Friday, March 1, 2013

Fun with Pain

I could fill a book writing about all the patients from my residency Pain Clinic.

One of the most bizarre patients I had was a little old lady who I'll call Granny who had intermittent tingling in her arms for the past several months. And when I say intermittent, I mean that the tingling occurred twice a month for two minutes at a time. How out of your mind do you have to be to go to a doctor for four minutes of discomfort per month?

Anyway, just to be safe, we ordered some C-spine films on the woman. My attending Dr. Green told her to come back in a week and we'd review the films. I filled out the follow-up slip for her.

Me: "OK, so we'll see you back here in one to two weeks after the X-rays."

Granny: "Dr. Green said one week."

Me: "Yes, well... this isn't urgent, so one to two weeks is fine. Whatever time that's convenient for you."

Granny: "But he said one week."

Me: "Okay, whatever."

So I sent Granny on her way. About an hour later, I looked into one of the examining rooms and saw none other than GRANNY sitting in the room. A very harried-looking Dr. Green was talking to her with thinly masked exasperation. Apparently, she went and got her X-rays right now in radiology and now she wanted to be seen again and have the X-rays reviewed. I think Dr. Green told her something along the lines of "too damn bad" and sent Granny on her way.

(We were already booked and overbooked and Dr. Green had to go to the university for a meeting right after clinic.)

Me: "Geez, what is wrong with her?"

Dr. Green: "She wanted everything done NOW. She wanted me to fax a copy of the X-ray report to her primary doctor. She literally just got the films five minutes ago. The X-rays aren't even up in the computer yet and there definitely isn't a report that can be sent."

Me: "I swear, I told her to come back in a week."

Dr. Green: "Well, apparently, she thought you said to come back in five minutes."

Honestly, I can't even imagine doing some of the kind of shit our patients pulled.


  1. These days, I wouldn't be surprised if someone like that raved about Obamacare, or how we're becoming more like Europe. I blame the insurance companies for running those advertisements about people having to wait for tests and operations in Canada and elsewhere - as if we don't in America. Perhaps they figure that the land that invested fast food is also the land of fast medicine.

    Of course, there are also some people that demand everything now. If this patient was particularly anxious about her condition (for what ever reason), such expectations would only be worse. Frustrating to work with for sure.

  2. Fine, I'll just go to the Emergency Room...Accckkkkk

  3. We had a guy that was told by a surgeon that he needed a procedure. A few weeks later I was called by the admitting desk... "Mr. Smith is here for his procedure -" only he had never made an appointment to have it done... Of course I got to go do some re-educating!

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