Endoscopic poetry…really?

Endoscopic poetry…really?

Extra “unallocated” time during the pandemic has allowed me to sift through, enjoy, organize (and trash) a lot of ancient files. One file yielded two old rhyming medical ramblings, which I share with you to enjoy (or trash).

The primary medical journal in the field of Gastrointestinal endoscopy is called “Gastrointestinal Endoscopy” (duh) shortened to GIE. It is now an academic powerhouse, full of science, but in earlier years published some odd things, including this short lament about “enteroscopy” (endoscopic examination of the small intestine)

In 1977 the only way to get an endoscope deep into the small intestine was to first have the patient swallow a weighted string and then railroad the scope over it. And, in those early days in England, colonoscopy was called “coloscopy”, EGD/OGD was called “panendoscopy.”…..and “fibre” was spelled that way.

This may be the only “poetry” to have been published in GIE (1977, 23 (3); 174)

“Ode to Enteroscopy” shared with you as printed

And here is another rhyming lament, only partially endoscopic, just found in a box of old papers. Not published (surprise, surprise) and I can’t remember why I did it. Must have been in the early 1990s when many specialists were competing to deal with gall bladder stones.

A few explanations for my non-GI friends… Urologists use ESWL (Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy) to break up kidney stones into tiny fragments that can pass. It works also for gall stones, but is not used since the stones usually recur. The ESWL treatment usually had patients in a water bath to better focus. ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde CholangioPancreatography) is great for stones in the bile duct. Early on we tried to pass a catheter though the cystic duct into the gall bladder to infuse MTBE. That stands for Methyl TerButyl Ether, which dissolved the gall stones but also everything else around them, so did not become popular.

The gall bladders lament

After meals I had a bad aching. Maybe gall stones, or another awakening?

To my doctors I’ll go, they’ll surely know, the very best treatment for me.

The Radiologist beamed bedside manner, and stroked me with his fancy scanner.

His report was precise, no doubt worth the price, but he left the dull throbbing inside me.

The Internist delved in my psyche, and found many problems, some likely,

but his trip through my brain did’nt settle the pain. Who else can I see? Someone help me!

A Gastroenterologist offered me pills, designed to dissolve all my ills,

but they tasted funny, and made me go runny, although he gave me them free.

The Surgeon of course had the answer: “All the gall bladder does is cause cancer,

I’ll save your life with my little knife”. But I wasn’t sure that he loved me.

The Urologist was a real shocker, and offered to shake up my locker.

But, I don’t think I oughter do that under water, is there no one else I can see?

The ERCP man was a thriller, approaching me through the papilla,

his catheter wizzed through my cystic duct twist and spilled out some MTBE.

My ache turned to fire and got hotter, and his ether confused me, the rotter,

that first consumation was under sedation, whatever will happen to me?

The Laparoscopist, rigid and ready, then asked if I would go steady.

“Some want to vibrate you or even inject you, but I’ve got the answer, you’ll see.

My lens sees you close, dangling free, like fruit on the biliary tree.

Once we’ve begun, we’ll have lots of fun, in the gall bladder bed, on TV”.

All this advice has confused me, none has helped and some have abused me.

The earlier pain hasn’t happened agsin, so all you keen doctors can leave me.