"Obsceneties" Sonographers Say and What They REALLY Mean


Sonographers, like many people in the medical field, tend to be quite the breed of their own.  If you're ever at a hospital or clinic and get the sense that the medical professionals around you are talking to one another in tongues, then you know exactly what I mean.

But what about those embarrassing times when technicians are NOT talking it up in fancy medical jargon, and what you hear is even worse than if they were?

Have you ever had one of those awkward moments when you understood EXACTLY what was coming out of a medical practicioner's mouth, only it sounded so ridiculously, obscenely crazy that you only hoped that you somehow misunderstood?

Well, rest assured that you most likely DID misunderstand something.  And in this article I am going to do some translating for you! #playheroicmusichere

After many conversations with my sister (aka a Sonographer), I have compiled my top five sonography-related vulgar-sounding phrases that you may hear from an ultrasound technician...and what they ACTUALLY mean:

1. "I like scrotums!"  This isn't what is sounds like (I swear!).  Ultrasound technicians slave away to combine their meticulous knowledge of sound wave physics with delicate hand maneuvers to capture quality images of their subjects' organs and body tissue, and male parts just happen to be one of the fastest and easiest things to scan.  It can be embarrassing for a Sonographer to spend time and energy on, say, an unborn baby, only to wind up with a total failure of a set of images.  In contrast, after a sonographer's tenth or fifteenth scrotum scan, he or she automatically registers scrotums as one of those fool-proof esteem-boosters that look awesome in his or her ultrasound portfolio (they don't actually have portfolios, silly goose!  This isn't photography 101).

2.  "Eww, I don't want the baby!  Gimme thyroids and scrotums!" If you read the explanation above, you should no longer take a startled double-glance if you happen to be walking past open doors in a hospital or clinic and hear these words exclaimed from the lips of excited ultrasound technicians.  You thought cutesy babies and blossoming embryos were the highlight of everyone's day?  Think again, grasshopper.  Consider yourself warned.

3. "Wow, I just have to say that I LOVE your pancreas!"  If you hear a Sonographer say this while scanning your abdomen, just take the compliment and run with it.  See, after working in a world composed of black, white, and shades of grey (heh get it shades of grey) shadows (literally) and silently diagnosing pathological organs (they are not allowed to tell you if they actually spot something negative during a scan), sonographers can lose touch with the more typical, socially-acceptable compliments that we may award those acquaintances that we come into contact with during our day-to-day work.  If a Sonographer likes your pancreas, it's almost the same thing as if he or she compliments your new shoes.  Almost.

4. "Look at that big, beautiful spleen!"   No, this is not a pick-up line.  Re-read my explanation for number three and move on with your life.  She's probably not interested.  And the same goes for, "What lovely, perfectly round ovaries you have!"  Yes, he may say this, and no, he doesn't want your number (well, maybe your patient ID number, but not your phone number...you know what I mean).

5. "I'll need a condom for this patient..." If you ever hear this, please take a deep breath and try not to get judgy-smurf on your ultrasound technician.  Contrary to what it may sound like, the chance are likely that he or she is not acting inappropriately at work.  Endoscopic probes (you probably don't want to know what that is so I won't even explain) are covered in latex sheathing in order to add one more layer of hygiene for patients...especially in fertility clinics.  And it just so happens that condoms are an ideal size and material to "glove" the probe, so to speak, so that's why they are used.  Don't be the one caught with your mind in the gutter if you ever hear this phrase from your family Sonographer!

Congratulations!  You are now informed before your next ultrasound check-up and are officially ready to hear any variation of the below phrases while totally keeping your cool.  Well, maybe you'll be allowed a or chuckle or two, but make it choppy--we've got work to do.

I want to thank my sister Hanah, the family ultrasound technician, for literally saying four out of five of the above phrases to a very startled little sister (yes dear reader, that little sister would be me) during our random sister conversations.  Which four do you think she was guilty of?

Have YOU ever heard anything misleading from anyone in the medical field?  

Do share!

Dena AtassiComment