Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Dramatic attention seeking type patients generally seem to be accompanied by one of two types of family members. Generally, the only people that can stand to be around folks like this are the ones that genuinely buy in to all the drama and crazy, and seem to derive some satisfaction from encouraging and enabling the ridiculous behavior. These are the ones that talk for the dramatic loved one when they are suddenly stricken with the inability to do so for themselves, the ones bum-rushing the doctor cove to demand more pain medicine, the ones interrupting the nurse assessment to tell me "she has a very high pain tolerance, so when she says it's a ten, it must really hurt." Yeah, okay, because your lady friend's 15 ER visits in two months are very indicative of her high pain tolerance. These types, usually men, but not always, are by far the most common. It makes sense-how many normal people would stick around for this kind of crap if they weren't part of the routine?
Occasionally, though, we get the other kind-the ones who see the foolishness for what it is and are completely and totally over it. They usually sit by silently and pretend to not be aware of the foolishness by throwing themselves into a sudoku book or staring intently at a laptop. Every now and then when the drama is really reaching a crescendo, they'll throw in some half assed words of encouragement. Almost inevitably, they reach a point where they can no longer hide their annoyance, and they find a reason to excuse themselves.
I took care of a lady last week who played out this scenario with her boyfriend almost exactly this way. She was most ridiculous people I've dealt with in some time. I mean, this lady was not a whole lot older than me, and she kept trying to get me to put a catheter in her so she didn't have to move onto a bedpan. She seriously starting pissing herself when I said no. I had to have hold help for her IV. I mean, really. She was cray. I had to go to CT with her and the tech and I had to coach her through lying on the table- homegirl insisted we put a washcloth over her eyes while her abdomen was in the machine because it felt cramped and it was too scary.
So imagine everyone's horror when the doctor decided she needed an MRI of the L spine. This is seriously how it went down:
Doc: So, ma'am, I'm concerned about a couple of things we saw on your CT and I want to do an MRI.
Pt: NOOOOOO!!!! I can't DO THAT! It's too scaarrryy!!!!
Pt's boyfriend: Honey, just let the doctors do what they need to do, you'll be fine.
Doc: Yeah, it'll be okay. We can medicate your for the procedure so you'll be nice and relaxed. We do it all the time for people who are claustrophobic.
Pt's boyfriend:Yeah, babe, see, it'll be-
Pt: Will it knock me out? NO? Then it WON'T WORK. If you can't knock me out, I'm gonna get scared, and then I'm gonna vomit and-
Pt's boyfriend:Babe, seriously, calm-
Pt:and then it'll go in my lungs because I can't sit up, and THEN WHERE WILL WE BE?
Doc: Um, I mean, we don't want you to aspirate. How did you do for the CT?
Pt: Horrible! They had to put a cloth over my eyes, and that was only for five minutes!!
Pt's boyfriend (about to go off in one, two..): Then maybe they can just put a bag over your head for the MRI! JESUS! STOP!

Yeah, I got the hell out of that room STAT. Anndd about five minutes later he came up to the nurses station to leave me his number because he had to um, get ready for work. YUP.


  1. aaaah!!!! don't leave us hanging!!! Did she panic, aspirate her own vomit and DIE? The suspense is killing me!!!!!

  2. More importantly, did you give him a big high five for that comment?!

  3. But WHY is he still her boyfriend? Seems to me someone that sensible should have up and left a while ago.

  4. You should have given him dome of that d medicine right in front of her. Sounds like he earned it.

    And yes please tell us if she had a puke freak out in the MRI.

  5. Oh yeah, my husband is the crayzee one who "injures" himself at least once a week and plays musical ERs in our area to get pain meds. I stopped going to the ER with him a looooong time ago. He actually doesn't want me to go anymore since one time I told the ER nurse her was drug-seeking.

  6. The questions becomes who is nuttier? The patient or the spouse who puts up with it?

  7. I was saved by change of shift, so I never found out how the aspiration pneumonia secondary to MRI freak out saga turned out. Day shift problem....

  8. Hahahahaha. That is great.

  9. Why is it always the young ones? If she's this bad now Im scared to think how she'll be when she's 60+ and has a multitude of problems.

  10. In the words of Limp Bizkit, I speculate that he put up with it because he "did it all for the nookie, the nookie!" Haha