctor or not!

    So, totally get it. Also, if jumping frenchmen of maine is a real thing, I think it's an awesome diagnosis.

  5. we get those questions all the time. i think because i'm a nurse and he's in med school, people think it's one stop for two opinions. not too long ago my mom called christian because my brother had a fever, a rash on his hands and feet, and a swollen tongue. he had a good time researching this one and eventually concluded that my brother had mild case of rocky mountain spotted fever. mom took him to the doctor who called an infectious disease doc who said that it was unlikely to be rocky mountain spotted fever because it isn't usually found in arizona. he eventually started feeling better and his symptoms resolved. a month later christian calls me sounding like he won the lottery to tell me he read a report (either in the news or one of his AZ emergency medicine newsletters/magazines/journals/mailers/postcards) that multiple cases of rocky mountain spotted fever had been recently diagnosed in arizona. he was so stoked. :)

  6. HA. These are hilarious examples. Pretty much all medical school got me was hypochondria, I think.

    Once you get to residency, you can get some useful information/diagnoses - but your problem better relate to the specialty. I've had some foot pain lately and that doctor guy I'm married to isn't entirely helpful (and has not much interest in investigating the problem, whereas poking around in my ear, now that sounds like fun). Growing up, we always joked that my radiologist father was not a useful kind of doctor at all because he was no help on sore throats and such - but he came in handy when I went to the ER for kidney stones and he read the CT scan on his shift :)

  7. Ooooh yes. Especially from his family.

    He enjoys diagnosing mine with personality disorders... :)

    Cute new look btw.