Explaining the Birds and the Bees…to my Doctor

I have the nicest physician. He has a good bedside manner and makes me feel like he has all the time in the world for me. Sometimes if my blood pressure is a little high when the medical assistant first checks me in, he will chat and joke with me for a minute and then re-check it himself. Usually then it’s down to an acceptable level.

One day during a routine visit, I brought him a carton of a dozen fresh eggs from our urban backyard chicken coop. My husband and I raise chickens in our large backyard in our downtown home. Bob built the coop himself, and we like to call ourselves urban farmers.

I’d never tasted fresh eggs before and was amazed at the difference. Like my daughter said “They just taste eggier”

Dr. M opened the egg carton lid and admired all the different sizes and colors. I could tell he was  pleased.

We started talking about the chickens.  He was curious, “Does the city allow you to have chickens in your yard?” he asked.

“Well, no, not really” I said.  “The city passed an ordinance saying city dwellers could only have 2 chickens, but we have seven. Don’t tell anyone.”

He asked if our roosters ever bothered the neighbors.

“Oh, no, no,” I said. “We don’t have roosters. We don’t want any roosters! They’re noisy and they crow at dawn. We just have hens.”

He looked puzzled. “But they lay eggs? How do they do that without a rooster?”

“Yes…hens do lay eggs,” I said, glancing meaningfully at the carton of eggs he was holding. “And we sure do love the fresh eggs,” trying to steer the conversation back to egg appreciation and away from anatomy and physiology..

“But you need roosters to lay eggs” he persisted.

“Well, no,  you need roosters to get baby chicks,”  I gently corrected him.

Now I have to mention here that I happen to know he grew up in a country setting with chickens underfoot. It was my turn to be puzzled.

Regardless, it was high time to set this matter right. I took a deep breath.

“Doctor,” I said “Do you remember in medical school when you learned about women’s reproductive cycles?”


“And how females ovulate about once a month? Meaning produce an unfertilized egg?”

“Well, yes, of course” He said, nodding.

“Well..it’s the same with hens. Except that females have a twenty-eight day cycle, and hens have a twenty-four hour cycle.”

I couldn’t tell if I was making progress, but I plunged onward.

“and then if a male comes along and fertilizes the egg,  you get a baby.”


“Well, likewise, if a rooster comes along and fertilizes the egg, you get a baby chicken.”

Silence. Slight nod to indicate agreement, but no real breakthrough “Aha!” moment.

Pregnant pause ensued…..so clearly I will never be a medical instructor.


“So, doc, can I get a refill on my Naproxen?”

And now a Bonus Point

The key to  hard-boiled eggs that peel easily 

Have you ever tried to peel a hard-boiled egg where the shell sticks to the egg and you can only remove tiny broken chunks of shell with egg white attached?

Then another time the shell slides off and you’re left with a perfectly intact oval hard-boiled egg?

The difference is that fresh eggs cannot be hard-boiled. If the shell is hard to peel, the egg is fresh. If the shell peels off easily, the egg is at least ten days old.


Stay tuned for nuances of the Kreb Cycle. Maybe my next doctor’s visit.

Until next time friend,

Nurse Beth


About Beth Hawkes

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Nurse Beth (Beth Hawkes, MSN, RN-BC), is a nursing career specialist and blogs at nursecode.com. She's also the author of Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job. If you have ever submitted a resume or interviewed and never heard back, this book is for you. You will learn why never to say “I’m a perfectionist” when asked “What’s your greatest weakness?” You will be given insider tips and discover what nurse managers are really looking for in a candidate. Filled with real life examples and testimonials, “Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job” truly is the ultimate guide to composing winning cover letters, essays, resumes-and landing a nursing job. Available at Amazon.