I'm discharging a gal in the hall bed for gastroenteritis with her husband/boyfriend/babby's daddy/s.o. present. It's one of those dynamics where the patient really doesn't ask you any questions, but just kind of looks wide-eyed at you while companion does all the talking. To be fair, as someone who is super shy, this doesn't bother me as long as it's not an obvious domineering douche relationship, which this wasn't. No, it was one of those I'm asking the questions cause I know you won't type of dynamics, except it was. not. working. The message I was trying to convey was just totally not getting across.
I have a basic spiel for most common illnesses. My gastro spiel goes something like, "yeah, these symptoms are really a bummer, and unfortunately there's no treatment for the virus itself, but we can treat your symptoms and try to make you comfortable. Fortunately this usually runs it's course within about 48 hours on average, in the meantime try to rest, take your nausea medicine, and make sure you're drinking lots of liquids in small quantities..etc" Except dude was really hung up on the "there's no treatment for the virus" part.
"Wait, so what is this medicine?"
"It's two of the same medication. It's called Phenergan, and we're giving you pills and also suppositories if you can't keep down the pills. You can take it every 4-6 hours or so for nausea and vomiting. "
"Okay. So the medicine is just for the nausea. You aren't going to give her anything for the virus?"
"Well, no, there's no medicine for that, it just has to run it's course. But this medicine should make it a lot more bearable."
"What about the diarrhea?"
"We just recommend Immodium over the counter after the first 24 hours if it's still happening."
"Okay, but you're not giving her anything for the virus?"
"No, there's not any treatment for the virus, unfortunately."
"But, wait, why aren't you guys giving her anything for the virus?"
"Because it's not a thing. Scientists haven't invented it yet. "
One of my coworkers was walking during the last part of that conversation- as soon as the patient left and I rounded the corner, he immediately started laughing at me. Did you seriously just answer that question with "scientists haven't invented it yet?"Well, yeah. Look, I hope I don't sound mean because I genuinely don't mean to be. But sometimes, things aren't getting through and you have to just go off script and hope for the best. Luckily the message seemed to get across in this case.