Any Sores Or Discharges Coming From Your Penis?

I am thinking about talking to Wee One about her body, how I’m going to talk to her without making a face. As I was thinking about it, a memory from work popped up.

Part of the intake process with new clients included a health form required by the state. Since I’m a social worker, not a doctor, I simply asked for yes or no answers to a rundown of possible bodily ailments and made referrals to a health clinic as necessary.

One time, I had a Vietnamese client who was also mentally ill, so sometimes it was hard to understand him, trying to sift through his accent, his English-is-my-second-language word choice, or his delusion.

Part of the health form asked about sexual history asked (I’m paraphrasing) “Do you have any sores or discharge coming from your penis?”

He said, “What do you mean?”

It is one of my prouder professional moments: I didn’t laugh, I didn’t crack a smile, nothing that would make him feel uncomfortable. After all, these questions are pretty invasive.

My coworker, on the other hand, was not so graceful. She was at the file cabinet nearby and snorted when she heard his question. (Yes. I know, HIPPA regulations, but we only had so much to work with and couldn’t always work it out. Normally, I would show clients the question to mark themselves, but he couldn’t read English.)

She actually choked herself and had to leave the office and cough/laugh awhile, and I could have throttled her for making my job harder.

So I think I can handle whatever WO throws at me.




3 thoughts on “Any Sores Or Discharges Coming From Your Penis?

  1. I think I would have had trouble staying professional in this circumstance, so I’m very impressed that you handled it so gracefully (even if your colleague didn’t) 😉

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