If you’re confused about the title of this post, you probably haven’t seen the movie Kindergarten Cop. Kindergarten Cop is a comedy starring bodybuilder-turned-actor-turned-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. In the movie a character states, “It might be a tumor” to which Ah-nuld replies, “It’s not a tumah!” Another memorable movie line comes from Forrest Gump: “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Personally I like to stick a toothpick in my chocolates, that way I always know what I’m going to get. But I digress. Sometimes I feel like my job as an internist is like a box of chocolates, I never know what I’m going to get. Patients come to see me with all sorts of illnesses, injuries and complaints. I might see a patient with a headache followed by a patient with hemorrhoids followed by a patient with herpes. I never know what’s going to walk through my office door. Like this 20-something female patient…..
Patient: I was feeling around, you know, in there and I felt some kind of bump.
Me: A bump?
Patient: Yes a bump. Or maybe a growth. Or a tumor.
Just so you’re perfectly clear, when the patient said she was feeling around “in there”, she was referring to her vagina. Why were her fingers in her vagina? Maybe she had an itch that needed scratching. Maybe she was looking for her tampon. Maybe she was bored. I don’t know, I didn’t ask. But she felt something in her vagina and thoughts of vaginal cancer were now flooding her brain. Vaginal cancer is not very common so it was not likely that her vaginal bump was a tumor. Possible, but unlikely. It was my job to figure out what this vaginal bump was. As I examined the patient, I felt the patient’s vaginal bump and determined its cause.
Me: Did you feel this bump at the back of the vagina?
Me: Did it feel smooth and round?
Patient: Yes it did.
Me: Did you feel a small hole or dimple in the center of it?
Me: That’s not a tumor. That’s your cervix.
Yes, life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get. Like a tumor. Or just a cervix.