Two Wrongs Don’t Make A Right

, , , | Healthy | May 20, 2009

(I work in healthcare and am talking to a man in his fifties who is having angina for the first time.)

Me: “You haven’t had a heart attack, but this pain is probably coming from your heart.”

Man: “But I’m only 50-something, and there are no heart problems in my family. Why would that be?”

Me: “You smoke 30 cigarettes a day and drink two cartons of beer per week. That’s not good for your heart. You should think about cutting down.”

Man: “I’m sick of you people telling me that bulls***! It’s a scientifically proven fact that smoking makes your arteries smaller, and drinking makes them bigger! If I keep drinking and smoking, I’ll be fine!”

Me: “That’s not at all how it works, but I see I’m not going to change your mind. You’ll be going upstairs soon.”

Man: “I want to go out for a smoke!”

Me: “That’s really not a good idea.”

Man: “What would you know?!”

Me: *gives up*

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Give Me Coffee Or Give Me Death

, , , | Healthy | May 16, 2009

(I work in a hospital.)

Me: “What can I get you to drink, sir?”

Patient: “Coffee.”

Me: “Well, it looks like you’re on a cardiac diet, which means you can’t have caffeine.”

Patient: “You asked me what I wanted, and I want coffee.”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, I can’t give it to you.”

Patient: “This is ridiculous! I’ve been drinking coffee every morning for the last sixty years. I want my coffee!”

Me: “Sir. You are on a cardiac diet. That means that you can’t have caffeine, extra sodium, or fat. It could make your condition worse.”

Patient: *tries to pull a fast one* “My doctor told me I could have it.”

Me: “Well, your doctor needs to put it into our computer; otherwise, I could lose my job.”

Patient: “MY DOCTOR SAID I COULD HAVE IT!”

Me: “Sir, I know you’re lying. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be on this diet.”

Patient: “GIVE ME THE F***ING COFFEE!”

Me: *loses patience* “DO YOU WANT THE COFFEE OR DO YOU WANT TO LIVE?!”

Patient: *sheepishly* “Can I have apple juice?”

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Survival Of The Fittest In Action

, , , , | Healthy | May 14, 2009

Me: “Hello, this is [Doctor]’s office. Can I help you?”

Patient: “Yeah, is there an injection I can get for my gout?”

Me: “I don’t think so. I think we only give injections for muscle pain, but I can double-check for you.”

Patient: “Yeah, check. I’m going away this weekend and my ankle really hurts. My primary doctor says it’s not gout. I had these labs done, and they all say it’s not gout, but it really hurts.”

Me: “It’s not gout, but you want to know about a gout injection?”

Patient: “Well, they say it’s not gout, but I was at a bar and a guy looked at it and said, ‘That’s gout, all right!'”

Me: *pause* “A guy at the bar?”

Patient: “Yeah. And he gave me one of his pills, and it really helped.”

Me: “You took a pill from some guy in a bar?!”

Patient: “Yeah, it really helped, and it was gout medicine, so I think I have gout. So, is there an injection?”

Me: “Hold, please.”

(At this point, I go ask my manager if a gout injection exists, which it doesn’t, and I explain the situation. She agrees that this is completely stupid, but that if the woman wants gout medication, we can prescribe it.)

Me: “Thanks for holding. Turns out there’s no injection for gout.”

Patient: “Really? My ankle’s killing me.”

Me: “Well, if the medicine you took worked for you, we may be able to write you a prescription for it.”

Patient: “Oh, I already have a prescription.”

Me: “You… already have a prescription that stops your pain? Are you taking it?”

Patient: “No, I thought an injection might be faster.”

Me: *long pause* “Is there anything else you need today?”

Patient: “No, thank you.” *click*

Me: “Oh. My. God.”

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Hippocrates Is Rolling Over In His Grave

, , , , | Healthy | May 13, 2009

Me: “Thank you for calling. How can I help you?”

Doctor: “I need to verify my patient’s coverage. Her number is [number].”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but there is a problem and I can’t access that account. I will have to forward this issue over to our technical department, and they will get back to you as soon as possible.”

Doctor: “I need this information immediately. Can I talk to them now? It’s very important.”

Me: “I’m sorry, they are very backed up over there and everything is handled in the order it is received. You will be added to the queue and they will get back to you later today.”

Doctor: “What if she was dying and I needed her coverage information? What then?!”

Me: “Ma’am, with all due respect, if the patient was dying there in your office, I would hope you would treat her regardless of her insurance coverage.”

Doctor: “Well, yes — I mean… Just make sure they call me today.” *click*

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Where The Sun Don’t Shine, Bungholio

, , , | Healthy | May 12, 2009

Customer: “These things don’t work! They are hard to swallow and I nearly choked to death.”

Me: “Ma’am, they are suppositories. You don’t swallow them; you insert them rectally.”

Customer: “What does that mean?”

Me: “You unwrap them and insert them in your rectum.”

Customer: “What’s my rectum?”

Me: “Ma’am, please forgive me, but your rectum is your butthole.”

Customer: “Well, up yours, too!” *stalks off*

(This is not the first time someone misunderstood when we explained how to use a suppository. It’s the only time we can tell a patient, “Up yours,” and get away with it!)

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