Layman's teaching

  1. I was just curious if anyone has any specific antedoctal teachings that they use to help the layperson understand complicated medical procedures or diseases.

    One that I use is to describe on how the heart pumps. Now mind you that I live in a somewhat rural area and deal with an elderly population. I explain that the heart works like how you milk a cow. yes how you milk a cow. Don't even ask me how I managed to come up with that one. But to milk a cow (which I have never done) you have to squeeze from the top and then squeeze it out of the bottom. Atria/ventricle respectively.

    Another I use is to explain what bypass surgery is. I compare bypass surgery to local streets that are congested and slow or blocked. Then compare it to a highway in which things flow pretty freely. A bypass is like making an interstate ramp to a highway that cuts off all that slow traffic. Then when the graft from the leg it is just the opposite. They took that major highway out of the leg so now the blood must get around in smaller vessels or streets, making more congested thus causing edema.
    I know that it is silly and perhaps mildly degrading to talk down in such a manner. I feel that most of our elderly population don't really understand the medical procedures that we subject them to and just close their eyes and wish for the best. I have used both of these antecdotes many times. I have yet to hear anything but thank you. Anyway, any other stories out there love to hear them.
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    About moonshadeau, ADN, BSN, MSN, APN, NP, CNS

    Joined: Jul '00; Posts: 639; Likes: 70
    Specialty: 15 year(s) of experience