ROCHESTER, MN—Patients don’t always comprehend what their doctors tell them whether it’s due to language barriers, hearing difficulties or the use of complex medical jargon by the doctor. Sometimes these miscommunications are harmless, sometimes they are fatal and other times, as in the case of Michael Mustard, they can lead to embarrassing results.
Last week, his doctor, Chandler Chutney, made what he thought was a clear recommendation to go to the Mayo Clinic; Mr. Mustard, however, heard a recommendation for a mayo colonic.
Mr. Mustard, who has long been under the care of Dr. Chutney for a mysterious digestive disease that has been resistant to all therapies, had a recent follow-up appointment. There, Dr. Chutney explained that he had nothing else to offer him, and in his thick Indian accent, said, “I recommend Mayo Clinic,” as in perhaps a specialist at the famed medical institution could figure out how to help Mr. Mustard. But Mr. Mustard heard “I recommend mayo colonic,” and to him, after trying out so many other therapies, a colonic, or colon cleanse, seemed a reasonable option for his digestive issues.
“See how easy it is for a doctor-patient miscommunication to happen,” said Mustard. “Yes, I thought it was weird that he wanted me to use a creamy condiment like mayonnaise as the cleanser, but who am I to question the expertise of my doctor?”
The patient went on to describe his mayo colonic experience: “Well, I took a tube, inserted it into my rectum and then I infused my colon with gallons and gallons of creamy, fatty mayo. There was so much fat in my colon that my poop basically became unsinkable—no matter how many times I flushed, it just wouldn’t go down. Crazy mayo colonic! It was hell, man!”
“The funny thing is,” said Mustard, “is that it actually worked! Maybe its fatty contents helped me digest fat-soluble stuff better. Who knows? But I’ve actually started to feel better since I started the mayo colonics, which I now do twice daily. I think I’ve bought every mayo tub from every Costco and Sam’s Club in Minnesota. Those stores just can’t keep up with me.”
When this stunned reporter reminded Mr. Mustard that just a few moments prior, he described the mayo colonic as “it was hell, man,” Mustard laughed and said, “See, I told you it’s so easy to miscommunicate. I said ‘it was Hellmann’s’, as in the brand of mayo I used.