The other day, I had a lovely older woman in her 80s as a patient. She spoke with the sweetest Southern drawl. A native of Kentucky, she told me, and her voice was like a smooth bourbon. She had bright blue eyes, high cheekbones, a petite frame, and her mind was sharp. I could tell she had once been a great beauty. She was prim and proper, the picture of Southern gentility. All her statements were adorned.”Thank you, darlin’.” “Please, sweetheart would you mind…” And so on.
When it came time to review her discharge instructions, I had pictures of her procedure to show her, as we do with all our patients. One of them was a picture of her vocal cords. She pointed to that picture, and said to me in her sugary Southern twang, “That looks like a twat.” She then looked saddened. “Mine doesn’t look that good anymore.”
I lost it. I laughed so hard, I had to leave the patient’s bedside to collect myself. It was the last thing in the world that I was expecting from this grandmotherly figure. When I returned, her daughter in law was extremely apologetic. “I am so sorry! I don’t know what got into her!” I told her not to worry. Her mother-in-law had made my day. And you know what? I never thought about it before, but she was right. It does.