Tuesday, May 28, 2013

You Want Me to WHAT?

I was recently at a conference where a nursing educational supplies vendor was displaying her wares in the vendor hall. As we rounded the corner, we saw arm panels with veins for teaching IV placement, pads with reservoirs beneath for teaching subcutaneous injection techniques, faux drugs, and various other supplies.

My father is a general practitioner, so when I was a little girl, I learned all of the proper anatomical terms. I learned that one is supposed to have a professional clinical detachment from taboo and general goosiness that laypeople have about parts of the body. However, it wasn't just the specific anatomical structure lying on the table that got my attention- I really think it was the velvet-flocked fitted display case in which it was kept.

As we perused the vendor's wares, she picked up that particular item and told us, gushingly, how she was very proud to have designed it, explaining that while for women, self-examination for cancerous nodes and lesions is a given and pushed via the media all the time, for men, we have that infamous billboard that kind of sums their situation up quite nicely. She asked if we'd like to take the item out of its box and feel it.

We both immediately declined, since there was a PR photographer as well as a videographer roaming around the exhibits.

If you're still wondering what this object was, it was an accurate and realistic human scrotum model, as the vendor said, "Complete with nodules!" When I told my father about it, I was ready with a placemat to deflect the coffee which he predictably sprayed all over the breakfast nook at their house. As soon as he recovered, I received the Official Dr. Airedaleparent Lecture on Scrotal Examination. It was enlightening as well as mortifying.

I think that wins for "most unusual vendor item I've ever seen at an academic conference," since one does not typically find disembodied scrota floating around at library conferences.

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