Monthly Archives: July 2010

The end of writer’s block

So I was sitting at a computer today, saving lives by documenting blood test results, when an immaculately dressed gentleman approached the desk and loudly addressed the assembled crowd (a ward clerk, a few nurses, some random passers-by and me):

“I have opened my bowels. You might like to write that in your book”

Why thank you. I might just do that. I’ll start a new chapter.

an unwinnable argument

Patient: the other doctor said that I can’t go home because I have a memory problem! I don’t have a memory problem! Why does he say that?
Yay: er well we did a memory test when you arrived here and there were a few problems identified…
Patient: I didn’t do a memory test! I don’t remember that!

It’s amusing when real life reflects cartoons.

standards must be standardised

I often find it hard to remember the “proper doctor words” for describing things in my notes. If I can come up with a respectable/intelligible but not official term for something and no-one within earshot can come up with a better idea, I’m ok with that. Sometimes even if I know it, I will avoid using the technical term if it seems likely that most readers won’t understand what I’m saying.

And sometimes I just like to use technical words for simple things because it makes me giggle that I know that “eructation” means “burp”.

I was amused the other day to read that a patient suffered a skin tear “about the size of an average biscuit”.

The process of identifying the average biscuit makes my head hurt – obviously there is the size factor which is not so bad (but then volume makes it more complicated), and averaging shapes is not beyond the realms of possibility, but when we start thinking about the average flavour, average texture (are all textures on the one spectrum? I’m not sure that they are) and the average non-biscuit additions (icing, chocolate, jam) it becomes VERY MURKY.

I think the median biscuit would be a better measure.

I call it “adapting”

So I have a patient who won’t let any doctors examine him. He’s not keen on physios either. The physios have worked out that if the patient thinks they’re nurses, he’ll co-operate with them. I was sent in to attempt an examination yesterday. It went a bit like this…

Yay: Hi Mr Codswallop, how are you today?
Mr C: Not too bad. Have you come to clean the place up a bit? *glances at unmade bed and the small amount of rubbish on his table*
Yay: Yep that’s right. Now show me the rash on your back.
Mr C: Oh ok then *removes all necessary and some unnecessary clothing items*
Yay: And is there any pain when I push on your tummy?
Mr C: Nope, no pain. Do you want to look at my feet too?
Yay: Yep… and now I’ll listen to your lungs…. and heart….
Mr C: do whatever you need to do.

I was wondering what would happen if Mr C suddenly wondered why the cleaner needed to look at his rash and listen to his lungs, but luckily it didn’t come up in the conversation.