I was in clinic today talking with a new patient, a fairly healthy 40-year-old woman, and as part of my routine sexual history I asked if she had ever had a STD (sexually transmitted disease). She responded with "I had something a few years ago, but it turns out she had a cold." I did not understand at all what she meant, so I asked her to repeat herself, to which she again said "She had a cold."
I had no clue what she was talking about. I had no idea who "she" was. I assumed I was simply zoning out while the patient was talking earlier and thus must have missed who "she" was. Thinking the patient may have been referring to a female sexual partner, but not wanting to appear as if I hadn't been listening, I casually asked her "Oh, your female partner?" and she again responded with "No, she had a cold."
Still without a clue as to who had this cold, I then asked "You mean your doctor? So your doctor had a cold?" and she again said "No, she had a cold."
I was about to lose it. Who is she? Who had this cold?
I finally blurted aloud, "OK who are you referring to?"
She then pointed with both hands to her crotch and said, "SHE had a cold!"
Oh. Ohhh. Her. Well excuse me. Couldn't you simply have given her a name and made this easier from the start?
I did laugh, though ... and yes, in front of her.
(And no, I still have no idea what she meant by "a cold".)