Medical Dinner Conversation Gone Awry…You’ve Been There

If you’re a medical professional or student, you’ve been there before. You take a seat at the dinner table with friends or family and the conversation begins with some version of “What’s new with you?” or “How was your day?”. Well, as a nurse practitioner or nursing student “What’s new with you” probably has to do with a long day at the hospital addressing situations completely inappropriate for dinner table conversation. But, you just can’t help yourself

So, you start talking. A few minutes into your excited chatter about the most disgusting thing that happened to you recently on the hospital floor (typically having to do with bowel movements, putrid odors and/or unsightly parts of the human body) you realize that your dinner companions are staring back at you dumbfounded. Some can’t believe that you brought up such a topic at the table where they now sit picking unappetizingly at their food. Others had no idea the types of situations you commonly encounter as a nurse practitioner, their faces shocked that you actually enjoy your job.

This weekend at dinner, I experienced a medical conversation gone awry. And, I wasn’t even the one who brought up the topic. Making the most of the Labor Day weekend, my husband and I invited a few family members and our beloved neighbors over to grill. It was a pretty classy grill out. Pork tenderloin garnished with grilled peaches, pasta salad tossed with fresh herbs and a huge green salad adorned with perfectly ripe avocado slices graced our kitchen table. The menu may have been top-notch but our minds quickly went to the gutter.

Discussing the topic of surgery (reason unknown), my neighbor brought up a strange circumstance one of her surgeon family members had encountered in the past. Selecting his cases for the day, out of interest he opted for oddest listing on the surgery department board-“vine growing out of vagina”. Doing further due diligence before the procedure he discovered that no, the patient did not have some sort of tumor that looked like a vine, she had an actual plant sprouting from her insides.

While I don’t doubt my friend’s integrity, I called B.S. on the story. Surely this phenomenon was impossible. So, the dinner conversation took a further dive into the realm of inappropriateness as I did some quick research on my phone for ‘potato meets who-ha’ between bites of crispy romaine and avocado. It turns out the vine from the lady parts situation is far more common than you might think.

Some mothers in Latin America it seems advise their daughters that placing a potato ‘up there’ prevents pregnancy. The potato as contraception technique has been mentioned in Lissa Rankin’s book What’s Up Down There? Questions You Would Only Ask Your Gynecologist if She Was Your Best Friend and the Peruvian flick La Teta Asustada. Modern Farmer also covered a story about a Columbian woman who experienced the vine-growing spud of a situation last year.

Given the number of my dinner guests with a medical related profession, we were all able to thoroughly enjoy dessert after our 30 minute (Ok, maybe 45 minute…) chat about tots facing unfortunate contraceptive fates. While I definitely learned something new at dinner this weekend, it’s not a topic I would recommend analyzing in your own kitchen. Nurses station talk, perhaps?


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