Saturday, July 30, 2011

Condiments add flavor..

WARNING:  This is easily the most disgusting post I have ever made.  I'm serious.

Still want to read it? asked for it.

A friend of mine was a third-year medical student on his OB/Gyn rotation when he had a woman come in for a "feminine problem."  When he asked her what was wrong she gave him a brief history.  Tests later confirmed it was a Trichomonas infection, a type of sexually transmitted disease.  My friend told her it was easy to treat, that the resident would write her a prescription and it would take care of it.  The patient paused for a moment before saying the following:

"Well, I'm not really sure I want it treated.  You see, my boyfriend really likes the taste of it."

Submitted (over beers) by Pawel.

Friday, July 29, 2011

A day in the life...

This is roughly what talking to the family of a patient is like.  If the ibex called me a murderer it would be more accurate.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

What do you feed him?

The following is a story from one of our nurses:

"When I was working for a hospice company, one of my jobs was to travel to rural areas to evaluate patients for hospice services.  One afternoon I was tasked with a trip to a man's house.  Upon knocking on the door I heard a voice inside say "Come on in."  I walked through the living area and around the corner into a den that opened up into a kitchen, separated by a long bar.  Lying on that bar was a 250 lb cougar!  When the cat turned and looked at me I very quickly turned around and walked out of the house.  From that point forward I always asked the patient's families if they had pets before going to their home."


Submitted by Kelly N.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Demented patients often give us a hard time, not intentionally, but just because they don't understand exactly what is going on.  It's hard not to laugh at them sometimes, since some of them often spout meaningless or repetitive phrases endlessly on the floor.  One of the tricks we use (sort of like with children) is to redirect their attention for awhile, which sometimes works.

One day on our telemetry floor we had a very elderly man who constantly shouted "Marco! Marco! Marco!" driving the nurses crazy.  In the height of the day while walking past his room I shouted "Polo!"  He was quiet for about 45 minutes after that, according to the nurses.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Selective memory...

A patient came in recently with episodes of confusion.  We have a fairly standard battery of questions we use for something like this.  The patient was asked what day it was, he missed it by a few days.  Asked what year it was, he also missed that by a few years, then missed his house number by a few numbers.  The nurse talking to him then asked if he knew who the President was currently, to which he replied:

"Sadly, I know that one.  Obama."


Monday, July 25, 2011


ER nurses are a rare breed of people skilled in acting, reacting under pressure and saving lives. After dealing with idiots day in and day out they usually become sarcastic and jaded. My charge nurse definitely did not lack in any of these when a women called for medical advice one day.

Nurse: "Hello, this is a nurse."

Woman: "Yes I have a really bad yeast infection I am so miserable I have even had to use my turkey baster to squirt water up there to get some relief. What do you think?"

Nurse: "I think I'm not going to your house for Thanksgiving next year!"

Submitted by Jennifer H.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

House call

Went to play disc golf early and forgot to post today.

We become very jaded in the hospital, people make it hard to do our job when they are willing to do what we need them to do, it gets to the point that the ones who fight us on treatment are the ones we don't have time for. So, when a person threatens to leave against medical advice in order to "scare" us, we are more than happy to let you go. Signing out AMA absolves us of responsibility in the case and we will jump at the chance to, essentially, allow you to go die in the parking lot.

A woman in the hospital recently left AMA and left with this parting shot:

"I'm leaving. If the doctors want to call me at my house with my test results they can."


Friday, July 22, 2011

Simple math...

I had an unintentional overdose come into the hospital one night, having taken too many sleeping pills.   His family denied him being suicidal (they always do) so we had to wait until the medication wore off to question him about it.  When he woke up he gave the following story:

"Well, the doctor had switched me to a different sleeping pill than what I had been on.  When I took one and wasn't able to fall asleep, I looked at the bottle.  The pill I used to take was 100 milligrams, the one I had just taken was only 5 milligrams.  I figured the doctor had made a mistake and took 19 more to even it out.  Then I woke up here."


Thursday, July 21, 2011

The things doctors say....

One of our biggest headaches in the hospital is when a patient has any health-care professional for a son/daughter/significant other.  The worst-case scenario is when this person is a doctor, however.  When your loved one is in the hospital, no matter what your specialty, you immediately become more of an expert in their field than they ever were.

In my first year of being a hospitalist we had a man come in with a pneumonia and COPD who just refused to get better.  The pulmonologist I consulted was not able to add anything to my regimen I had put the man on, but he was unable to be weaned off of oxygen.  Our theory was that the poor man had horrible lungs for years and had just hidden this fact from his family for a long period of, time, culminating in this hospital stay.  The son, a gynecologist, refused to accept this answer and considered all of us morons, it was evident in his face.  He was very confrontational in every visit, demanding numerous tests, all of which confirmed our thoughts on the matter.  None of these seemed to help, he just became more and more frustrated and we heard stories of him calling us idiots when we left the floor.  As I was new, this was fairly disconcerting as there is nothing like self-doubt to ruin your day when you rely on your mind to make a living.  To ease my fears, the pulmonologist pulled me aside one day after a brutal tirade by the son and whispered to me:  "Dude, the guy is a vagina doctor, relax."


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Love and other drugs...

This one is just too sad, and all-too-common...

A woman in an abusive relationship was a frequent flyer at the hospital.  The routine went husband beats the Hell out of the wife, wife presents to the E.R. for treatment, husband picks her up again after she has been treated.  Rinse, repeat.  The woman had been offered help multiple times, but refused every time (this is not uncommon in abusive relationships) and would not press charges.

One night, she presented with 1st and 2nd degree burns covering both legs to about the mid-thigh.  The husband had evidently set her pants on fire in one of his tirades, then dropped her off at the E.R. again for treatment.  The E.R. physician, who had seen her multiple times in the past, came to her and the following conversation ensued:

Doctor:  "Are you finally ready to leave this guy?"

Patient:  "But I loves [sic] him!"

Doctor:  "Lady, HE SET YOUR ASS ON FIRE!"

Patient:  "But, it was only a little fire."


Submitted by Robin.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Choose your investment wisely...

Americans have misplaced priorities, whether we want to admit it or not.  We are a "gimme gimme gimme now" society without a lot of regard given to the consequences.  Our patients are often the prime examples of this.

I was working a clinic one day when I had a patient come in with an all-too-familiar complaint:

Patient:  "I can't afford the medication the doctor put me on last time I was here, my insurance didn't cover enough of it."

I told her I understood and would try and get her on a generic version of the medication or similar.  However, when I went to do her physical exam I noticed something peculiar:

Me:  "Ma'am, is that a new tattoo?"  (it was enormous and covered most of her right shoulder, covered with some sort of cellophane.

Patient:  "Yeah. You like it?  It cost me a fortune."


Monday, July 18, 2011

It's a cousin to the platypus....

From the archived recesses of a retired physician's mind:

I was working in the ER one day, when a woman we were familiar with came in.  The woman had a big heart history, multiple MIs (heart attacks) which we had treated her for.  On this day, she came in again for chest pain.  When I went in to talk to her she stopped my questions short with the following statement:  "I don't think it's my heart today, it feels more like something is stuck in my sock-a-puss."


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Liar, Liar...

People often lie to us, for reasons known only to them.  This frustrates us immensely as it hinders our ability to care for them.  We make up rules which turn out to be true more often than not:  triple the number of drinks a patient tells you he has in a day, etc...

One evening in the ER a young girl of about 16 came in for "irregular periods."  While I was questioning her, she swore that this had been going on for years and that she was still a virgin.  Part of the standard workup for something like this is to do a urine pregnancy test, even if they swear to have never had sex (see above for why).  Sure enough, when I got the results of the test she was pregnant.  When I confronted her with the result, she cried out "Aw man, not again!"


Friday, July 15, 2011

Super-size me...

Back when I was a medical student on my pediatrics rotation we were assigned to see the patients first before the pediatric residents saw them in clinic.  I reached for a chart in the hall with a chief complaint of "weight recheck."  I knocked on the door and walked in without glancing at the chart much more than that.  When I sat down inside the room I saw a large woman and her son who looked to be about 14 or 15 and probably 10-15 lbs heavier than I was.  After talking to them for a bit, the woman said "He'll be starting second grade next week, I don't think he's too big, all of my children are big."  I opened the chart again to look at the kid's age and weight and discovered he was seven years old and 180 lbs.  I was 14 inches taller than this kid and he outweighed me by 10 pounds.  I asked the mother, "so what are you feeding your kids every day?"  Her response:  "we usually go to McDonald's three times a day."


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Let me get them digits....

When I was in residency we had to complete a certain number of deliveries in order to graduate.  We followed expectant mothers from diagnosis to delivery and came to know some of them very well.  One of my favorites was a tiny little black girl I had initially told she was pregnant.  She was one of the most gorgeous black women I had ever seen and had a great personality besides.  Her boyfriend who had knocked her up was only occasionally in the picture so she was going through the pregnancy essentially alone.  June came around and I was about to go away for my destination wedding and honeymoon so I told her I would not be here the next week when she came by for her checkup.  When I told her I was getting married she suddenly became very downtrodden and kind of hung her head.  Jokingly, I said "Aww girl, were you wanting to hook up or something?" She responded very quickly and quietly with a "Well....yeah."

About a month after she delivered I saw her at her checkup and she brought me a postcard with a picture of the baby, as many moms often do.  I had it on my fridge for several months before my wife took a look at it and asked me "Are you aware that this baby is breast-feeding in this picture?"  I think that's the only time I have been legitimately allowed to display another woman's breast in the house.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A River Runs Through It...

It seems yesterday I was linked in the Corey and Jay Show's Missing Links, according to stat tracker.  To whomever did that, I appreciate it.  The next story was told to me by one of our ER physicians.

A patient with horrible COPD from years of heavy smoking presented to our ER roughly twice a week the last year of his life.  He was admitted multiple times, yet continued to smoke, thereby destroying what little working lung tissue he had remaining.  One of the nights he presented to the emergency room, gasping for air.  The physician on duty did his best to help the man, but was unable to and the man died before we were able to get him intubated.  When the physician broke the news to his wife, the poor distraught woman broke down crying, ultimately crying out loud "But he was so healthy!"


Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I look much younger than I actually am.  It is usually something I'm happy with, but occasionally it does cause a few problems at work.  When I first moved to be a hospitalist I followed an elderly woman for almost a week, trying to get her over her pneumonia.  I finally got her to the point where I thought she was ready to go home.  I walked into the room to talk with her, she seemed happy, but somewhat troubled that she could go home.  The reason became obvious a moment later when, as I was walking out of the room she said "Young man, I'm happy to go home and all, but don't you think a doctor should see me first?  I haven't seen one all week."


Monday, July 11, 2011

Save it for later...

The ER is often the source of greatest hilarity/disgust for physicians.  One night in residency I was working a night shift in the ER when I walked in to see an enormous black woman wearing a low-cut tank top.  I proceeded to ask her questions, mainly looking down at the order sheet I was writing on.  I looked up once to notice she was chewing, but figured it was gum.  After a moment she swallowed what she was gnawing on, reached her right hand into her tank top, under her breast and pulled out a half-eaten sandwich.  She took another bite then stuffed it back under her left breast.  I must have had an unusual look on my face because she stopped chewing and, with a mouth full of food asked, "Oh, did you want some?  I have plenty."


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Why I write this blog.... *warning, this post is intentionally unfunny*

Sundays are usually no-post day on here, usually because I'm tired from the work week or just because it's my blog, so deal with it.  I do get a considerable amount of flak for my posts from non-medical people who do not understand why I poke fun at what should obviously be a rich and rewarding profession.  The answer is simple:  to keep me sane and preferably suicide-free.

People who do not work in the medical field will NEVER understand what we go through.  It doesn't matter how many episodes of House or Grey's Anatomy you watch, the actual things we put up with are far more subtle and seemingly sadistic than anything they put on TV.  Medical professionals have around a 25% higher divorce rate than the general population.  Doctors have a two to three time higher risk of suicide.  To give you perspective on what this job does to me in particular, I just got off a week of night shift at our hospital.  When I drove through McDonald's this morning the large black guy who handed me my coffee looked so happy I wished I could be him, just for a moment.  Imagine the series of circumstances that occur that would make someone in a six-figure job wish they could go back to making minimum wage, even if only for a moment.  I'd bet you can't do it.  THAT is what the medical field does to you.

So, to sum up, the reason I write this blog is again, to stay sane.  If you don't like the fact that I poke fun at my patients I really do not care.  You aren't the one trying to save them while they do everything in their power to break your spirit (sometimes unintentionally, sometimes with purpose) and die anyway. We are the people who stand at the brink of life and death and watch people pass in both directions.  You need us, even if you don't think you do.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Methuselah's Parents

When I was a medical student at the V.A. most of our patient population was made up of patients over the age of 75.  Some of them were WWII vets and had some great stories.  When I would talk to them and try to obtain family history I got in the habit of asking them what their parents had died from, assuming that they were long since deceased.  That worked reasonably well until one afternoon when I had this conversation:

Me:  "So what did your mom and dad die from?"

85 year-old patient:  "What do you mean?"

Me: "Your mother and father, what killed them?"  (evidently I thought repeating it almost word-for-word would help).

Patient:  "Nothing killed them, I saw them last week.  They're 105 and 106 years old."


Friday, July 8, 2011

Sleepy + Lazy = Today's Post.

I haven't had more than about three hours of sleep a night this week, so today I'm going to link to another person's blog I found funny.  Give it a look, the pain chart is spot-on.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Dere be dese white tings...

When I was in residency, one of the unfortunate tasks we were straddled with was answering the phone calls of patients to primary care physicians' offices after-hours.  This phone line was a breeding ground for ignorance and stupidity the likes of which hasn't been seen since we treated patients with leeches for, well, everything.

One night I received a phone call from a woman at 3:00 a.m. with the following exchange:

Me:  "Ma'am, I understand you had a question regarding your child?"

Patient (heavy, heavy Southern accent and generally poor speech besides):  "I wanna know why his gums is like dat."

Me:  "I'm sorry, what?"

Patient: "Why his gums be like dat?"

Me:  "Whose gums, ma'am?"

Patient:  "I told you, the baby."

Me:  "What is wrong with his gums?"

Patients:  "Dere be dese white things."

Me:  "In his gums?"

Patient:  "Yeah."

Me:  "Ma'am, how old is this baby?"

Patient:  "A year."

Me:  "Ma'am, are you joking with me?"

Patient:  "No, there be dese white things in his gums."

Me:  "Did it ever occur to you those might be teeth?"

Patient:  "Oh, I didn't know those grew."

At this point I hung up the phone.  If I could have slammed down a cell phone I would have.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Cirque du Soleil...

Shortly after I got out of residency, I worked in a small southern town of about 10,000 people for awhile while my wife finished up school.  For such a small community, we had an inordinate amount of strippers (and fairly good-looking ones, at that) that would come to the clinic.  Maybe it was because we decorated the place with strobe lights and $1 bills, I'm not sure.  Anyway, about six months after the first stripper story I told I had another woman come into the building to be seen.  She was dressed in jeans and high heels and a very low-cut top.  The nurses gave me a strange look once they walked out of her room, so I should have known something was slightly amiss.  When I started talking to her I had scarcely gotten the phrase "What seems to be the problem today?" when she gave a truncated "Well..." then flipped up on the exam table, removing her jeans and underwear in one fluid motion and ending up in a position where she had her legs behind her head pointing at an area of her body that some people might refer to as "the taint."  The entire movement took less than three seconds.  I was so amazed at this display of gymnastics that I just stared for a moment, mouth agape, before realizing I needed a female chaperon and stepped outside to grab a nurse.  They were both laughing when I got out there.  Evidently she had done the exact same thing to them when they talked to her.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Flow Chart...

Patients' families are often well-meaning folk who have turned to the internet to help out mom/dad with their health problems, usually with disastrous results.  Take the following, for example... 

Daughter to patient: "Mom you can't have bread. It's a carbohydrate and it turns to sugar, then it turns to insulin., That makes your sugar high."

To recap:  Bread ---> Carbs ---> Sugar ---> Insulin.


Submitted by Cammie

Monday, July 4, 2011

Thanks to Our Vets

I know I said I wasn't going to post anything today, but quick aside.  I recently had the honor of meeting a WWII veteran, shortly before he died.  When I came in to pronounce him deceased I noticed he was wearing a purple heart hat and I asked his family about it.  They immediately stopped crying and lit up to tell the story about how his ship was sank by a Japanese sub in 1942.  It was amazing.  Sometimes we get to meet people who have done great things, people who appreciate us for trying to help them.  I like that.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy 4th!

I'll be spending the weekend watching the Tour de France with friends and family so no update until Tuesday. Hope you all enjoy the holiday!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Bon Voyage, Dad!

One of the unfortunate parts of my job is having to have conversations about death with patients and families.  I know this is an odd thing to be proud of, but the truth is....I'm rather good at it.  I see it as not just as my duty as a physician, but as a human, as well.

A man with horrible lungs from too many years of smoking had been in the hospital for weeks, without much improvement.  We tried everything we could think of without him getting much better.  After I had exhausted my last resource I recommended home hospice.  The patient was relatively stable and I thought he would last awhile before succumbing.  I called his family members for a conference, the only one who was able to make it was his son.  The son was acting very strangely when I met him, overly cheerful, talking to his father as if they were sending him off an a cruise around the world.  When I got everyone to agree on the plan of action I started to leave the room when the son suddenly announced:  "Well Dad, you had a good run, guess we'll see you on the other side!"  He then pulled me over by the door and quietly asked me "So, are we about to do a Kevorkian thing here, or what?"


Friday, July 1, 2011

Lost and Found...

The old adage about people getting things stuck in certain places then coming to the ER?  It's very, very true....

Nurse:  "How did you get that Nerf football (one of the big ones) stuck in your rectum?"

Patient:  "The grandchildren had been visiting and must have left it on the couch, because when I was naked and sat down on the couch it just shot up there."

Submitted by Cammie


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