I’ve always thought that one way to tell if you’re truly fluent in another language is if you can make a joke in the language–humor requires not just meaning and proper grammar, but a level of comfort with the language and a good sense of comic timing. It’s totally true for the medical languages, too.
Case in point: at the beginning of this month’s rotation, I attended a weekly neuroradiology conference where the attendings kept making these only-funny-to-neurologist jokes about patient’s MRI scans, and I didn’t get a single one. They all went right over my head, but everyone else in the room was just cracking up.
Yesterday in clinic, I found myself making an only-funny-to-neurologist joke while evaluating a teenager with chronic daily headaches. As I sat down to present to the attending, I said, “Looks like a pretty classic case of giant cell arteritis,” and I got a good laugh from her.
Giant cell arteritis is a headache disease, but only presents in people over the age of 55. Ha! Err… ha. Sigh. Soooo lame.