Chief Complaints: Part Four “Patients Say the Darndest Things”

Dwalia South

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Just as the Covid pandemic seemed to be lifting as the daily scourge of our lives... just when you thought you could once again watch the nightly news without those dire weather warnings, “Woke!” woes, and threats of world-wide warming giving you nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and insomnia... to the world’s center stage has entered the latest incarnation of evil, that malignant murderous villain, Vladimir Putin. Don’t get me started on that sorry so and so!

Please excuse all the alliteration and references to those unpleasant facts of our modern lives. THAT is not what we are here about in my ongoing series of “Chief Complaints.” In the world of medicine, the ‘chief complaint’ of a patient appears on his chart as the main problem or concern that brings the sufferer in to see you on a given day.

Many of this column’s regular readers have requested a follow up to the prior rowdy humor of these reports. There hasn’t been as much to laugh about for the past couple of years, but I am happy to bring you a few more real-life patient quotes from my mixed-up files collection... some are complaints, and some are simply wry observations by those folks to whom we devote our lives... God bless them every one!

“I told my husband the other day that he had better wake up and smell the chitlins because if he didn’t get serious and do something quick about getting his blood sugar down, that he was sure headed for some SLOW-WALKING AND SAD-MUSIC.” (read... his funeral)

“I had that light run down my throat and they told me I had an ‘ATE-PIE-LORDY’ infestation. (H. Pylori)

“Doc, I can’t afford these medicines y’all want me to take. If all my money was gasoline, I wouldn’t have enough to run a piss-ant’s motor scooter around a BB!”

“My mother is ‘bad-off’ and has had to go on ‘hostage’ care.” (hospice)

“My sister ain’t right...she’s ‘bad off.’ ... she is my sister, but she is crazy as a s---t house rat. She has done stressed me out with all her ‘pro-boler’ stuff she has got.’” (not related to professional bowling, she means BI-POLAR)

“My mother is ‘bad-off’...she is on ‘die-alice’. (dialysis)

“Doc, I think I am so wore out and ‘bad-off’ I need you to seduce me into a coma.” (this would be a good trick for a geriatric GP such as myself)

“Doc, I think I have messed up by signing up for one of them Human Dis-Advantage plans. Ain’t no hospital around here that takes my insurance now!” (Humana Medicare ‘Advantage’ Plans)

“I have female trouble and I hurt all over. The nurse-doctor I saw said I had the fibroid-my allergy.” (fibromyalgia)

“ I have a crooshating pain in my left knee.” ( excruciating in the cruciate ligament, no doubt)

“I have a fluncktuating belly pain, too...(perhaps from all the BC powders you have been taking for the crooshating knee pain.)

“Yeah, I think I hurt my knee real bad, they said I completely tore up my ACLU.” (ACL- anterior cruciate ligament again-not the Civil Liberty folks)

“I don’t sleep good. I snore and quit breathing. They told me I had ‘SLEEP-ACNE’ and they are gonna put me on a C-PACK breathing machine.” (sleep apnea, C-Pap)

“I have OCD-P, you know, bad lungs, and I have already had ‘new-mornia’ seven times. But, Doc, please don’t give me no more of them ‘stereo’ shots, they make me buck-wild!” (COPD, pneumonia, steroid-this was an obsessive-compulsive triple whammy)

“ My Mama has lost her mind, she says she’s gonna lose weight by doing Diet Coke-so she is sniffing ‘Sweet and Low.’ Reckon it will hurt her?” (I can only hope she was kidding)

“The Psychoanalysis doctor told me that I am a ‘bio-polar sexophenic.’ Can I get on disability for that?” (no, but this might land you a role in a reality TV show)

“Doc, I need something to help me sleep...but don’t give me no more of that Nightmare on Elm Street Freddie Cougar stuff!” (patient was referring to his past experience with Ambien)

“Hey, Doc, I am needing another script for my ‘Leviticus’ for my nature. It sure does help my ‘electile’ malfunction.” (Levitra- is not a Biblical treatment for a personal political problem)

“Lord have mercy, my pain is so bad that pills don’t help me no more. A good friend of mine told me to ask you for a prescription for something fantastic for pain he called ‘Doing Jesus’ patches.” (Duragesic/ which is brand name for fentanyl patches... he of course did not receive a prescription from me for this particular miracle cure)

“I have had bad problems with my ‘psychotic nerve.’ I was told by another doctor that I was mispronouncing it... he told me it was my ‘sciatic nerve.’ Well, I told him he just didn’t understand. My nerves really are PSYCHOTIC.”

“My Daddy says that he is now in the ‘metallic age,’ and when I asked him what that was he said...’silver in his hair, gold in his teeth, and lead in his butt.” ( love this diagnosis)

“Doc, you sent me to get that skin cancer cut off my nose, and they cut it off but then they had to cut off most of my nose and rebuild it. They said when it got well I would have a million dollar nose. Well, I told them, hell-fire, I’m 87 years old, and it is gonna be a damn shame to have a million dollar nose and a ten cent ass!!!”

I asked a patient if she had ever had a mammogram. She said, “That is one of them tests that squeeze your breasts, right?” I replied that they certainly did, and she said she had had many of them. I then asked when and where was her last mammogram. She replied, “Last month in the bathtub, I do them myself. I’m not EVER having another one of them machine mammograms. When I went in there I was a 34 C cup, and when I come out I was a 40 long!”

Recently one of my sweet patients told me a story about the time she took her 80 year old aunt to receive her very first Pap smear. At that time the customary charge for a Pap was $20.00. When she got back in the car she said, “I don’t know what all that fuss was about, but it sure as heck wasn’t worth no $20.00!”

“Doc, if you are a thinking my wife has gall bladder trouble, then why on earth are giving her a Hide-scan?” (HIDA scan)

DS to patient... “ Son, you have gained 50 pounds this year since I last saw you. You know you had that heart attack and almost died last summer, then you dropped 50 pounds. What has happened?”
Patient to DS... “Well, yeah, I guess I have fell off the wagon, huh? I was ‘sposed to go back to see my cardiologist last week, but I have got so fat again that I knew he would have a major hissy-fit on me and I would probably cause my cardiologist to have to go see a cardiologist. But when my time comes, I want them to put a Honey-Bun in my mouth, and lay me out in a bed of Little Debbies... and when I get to them pearly gates, I hope the angels are passing out Zebra cakes, Nutty Buddies, and Oatmeal Cream pies!”

“My Uncle was ‘low-sick’, and they called the family in. He has got a daughter, who believes in all this new quacky cure stuff, rubbed him all over with something she called ‘scential oil.’ Well, that stuff didn’t work... it just slid him downhill even faster!” (‘low-sick’ is apparently a worse condition than ‘bad-off’)

“I went to my heart doctor and he told me he could help me if I could quit smoking. Then my lung doctor told me the same thing. Then I told them, that they could fix my heart and they could fix my lungs, but they couldn’t fix stupid, and that’s what I am!”

“My heart doctor told me I have ‘shasheemi’ of the heart. What is that exactly, Doc?” (My guess was ‘coronary ischemia,’ because it certainly was not ‘cardiac sushi.’)

“Doctoring has just gone to hell these days! When I passed out at work the other day, they sent me to the ‘mergency room and they found out that I had the ‘bad sugar’ trouble, they give me a ‘hospitality doctor’ that I ain’t never heard of before, then another different ‘hospitality doctor’ come in the next day, give me a $500 prescription and sent me home and told me to get me an ‘indoctrinologist’ doctor as soon as I could.” ( translation-hospitalist physicians and endocrinologist - you might be shocked to learn how often I hear this chief complaint)

“I’ll tell you how bad I have been feeling lately...I feel just like one of them green balloon blow-up men they have fluttering in the wind outside the used-car lots.” (a vivid illustration of her extreme fatigue)

A patient and I were discussing the Covid Pandemic early on and we were mulling over the question of why there was no toilet paper to be found on the shelves anywhere. His answer was a pretty sound one.

“Well, Doc, I think this Corvid thing has just about scared the crap out of everybody!”

“Doc, I can’t stand this CORNTEEN stuff. You have GOT to do something to fix this ‘RONA virus. I’m
scared I’m going to die and and nobody is gonna get to come to my funeral.” (quarantine)

DS to patient... “It sure has turned off hot hasn’t it?”
Patient to DS... “ Well, Doc, honey...our problem is not the heat, it is the derned old ‘humanity’ that is so bad!”

A brilliant observation, and another that will do to quit on... until next time.

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