Monday, February 13, 2012

Tales from Med School: Drool

When I was doing my anesthesia rotation, I remember one of the nurses complained that the unconscious patient drooled all over her.

Another nurse said something like, "So? It's only baby spit."

Actually, even though patient was about 8 or 9, she had a good point: patients slobber on you a lot, and it's much less unpleasant to be slobbered on by a kid. The younger the better. (Well, maybe not BETTER, but less unpleasant.)

After that comment, I started to wonder who is the least or most unpleasant person that can drool on you. Obviously, a loved one's drool is not that bad. Baby drool is definitely on the low end as well, barely even icky at all if it's your own baby. I have been covered in baby drool and barely cared. My daughter, who is no longer a baby, sometimes licks me for some reason... and that's not so bad either. I guess as a person gets older, their drool becomes more and more disgusting, especially after that big jump during adolescence. I think in general, 20 year old drool is a lot better than 89 year old drool. I also think that senile people with candida have worse drool.

And of course, there is the question of male vs. female. I think female drool is probably better than male, if only because women have smaller mouths so I'd guess there's less of it. But the age thing still applies... 20 year old male drool is better than 89 year old female drool.

Wow, what a disgusting entry. I'm so sorry.


  1. Out of all the possible bodily fluids, drool still has to be near the better option. Blood surprisingly is the least offensive, as if I ever get it on my arm, it's my fault, and a clean liquid, as far as bodily fluids go.

    Bodily fluids I don't want touching me include (but not limited to):
    and in no particular order.

  2. A mouth with rotting teeth, garlic breath or infection would be horrific. My sister once told me that she chose her specialty based on which bodily fluids she wanted to avoid (sputum/mucus and earwax) which is why she became an OB/GYN rather than primary care.

  3. So this has nothing to do with today's drool post but I'm frantically searching for this awesome over-view of medical school I read once. It was like- Med School, In a Nutshell, For Dummies, The Reader's Digest version. I was fairly positive you wrote it because, well, you're my favorite Dr. Blogger. So... am I mistaken?

  4. Does drooling on my boyfriend's arm when I've fallen hard asleep count as disgusting?!?!?!! He found it cute. I was embarrassed!

  5. Melanie: Sorry, I didn't write it as far as I know....

    A Doc 2 Be: I guess I forgot to categorize a loved one's drool, which is definitely less gross than random drool.

  6. I think the appeal of saliva is inversely related to the number of things besides saliva in it (communicable diseases, leftover meals, aromatic compounds, etc.). For me, demographics do not play as much a role.

  7. I agree, young drool is better than old drool. sleeping/ unconscious drool is better than alert drool. Random, old, conscious/unconscious drool takes the cake. I think the locattion where you are drooled on matters as well... arm drool > face drool.