Friday, February 10, 2012

Tales from Med School: The Cracker Incident

How I decided geriatric psychiatry wasn't for me:

During my psychiatry clerkship, I noticed that most of the patient population was pretty young. But there were a few older patients as well.

I don't remember what Mr. Smith's diagnosis was, but he was one of our few geriatric patients and he managed to annoy me beyond belief, despite not even being my patient. I guess he didn't mean to, but he spoke so slowly and always had so many complaints, I felt like I want to shoot myself while we were rounding on him.

One day, we came to his room and he held up a brown paper bag filled with crackers (where this came from, I have no idea) and complained that he "can't eat crackers because I'm a diabetic." I have no idea why he felt that as a diabetic he couldn't eat crackers, but the attending promised he'd look into a special diet for Mr. Smith (who seemed very agitated about these crackers).

We continued rounds and a minute later, Mr. Smith opened the door to his room and asked me if he could speak to the doctor. I said, "Just a minute, we're doing rounds."

He nodded like he understood, but then he held out the bag of crackers to me and said, "Take these crackers."

I said to him, "Just leave your crackers in your room. We'll come get them later."

That wasn't a satisfactory answer. Mr. Smith insisted again that I take the crackers with me, but I told him again to just leave them in the room. I tried to close the door, but as I was closing it, Mr. Smith slipped the crackers through the door just before it closed in an Indiana Jones-esque move.

So I was stuck with those goddamn crackers. I mean, he wasn't even my patient.


  1. I remember in psych posting sharing a large cafetaria with the patients, we would get uncomfortable if any would approach our table.

  2. Should have just took the crackers and handed them off to the nurses station after the round. Saves a lot of hassle.

    Oh, and WV: "distacin" ... seems apt.

  3. this reminds me of a patient incident during my geri psych rotation. i was rounding on my patient and found him standing in his rom wearing nothing but a large pair of tighty-whitey underwear. but then i noticed that they were sagging significantly in the back. i thought that he had had a large bowel movement so i offered to help him and took a peak in his drawers. i did not find feces, but rather a very large stash of packets of jelly, butter, ketchup, and plastic cutleries.

    no one can ever say that psych is boring!!

  4. What are you complaining about? Maybe he knew they were serving soup in the cafeteria that day, and wanted to help you?