Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Oh my god, it's full of wax

So the med student had been off to assess this 1 year old, who was fine, and I'd gone in afterwards to check him out.  All was ok, but the kid certainly did have waxy ears (the patient, not the student).  No biggie.  The main task is to dissuade the parents from trying to prise/scrape/plunge/burn the wax out in future.

And as usual, I got the med student to do the write-up which I then counter-signed.  But, as always, I like to read what I'm actually signing, and when I got to one particular sentence I did a double-take:
"Unable to visualize tympanic membrane due to excess ceruleum"

From the context, waxy ears, but what the hell is ceruleum?  I'm 99% certain he meant to write "cerumen".  So I show it to my colleague Dr Rmo, and we have a good old chuckle about it.  Then it occurs to us that ceruleum might be a real thing rather than a typo, so we google it.  And it turns out that:

"Ceruleum is an energy source in Final Fantasy XIV. Ceruleum is a refined form of Aether, obtained by draining elemental Crystals of their energy, usually in processing factories. It is a powerful yet highly unstable source of energy, mainly used by Garlean Empire to power Magitek engines."

At which point we basically pissed our pants laughing. 

But honestly, it's not the first time this kind of thing has happened.  I remember when I was an intern on nights, trying over and over to get a nasogastric tube down into an elderly lady with a bowel obstruction.  Eventually I sent her for a lateral neck x-ray and, sure enough, she had a retro-pharyngeal deposit of dilithium which was almost blocking her oesophagus.

Then there was the guy whose prostate was jam-packed full of unobtanium, preventing me from forcing a urinary catheter through.  I would tell you about the young woman and her vibranium but that might be sailing too close to the wind.  Suffice it to say that a day without an orifice filled with imaginary power sources is like a day without sunshine.

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