Saturday, March 10, 2012

Scenes from Internal Medicine: or When are they letting me out of here?

From a guy admitted for chest pain to rule out a heart attack:

Doc, sometimes I get these electric shocks in my hands. I thought you might want to know about those too.

You mean like numbness or tingling?


Do these shocks shoot down your arms?


Happen at the same time as your chest pain?


Ok. What are you doing when they happen?

Usually I'm walking across my living room. And then I touch something metal and I get shocked. What's that called, Doc?

Static electricity.


You got a foot doctor in this hospital?

Yep, we have podiatrists here.

Good, get me one of those. I want to ask him about my foot.

Me (thinking): Shit, there's something wrong with his feet. Now I have to take off this old guy's sock and there's gong to be a huge diabetic ulcer and I'm going to smell like gangrene for the rest of the day.

I pull off his sock...and there's nothing visibly wrong with his foot.

So what's wrong with your foot.

Well, sometimes the muscles under there move around. What's up with that?

I'm pretty sure that's what muscles are supposed to do.

Huh, didn't know that. Okay, well, you can go now. And I'll be right here for the rest of the night thinking up all the other things that are "wrong" with me. I'll tell you about them in the morning.

Can't wait.


Sir, your hemoglobin dropped a little overnight. We're worried that you might be bleeding from someplace that we can't see. We need to do a rectal exam to check your stool for blood.

What's that.

A rectal exam? It's kind of like a prostate exam except we check for stool.

Oh, I see. Well, I guess you can do that. As long as it don't hurt or nothing.

It won't hurt but you might feel a little discomfort.

Hmm. Nevermind then. I think my head hurts too much for you to do that right now.

Maybe later then.

Sorry, Doc. Don't mean to ruin your day. I know how much you want to do this rectal exam on me.

Words cannot describe how much I'd like to stick my finger up your butt to check for blood.