You Just Can’t Make This Stuff Up…

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

Nurses are often seeing patients during their time of greatest need, so it still comes as a surprise every now and then just how lively patients can be.

But seriously—there should be a course in nursing school entirely dedicated to keeping a straight face when confronted with statements from patients that range from “a little bit wacky” to “downright sassy.” Good thing a strong poker face gets to be an on-demand part of the uniform…and sooner rather than later (if you’re lucky).

Curious as always, we asked you to share some of your most outlandish “Did you just hear that?” moments from the hospital on our Facebook page. Here’s the Top 10 list of what your fellow nurses had to say about what their patients had to say:

1. “I was doing pre-op registration on a 60-something male who was having a hernia repair. When I asked if he had any questions, he said, ‘Do I need to shave Big Jim and the twins?’ I managed to tell him ‘no’ with a straight face, but it took all the restraint I had. Once he was out of earshot, I burst out laughing.” —Linda Beach Pearson 

2. “Admitting an elderly man for a heart cath. He was wearing O2 and very nervous and alone. To break the ice and lighten the mood while doing his H&P, I asked, ‘Are you pregnant?’ Without missing a beat, he replied, ‘No, but I have been exposed!’ I almost fell off my stool laughing!!!” —Lea Ann Talkington 

3. “Had a family of a patient tell me their daughter was conceived at Six Flags. In the women’s bathroom. I laughed until I cried that night, and haven’t looked at the Texas Giant the same [since].” —Stephanie White

4. “Me: Are you having any pain? Patient: Yes, as a matter of fact I am. You’re a pain in my ass.” —Amber Cech 

5. “I walked in one morning into pts room to take her blood sugar…she knew. It was routine. ‘I guess you’re here to check my sugar.’ ‘Yes, ma’am.’ ‘Well, then let me give you the finger!'” —Jerry Rodriguez 

6. “Gave a suppository, and in response, I got, ‘Whoaaa, shouldn’t we talk first?’ And yes—I had already explained it.” —Amy Roberston 

7. “Me singing along with the radio at work, [and] my resident asks, ‘What did you do with that money?’ I asked, ‘What money?’ And my resident says, ‘The money your mother gave you for singing lessons.'” —Katie Lamb 

8. “I was giving a resident a whirlpool. After washing her upper part I asked her if she wanted to do her own peri area. She said, ‘Yes, I can wash my own downtown area.’ So, I put a lot of soap on a washcloth and she said, ‘WHOA—downtown ain’t that big!'” Phyllis Alberts 

9. “I once heard an elderly patient say, ‘Go get your father right now’ to her young nurse.” —Karen Cripe

10. “My DON asked a 99-year-old woman what brought her to the nursing home. She piped up! ‘I’m knocked up; they are trying to hide the family secret.'” —Terri Sue Armstrong 

Have a patient’s words ever made your cheeks (or ears!) burn? Share your story with us in the comments section below!


This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

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21 COMMENTS

  1. My 16 year old male Hispanic patient was newly diagnosed as having juvenile onset diabetes. He had left a FULL urinal at his bedside at the change of shift. I realized we were having a language barrier as I tried to determine if he had filled the urinal in one void, or more than one void. He had limited English skills, and my Spanish was very limited as well! Finally, I said…in my very limited knowledge of the Spanish language (while using hand gestures into the urinal)…”Ummm, uno urinado or dos urinado…psssss”!!! His buddy explained what I was trying to say and the patient gestured and said, “Uno, pssss”!!! I simply said gracias, emptied the urinal, and walked into the hall….then we ALL broke out in hysterical laughter as they started speaking in ENGLISH!!!

  2. Many years ago, as a new nurse in the ED, a patient from a MVA had an evident femur fracture and as I started to cut open his jeans, apologizing for having to do it, he started screaming “no, no, no” and clutching at his crotch. I calmly explained it wa necessary as I continued cutting and when I reached the top I saw a very large protruding sock, which I gently pulled out. The patient pleaded with me to not tell anyone so I placed the sock in a red bag and told him I would be right back. I handed the red bag to the ward clerk and said “lab, STAT” and set the patient up for X-rays. As he was being wheeled by he grabbed my hand and said “thank you “ very sincerely. I just smiled and nodded. The ED got a lot of miles of laughter for weeks after.

  3. Had a short in stature psychiatric patient take a “shine” to me. Being six feet tall he said…”take me to your ladder…we’ll meet your leader later. I’m a frigid midget with a rigid digit”.

  4. We heard my elderly gentleman patient from the nurse’s station: “What the h***?!?!” I ran down to check what was going on. Didn’t see any problem at first, just that he was MAD. Then noticed a small, unwrapped bar of Neutrogena soap we gave all patients on the bedside table. There were two teeth marks out of it. “What H*** is that? I thought it was chocolate! It burns like H***!!!” All appropriate apologies, paperwork and removal of soap from his room were cared for…. 😉

  5. A male patient was in the hallway of the OR for emergency Open Heart Surgery. He was extremely nervous. When I asked him his name, he replied “My name is Richard, but you can call me Dick.” to which I replied quickly, “I wouldn’t call you that unless I was really mad at you.” He laughed until the anesthesiologist put him to sleep.

  6. I was assisting an APRN with a history and physical when she asked the elderly diabetic lady do you drink sodas. The patient replied yes and when asked how many she told us 10-15 cans a day. The APRN then asked “diet” the patient smiled and said “No, Caffeine Free” it was all we could do to keep a straight face.

  7. A drunk, elderly patient in the ER said to me just night (regarding iv insertion,) “if you want to get my veins hard, just turn on some porno.”

  8. for many years I worked as a CVRN in the OR and I’ve been a CNOR for many years. As I was Assisting the Anesthesiologist in transferring our first patient into the OR suite via gurney, the Anesthesiologist asked the patient, “Oh by the way are you a diabetic?”.The patient replied no I’m Episcopalian. The patient couldn’t understand why we both broke into fits of laughter.

  9. I work in a surgical area, where patient identification is a way of life. One patient, on being asked her name & birth date, replied, “I’ve been asked for my birth date so many times, I’d better be getting a really good present!”

  10. Working at a nursing home I had a resident that had two dolls that she took such good care of. She completely treated them as real babies. One day she confessed to me that she knew that they were not real. Undressing one she said “see, no vagina”.

  11. A pregnant patient came in just in time to deliver. When questioning her about her medical history the attending Physican asked “Do you use drugs or alcohol”? Her reply was YES!!! He asked which one. She said both. What drugs do you use? COKE!! Anything else? The patient responded “why would I use anything else, is there anything better than COKE?? We all managed to maintain our composure but the minute we left the room…. We all burst out laughing.

  12. I asked a patient to tell me his name and date of birth. He told me his name, and the month and date of his birth. I asked if he could tell me the year and he said “Every year!”

  13. I was 56 yrs old at the time. In triage with a mom and her 6 yr old son. When he asked me if I was a princess,I then smiled and asked him why he would ask me that question, he then said because you are wearing a crown. He pointed at my sparkly hair barrette. I said how sweet of him But no I am just a nurse. For many years I have smiled about that day ,when a little boy thought I was a princess

    • Awww how sweet, but “JUST” a Nurse, no such thing…Nurses are amazing and have many more positive attributes than just a Princess!!! 🙂

  14. Asked a male pt many times for a urine specimen. After 3d time asked, the Dr said cath him if he doesn’t give a specimen. I informed the pt that I will have to cath him if he did not give a urine specimen now. His brother then said
    you ain’t saying it right honey, said to his brother,hey dude,piss in the can or she’ll put a hose up your d- – -k. Pt then said oh. Ok!

  15. On greeting my pt., I ask ed her how she was this AM. She said she was fine, except for her CRS. I was a little bit stumped. I couldn’t think of anything that fit CRS. I said to her that I wasn’t familiar with that abbreviation. This sweet, little old lady, smiled sweetly & said, Can’t Remember Sh_ t. I laughed all day & so did the rest of the ICU staff.

    • Good one. I think I’ll use those initials with a “my CRS is exacerbating!!!”…to confuse my colleagues one over busy, frantic work day when asked how I am, just for fun and a chuckle maybe!!! LOL

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