Sunday, February 7, 2010

Abdomen: soft, nontender, nondistended

"How long have you had this abdominal pain?"

"Since October 2008."

"You've had pain just like this since 2008?"


"Does it keep you from eating?"

"No, not really."

"Ok, when was the last time you ate and what did you have?"

"Well, we had pot roast for dinner with mashed potatoes and carrots."

"You have anything to drink with that?"

"Uh...a couple glasses of wine."

"How many is a couple?"


"How many nights a week do you drink fourish glasses of wine?"

Meanwhile, I'm pushing on her belly with the force usually reserved for chest compressions. Distracted by the arithmetic involved in quantifying her alcoholism, she forgets to wince.

She finally settles on, "Well, you know...most."

"So, what made you decide to come here to the ER at 3 o'clock this morning with the abdominal pain you've had since 2008?"

"Well, I called my GI doctor at 2 and told him I've had about enough of this pain. He said, 'Go get yourself admitted, and I'll see you in the morning.' He's here at the hospital anyway doing scopes today, so he said it would just be easier this way. Are you going to call him?"

"Am I going to call him right now, at 3:30 in the morning?"


"No. No, I am not. Mostly because I'm not sure I'd be able to resist the nearly overwhelming urge to explain to him what the E in ER stands for."


MmeBenaut said...

Ha ha. Yes, I totally agree.

Susanlee said...

It's like out patients who say "I've been leaking/having contractions/vomiting for a week." Really, so you decide to go to the hospital in the middle of the night? Gah.

secret agent woman said...

My ex (a vet) used to call this the acute recognition of a chronic problem. I fielded a few late-night pages over that sort of "crisis" and it always pissed me off.

Eric said...

Huh, I was wondering what that pain was.

Maria said...

I once was called in for a psych consult on a patient who came in because he was tired of his longterm companion, an imaginary friend he called Gil. When I asked him why he had waited so long, he said, "Well, his breath is starting to stink. I can stand anything except bad breath. This dude needs to go back to where he came from."

Yeah. We admitted him.