Sunday, January 31, 2010

Three Patients

I had some truly memorable patients last week.

There was the old burned out alcoholic dude who hadn't been seen in a couple of weeks. When "friends" went by to drop off his liquor, they noted a rotting smell in the house and called 911. The old dad was covered in stool and pee, but the stench of rot was pretty strong too. As we hunted for the source of the decay, we found our way to his feet. His left sock was hard like a cast and reeked of death. As we cut it away, pus poured fourth, and as we pulled it off, skin, muscle, and a couple of toes came with it!

The next day, I gave that nurse "The Black Sock Award" for his efforts (a black sock stuffed with a jar of chicken gravy).

Then there was the 14 year old girl who decided to have sex for the first time (at least with someone else). She may have learned many things that evening, but the most enduring was that she is allergic to latex condoms. Her labia minora looked like Barak Obama's ears!

But my favorite patient was the 19 year old about 20 weeks pregnant with her first child. She came in because she was "leaking". Upon further questioning, she told the nurse that she thought she was either "ejaculating on" herself, or "squirting out that fluid that's supposed to be around the baby".

As I took more history from the patient, she explained that her "Mama" always taught her to smell everything that came out of her, so of course it was reasonable to ask what her current vaginal drainage smelled like. She thought long and hard before she answered: "Beer" (that has to be a first).

The next most reasonable question was to ask if she had noted any discharges that smelled like wine? She had to think about it, but decided that she had not.

At this point, the nurse and I excused ourselves because we were both too amused and creeped out to continue.

Later, I sent the nurse back to get ready for the pelvic, and when I entered the room wearing a surgical mask and eye protection, I thought the nurse was going to explode.

Upon exam, the patient had Trichomonas, which has NEVER smelled like beer (unless you like beer made from fish).

I love my job!

P.S. These events were the highlights of my week and illustrate why it is so hard for ER Docs to have appropriate dinner conversations with "normal, regular people".


  1. LOL...Obama's ears! I don't even want to think about that during my next pelvic exam. Your post was hysterical.

  2. I spend my days with small children, my own and my daycare kids, and my day doesn't sound too much different from yours. I'm kidding of course because the gross things I deal with come from adorable little people that I love or at least like a whole lot so it is much easier to deal with. But it might explain why I also have a hard time thinking up normal dinner conversations a lot of times.

    I'm so sorry you have to see/smell/hear all the things you do! I can't imagine. I have been in the hospital/doctors office a lot and I think it is amazing that doctors can deal with so much. You are truly amazing people, that's for sure.

  3. Great post, got me laughing my head off!:)

  4. Those three stories certainly are appetite suppressing. Have you ever considered recording your most disgusting experiences? Here is what I am thinking: a person who is trying to lose weight can bring an MP3 player and headphones to dinner and listen while ingesting. Might work ... if that person then connects pus with gravy, for example.

  5. Ok...that has to be the funniest week ever....THAT is why I LOVE my job! I never have a boring day!

  6. Ahh the pelvic exam and the myth that they're all clean little hotties.
    A buddy once told me about the following patient encounter:
    A young girl presented with a chief complaint of something "shiny" inside her vagina. He wondered how does something feel shiny but instead asked this intellectual giant why she was checking her vaginal vault in the 1st place; to which this patient stated: My mom told me to do a self exam once a month. He tried in vain to explain that mama meant (hopefully) a SBE not a q monthly self pelvic. At any rate, what he thought would surely be her cervix turned out to be a 3 month old Tampax....amazingly she dodged the toxic shock bullet but the malodorous FB extraction cleared the room....

  7. Reminds me of the first Ankle Block I put in
    ...Hypertensive diabetic, real Zebra of a case,
    Didn't want to wait for the slug Surgical Resident to prep the foot they were gonna cut off, so pulled the sock off....along with 1/2 the foot.
    Tried stickin it back on, but it was like tryin to rescue a melting snowman.
    And she didn't feel any pain, and got total consciousness, which is Nice...


  8. Bad beer smells like yeast.

  9. I can't believe that I once, five minutes ago, I thought that nose picking was the most disgusting thing ever.

  10. Thank you! My choice to go to Dental School is once again justified!