While professionalism and appropriateness are very much a part of medicine, so is laughter.
Just today, I met a patient who I’ll call Meera. Meera came in for a colposcopy (cervical biopsy) after finding out she had an abnormal Pap smear. I could tell she was a little nervous (two weeks earlier she had also had a difficult IUD placement), so we chatted for a bit, and then I began to go over the consent form that she would need to sign before the procedure.
As we were finishing, I explained, “if the area where we took the biopsy bleeds, I will use something called Monsel’s solution. I describe this as a thick mustard-like solution…” and before I could continue, she jumped in and said, “Great, will that come with a little salt and pepper too?”
We both laughed heartily for a minute. The nervousness was gone.