The emergency department provides circumstances not seen in any other occupation. Sometimes we see tragic, life-altering events. Other times we see someone who wanted to see if he could fit a lightbulb inside himself. Our friends and family often want a peek into the unbridled chaos that is our lives, so every year I ask all of my ED staff to record interactions that they feel might not happen anywhere else.
This year I also included interactions with the voice recording software we use (we will call it Smaug). Anyone who has used this software has had interactions where what we said and what Smaug heard were vastly different.
Nurse: The patient denied any sexual contact ever.
Doctor: Why is he here?
Nurse: STD check.
Nurse: New fade haircut? It looks good.
Doctor: Thanks! I just walked into my first patient's room, and he came right out of SVT!
Patient: Yeah, um, I have, uh, scrotal pain.
Patient's enthusiastically helpful girlfriend: It only goes away when I “take care” of him!
Doctor: C. diff treatment? You can get a stool transplant if other methods fail.
Nurse: How is that done?
Doctor: Poop in their mouth.
Patient: Yeah, I probably shouldn't have, but I glued my vagina and butt closed.
Doctor: Another day, another rectal.
Nurse: Silky-silky crinkle star!
Doctor: Wait. Wait! That psych patient has been letting out the family's dogs without watching them at all. She's the answer to that song's question. It's her!
Physician assistant: He's a man-sized sack of potatoes with a dash of sadness sprinkled in.
Spoken to Smaug: Performed vaginal exam bimanually.
Typed by Smaug: Performed vaginal exam by mouth.
Spoken to Smaug: Pupils equal, round, and reactive to light.
Typed by Smaug: Nipples equal, round, and reactive to light.
Spoken to Smaug: Patient was placed on nicardipine drip in the ER.
Typed by Smaug: With a penis in the mouth in a car in the ER.
Spoken to Smaug: Patient received the COVID test.
Typed by Smaug: Patient received the coitus.
Nurse (to patient): It's your birthday, and you're in the ER. I guess you won't forget this birthday.
Patient: Where am I?
Nurse: You were brought here because your family was concerned.
Patient: I don't have a family.
Nurse: Maybe it was your friends?
Patient: I don't have any friends. Can you call my family so they can get me?
Evaluator #1: Patient is hard of hearing.
Evaluator #2: Very hard of hearing, possibly cognitively impaired.
Evaluator #3: Patient is deaf.
Evaluator #4: Patient has perfect hearing, but others need not to rush and let patient talk because she responds completely normally, coherently, and correctly if just given time.
Doctor: It's not Narcan't; it's Narcan!
Patient presents for foot pain.
Resident: So, uh, tell me, how long have you had these...feet?
Patient: I ate some cheesy bread. Whenever I do this my belly hurts.
PA: Why do you keep eating it then?
Patient: Because it tastes good. My girlfriend made it for me.
PA: Um, stop eating cheesy bread.
Patient: I'm a grown man. I eat what I want!
PA: But this is the second time today that you're here from eating it!
Patient: I can't get knocked up none. My hubby shoots blanks, and I don't have no scoreboard he can hit.
Patient: I need you to open up this abscess.
Doctor: What have you done for it?
Patient: I've been going to the gym and using the hot tub for the last week. The jets really help flush the pus out of it.
Patient: Last time I came in I had constipation, so they told me to use MiraLAX and eat Taco Bell. This time I've had tons of diarrhea, and I tried the same thing, but it doesn't seem to be working.
Doctor: You're going to need a compression stocking for that leg.
Patient: Yeah, my leg looks like a puppy humping a football.
Doctor: Isn't that the patient who came in yesterday covered in the unknown red liquid?
Nurse: Yeah, he left AMA.
Doctor: He's still got it all over him today. Do we know what it is?
Nurse: Yup. He passed out in front of a store. The owner tried to wake him up by pouring hot sauce all over him.
Resident Note: Patient appears comfortable in bed eating entire rotisserie chicken.
If you hear something interesting, hilarious, or just plain unlike what you might hear anywhere else in the world, please send it to me for next year's quotes compilation at [email protected].
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Dr. Brandtis an emergency physician with the Grand River Emergency Medical Group in Grand Rapids, MI. He was the winner of the 2008 Writer's Digest Short Short Story Writing Competition (http://bit.ly/1kIBaOf). Read his blog and other articles at http://brandtwriting.com, follow him on Twitter @brandtwriting, and read his past columns at https://bit.ly/BrandtsRants-EMN.