“Say Ahhh”

I saw a patient last week who didn’t have a tongue.

Pretty soon after I began my interview I noticed that this man had a severe speech impediment. (nothing gets past Dr. PP!) We were relying on hand gestures and some writing on his part to communicate. My mind was racing!

……He has a neurological deficit…. Stroke. …Brain tumor…. Acute delirium secondary to medications….. Yeah. That sounds smart…. It’s probably that…..

Me: Can you say ahh for me?

Patient: aaaaaa

Me: Say ahh and stick out your tongue please?

Patient: aaaaaa

Me: hmmmm

……. Where is his tongue?!….. Is it somewhere in this room??…… Does he have a prosthetic tongue?….. I bet those are really expensive…..I should patent prosthetic tongues and get really rich…….

Thankfully this man was unbelievably patient and eventually explained to me that he had lost his tongue following mouth and throat cancer. Everything was smooth from then on until my attending came in the room…. and asked him to say “ahh”.

CAN WE GET A SIGN ON THE DOOR???? THIS MAN HAS NO TONGUE!

Screen shot 2012-12-12 at 12.35.47 PM

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