Tuesday, September 25, 2007

not a laughing matter

Warning: Salty and inappropriate language and scenarios ahead. Many body parts exposed that should really be left covered. Proceed with caution. I mean it.

I would never laugh at my patients.

It would be rude and unprofessional and demeaning and just plain wrong.

I would never laugh at my patients.

Not even when they said something like this (and, by the way, most of these words rhyme with what this guy actually said, so go to town figuring it out. It won't be hard. I don't want to go from a PG to a XXX in one post) -

"Buck you, you trucking punt spore witch. I haven't bucking had a ducking drink all rod bam day," immediately prior to falling face first into a portable commode which was conveniently (from my point of view anyway) open and "sleeping" until his girlfriend arrived and beat him in the head with her shoe for unknown reasons.

I would never laugh at my patients.

Not even the woman who asked me pointed questions about every single narcotic I gave her, argued with the doctor about dosages of each said narcotic, instructed me on exactly which point of her IV tubing she wanted me to inject the drug for maximal wow factor and then, when I finally lost patience, said, "Well, I always have to ask about these things because I don't know anything at all about drugs."

I would never laugh at my patients.

Not even the man who came in with priapism. Priapism is when the blood flow to the penis gets all out of whack and they develop an erection that won't go away. It has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with pain. Especially the treatment. (Whenever the FG gets on my nerves I describe the treatment to him...slowly, and in great detail). I started out as sweet as I could be, because this really is a bear to treat, and, in spite of what you might think I always give every patient the benefit of the doubt to begin with. I really am respectful and kind. Really. But this man was hungover and mean, and his girlfriend, who had C-L-A-S-S tattooed on the fingers of both hands, had a nail appointment or something, because they opted not to stay and have him treated. He was more than a little irate that we weren't able to get a specialist in on a Sunday within fifteen minutes of his ER arrival. I would've told him to rub a lamp, but it would have been a poor choice of words.

Verbally mistaking me for a female dog, he jumped off the exam table, furious that it would take around forty minutes for the urologist to get there. (I thought forty minutes was pretty fast for a specialist on a weekend, but what do I know?) He ripped off his gown (which got tangled in his IV tubing) and spun around to face me wearing nothing but snakeskin cowboy boots, a big gold medallion and his, uh, chief complaint and he said

"How the hell am I supposed to go to Church like this?"

I would never laugh at my patients.

Not even the biker who came in shot by police during a robbery. While we were assessing him we noticed that he had a tattoo on his guy parts that said hey mama. (Please do not ask me how we discovered this). Quite the crowd gathered as word spread of his adornment. All the guys said "ow" and all the women just shook their heads in amazement. He was unconscious and heavily bandaged from chest up and his face was so swollen that you had no idea what he really looked like. Let's just say that he was completely unaware that we were checking his decor out. As soon as we had him settled his mother and sister came in the room to see him. Sister said

"Oh, my god. That doesn't even look like him."

And mom lifted up the sheet, looked south and said

"Nope, that's him alright."

I barely made it to the break room.


my two cents said...

I think your warning should include that we might want to wear protective undergarments while reading this post! I about wet myself. Seriously, I never would have guessed that so much ER activity involved the intoxicated. I guess you see your share of ten-year-olds with broken arms, but they probably don't make such fun blog fodder. I am glad you are professional and don't laugh at your patients, but I am just as glad that I am not a nurse, and CAN laugh at your patients!

Willowtree said...

I'm speechless.

ciara said...

*sending two cents some depends and buying myself a case while i'm at it* lol people do/say the dumbest (but funniest) things

Thalia's Child said...

I wanna know how his mother knew!!

I've got all kinds of these too, except mine have mostly had a chance to sober up a little before they hit me (I work surgical).

Maybe someday I'll blog about the flesh-eating netherbits we had on my floor.

Kimberly said...

If there isn't an award for this kind of post, then I might just dream one up and give it to you.

Oh. My. Heck! My hubby is seriously worried about me because I'm sitting alone in the basement laughing uproariously!

Mya said...

I love the guy in snakeskin cowboy boots with the'downstairs complaint' - what a great look. Bucking marvellous, in fact. Great post!

Mya x

Flowerpot said...

what a wonderful post! Great start to my day!

la bellina mammina said...

yea, wanna know how his mother knew!!

this makes for good entertainment...I just can't stop laughing!

Jen said...

You may never laugh at your patients, dear, but I will as long as you continue to post the material.

A warning not to be ingesting hot fluids would be appreciated for the next installment in this series.

Thanks. I'll now go back to rolling on the floor, laughing.

Anonymous said...

You need to write a book, this was the funniest thing I have read in a long time, but of course I know you would never laugh at the ones your are treating, LOL. How you keep yourself from going for their throats, is a mystery and a gift, that I will never know.
I hope you take really good vacations, because you deserver them!!!! Thank God for nurses!!
Thanks for sharing your day with us! Now go to a spa!

Kaycie said...

RC, you struck Willow speechless. I'd say that's an accomplishment.

auntie barbie said...

The reason I look forward to reading your blog everyday is because of this post.
This is GREAT stuff.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

I have to tell all of you that I came this close to not publishing this one, because I thought someone might really be offended. Then I thought what the hell...

my two cents - yeah, the kids I never laugh at, although they can say funny things too. But they're usually not drunk.

willowtree - alerting the media.

ciara - can we bulk buy Depends?

thalia's child - popping over to check out your blog. Thanks for stopping back by. Surgical nurse, huh. Oh, you've got some good stories to tell. I want to hear the flesh eating nether bits one!

kimberly - what a nice thing to say! I would hate to think of what the award would look like, however, in light of this post. Could we at least leave the tattoo off?

mya - the bucking boots were the final insult to my system. Not that it took much at that point.

flowerpot - thanks!

bella (and thalia) - I'm not at all sure I do want to know how his mother knew. Not even sure I want to go there.

jen - what's a pregnant woman like you doing rolling around on the floor anyway? Isn't that how this whole thing started in the first place??

eileen - oh, I don't think the publishing world is ready for me, but what a nice thought! Now, I couldn't do your job at all. It would just tear me up too much. I sure am grateful that you do it though!

kaycie - can you believe it? Is there an I Made Willowtree Speechless Award??

The Rotten Correspondent said...

auntie barbie - thank you. I'm thrilled that you're here everyday!

Sweet Irene said...

We would never laugh at your patients either, but we will smile at the stories you tell about your patients and shake our heads in disbelieve at such oddities and bewilderments. You have a most interesting job, ma'am. Wish I could be a fly on the wall there one day. You wouldn't swat me, would you?

Diana said...

You may not be laughing at your patients, but I am 'b'ucking rolling on the floor laughing at your patients and their priceless family members.

It's a job AND a show all rolled into one!

(Can I say 'members'? Should I say 'fembers'?)

Karmyn R said...


My sister in an ER nurse in California. She always has some funny stories to tell (but very sad ones too).

ped crossing said...

I needed that. No wonder the ER nurses liked me so much. You made my day.

Akelamalu said...

Obviously you are far too professional to laugh at your patiens ...... here let me do it for you

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

You may not laugh at your patients but I sure am. It also confirms my suspicion that I don't ever want to be naked and unconscious in an emergency room. It also reminds me of the time I had to take hubby to the ER for CONSTIPATION (he thought he had cancer or something). When the dr. left the room to get some gloves (because his fingers were going where mine never will), I think my shrieks of laughter were heard out in the parking lot. Did I thank you for the award, by the way? Thank you.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

sweet irene - I would never swat anyone except an obnoxious patient. Honest.

Diana - if it were on HBO no one would believe it. But it is entertainment with a paycheck attached.

karmyn - welcome! thanks for stopping by. I concentrate on the funny stories because the sad ones upset me too much. Better a nasty drunk that a hurt kid any day.

ped crossing - I'm sure they loved you. Whenever I get a nice, normal person I don't ever want them to leave. It restores my faith in humanity!

akelamalu - thank you. I was getting a little tired of doing it myself.

wakeup - actually you're fine naked and unconscious in an ER. (Well, you wouldn't really be fine in that situation, but you know what I mean) It's just when you're hiding funnies under your clothes that it gets interesting.

Anonymous said...

That has to be one of the best blogs I've read for a while - no disrepect to all the other fantastic blogs I read of course.

How DO you do your job?

Crystal xx

-Ann said...

Thank you - that's the funniest thing I've read in ages. I do have a question though - "trucking punt spore witch" - I get "trucking". I get "punt". I get "witch". But for the life of me, I can't figure out "spore".

PixelPi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ciara said...

lmao @ ann...replace the first two letters w ummm to others and you'll get the gist. guys always wanna call women spores for some freakin reason lol that or punts.

btw r.c. i love the creativity w the 'choice' words...hmmm wonder what i would sound like if i used those words instead of swearing like a sailor lol

Amy said...

Thanks for the laugh. I think you need to find a venue that pays you for your words.

Did you ever read the paramedic's blog about the guy who spread nitroglycerin gel in his nether regions?

PixelPi said...

RC: Loved it, of course, because my job is to sit and transcribe these little dramas where doctors try to make it all sound serious and professional. Like, "The patient has a problem of running up to people several time a day and projectile vomiting on them." Or this one: "The patient's father died but doesn't know why." I am so glad our department is no longer actually in in the ER. Then I'd need to get in on this group order of Depends.

Swearing Mother said...

Fabulous post!!! Am just back from holiday, so am catching up on all the good stuff I've missed, thanks for a really good laugh.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

crystal - that is such a nice thing to say. Thank you! I don't know how I do my job. I just do!

ann - thanks for stopping by. Welcome! I do believe the fine upstanding gent was calling me a whore. What a guy!

ciara - I've thought of replacing my cuss words too!

pixelpi - I bet you have stories way better than this, although the docs do try and smooth them down. Doesn't always work though...

swearing mother - glad you liked it and welcome back! We've missed you.

Iota said...

You could have said "I think churches are usually fairly accepting of people with disabilities. Get your clothes on and off you go."

Jo Beaufoix said...

Hee hee hee hee hee hee hee

RC this is hilarious.
How do you not laugh??

You should win an award just for that.

Love you loads and love this post.