Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Pimp to Live. Live to Pimp.

Dear Friends,

The Hard Taco Song for March is called "This Library Isn't Big Enough." This song subverts and disrupts all of the norms. I'm having some problems uploading large files on the new Hard Taco site today. The link to the song still works, but the file is in Dropbox rather than the Hard Taco site. I hope to have this fixed within a few days, so we can all go back to propagating and engendering norms, rather than subverting and disrupting them.

Do I Pimp? Indeed, I do. I certainly don't engage in it every day, but I muster up a good pimping at least twice a week.

If you've ever been a medical student, or had to sit next to one on a long bus ride, you are familiar with this terminology. Pimping is when the teaching physician peppers you with questions to test your knowledge, usually in a public setting. Here's an example:

Med Student 1: Dr. Gelb likes to pimp people about tropical camel pox, so be sure to read up about that before you work with him.
Med Student 2: I'll have to read about it online. My pimp doesn't let me pay full price for textbooks.

(In this scenario, Med Student 2 is also an actual prostitute.)

No one has ever explained to me what pimping has to do with medical education. Exposing a student's ignorance of rote facts can be humiliating, but I fail to see the parallels with facilitating business for a sex worker and demanding a percentage of the earnings. True, doctors and pimps both wear shin-length coats, but one is white polyester and the other is exotic fur and purple velvet.  True also, the reflex hammer is the functional equivalent of the leopard glass pimp cane, but beyond that, there are few similarities. I predict that one of the two meanings of pimping will fall out of favor in the coming years, but which one?

Anyway, one of my most embarrassing moments as a medical student was a time I got a pimp question right.

I was on my obstetrics and gynecology rotation. It was my first true overnight call, and I was thoroughly uncomfortable with everything. In order to look busy, I spent the early evening going from room to room and asking pregnant women if they needed more ginger ale.

At some point, the attending obstetrician recognized that I was actively useless and told me to tag along with her. Unbeknown to me (or "unbeknownst to me" if you're reading this aloud at a Ren Faire), this attending was essentially a pack of flashcards with feet. Clearly, she had spent years elevating her pimping game to new levels of speed and monotony.

What is HELLP syndrome?
I'm not sure.

What is Chadwick's sign?
I've heard of that...

How do you calculate the amniotic fluid index?
The volume of the amniotic fluid divided by... I'm not sure.

What are the signs of ectopic pregnancy?
Um. Shouldn't I go see if the patient in 314 needs someone to top off her ginger ale?

I was batting 0.000. I literally knew none of the answers, and she just kept going. In the midst of this, we walked into a room where an expectant mother was actively pushing. The obstetrician put on a fresh pair of gloves and got down in the hoo hoo area to take a look. (As you can see, I truly learned nothing on my obstetrics rotation.)

Things were happening down there, but the obstetrician just kept pimping like she had rack of 24 karat teeth.

What are the three types of decelerations on a fetal heart monitor?
Mild? Is mild one of them?

Meanwhile, the miracle of birth was unfolding before us. The baby was crowning, the mom was clenching and hyperventilating, and her husband was standing off to the side with a video camera, clearly indecisive about where to point it. He kept going back and forth between her face and crotch, obviously aware that neither subject was really looking its best at that moment.

Finally, the obstetrician pulled the whole baby out, lifted it up, and said in a cheerful voice, "Okay, Dad, what is it?"

And before she could even flip the baby over to face them, I yelled, "It's a BOY!"

The obstetrician handed the baby to mom, looked at me and said between gritted teeth, "I was talking to him, Dumbfart." Except she didn't say fart.

To be fair, every sentence out of her mouth up until that point had a been a pimp question directed at me. And to be even more fair, "Okay, Dad, what is it" sounds a lot like "Okay, Zach, what is it," although the odds that she knew my first name were precisely zero.  Still, I wasn't about to pass up an opportunity to get one right. I saw this baby before anyone else and I immediately recognized that it had a penis. I knew this one! I got this! In my mind, I was finally going to redeem myself for hours of ineptitude.

That baby is probably graduating from high school this year. I didn't stick around long enough to learn his name, so I'll address him as Boy.

Boy, I was there when you came into this world. Assuming your parents haven't shown you the video of your birth, let me play spoiler for a second time in your life. Here's what happens in that home movie: Your mom's face, your mom's crotch, your mom's face, your mom's crotch, lots of screaming, lots of swearing, lots of mucus, and a big popping sound. Some lady who looks like she should have a gold dollar sign necklace starts holding you up, Simba-style.

Then, in an extraordinary display of perception, a young stranger quickly synthesizes three years of intensive medical training, and loudly deduces a very compelling explanation for the appearance of your genitalia: You are a boy.

The obstetrician then deduces that he is a dumbfuck. End scene.

With warmest regards,