Sunday, June 7, 2009

Good Thing He's in a Coma

Being a neurologist means sometimes being LOUD. In residency, no matter how quiet and soft-spoken you may be, you learn how to SHOUT, yet still be polite.

Is this because we deal with little old deaf people? A little. But the main reason is because we are frequently consulted to wake the dead (or at least try) and evaluate the comatose. In order to do so you need to make sure that this person definitely isn't responding. So you learn to be able to shout into their ears in the gigadecibel range, to see if they can actually hear you.

And you yell simple commands, trying to break through a wall of brain damage, drugs, and loud ICU machines to see if there's anyone in there. "MR. JONES! CAN YOU WIGGLE YOUR TOES FOR ME?" or "MRS. SMITH! CAN YOU SHOW ME TWO FINGERS?"

If you don't believe me, just ask any ICU nurse. They often carry their own earplugs for when they see a neurologist going into a patient's room.

So this morning I got called in to evaluate a guy with brain damage named Mr. Dick.

So I did my usual shouting routine to try to wake him.

"MR. DICK! CAN YOU HEAR ME? CAN YOU HOLD UP TWO FINGERS?"

No response.

"MR. TOES! CAN YOU WIGGLE YOUR DICK FOR ME?"

Mercifully, the patient didn't respond. The nurses' station, however, broke down in hysterical laughing. So did the patient 2 doors down. I'm sure I turned bright red when I realized what I'd said.

Leave me alone. It's 5:00 a.m., and I haven't had a Diet Coke yet.

21 comments:

Grumpy, M.D. said...

For those of you who may yell that today's post is a HIPAA violation keep in mind that:

1. I've altered spelling of the last name.

2. Time is relative.

Lipstick said...

LOL...I honestly did not know that neurologists had to yell at their patients. You are so educational Dr. Grumpy.

Jill said...

Oh, that is just too funny.

peedee said...

Brilliant, just brilliant.

mojitogirl said...

What would you have said if he answered you?

Anonymous said...

Shhheee, the lady next to me is frowning. I could not absolutely stop from bursting out laughing. Teach me to try to read your blog in the public library.

pharmacy chick said...

I had a customer once who was perusing the counter in front of me. being Miss Helpful, I said "Hello sir, may I help you?"..no reponse. I tried again. "Hello sir, is there something I can help you find?"...no reponse..."Some Hearing aid batteries perhaps?" I finally added.
Gratefully he didn't hear that one either..

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Why PC, who ever would have guessed you might be sarcatic?

That's awesome.

vinomom said...

I'm pretty non-functional prior to my diet coke too. I get it.

One Nurse said...

Spending many years on an acute neuro floor, I have to say that I don't miss the yelling. However I do miss the humor of almost all of the neuro docs I worked with. This is great!!!! Could also be used as a way to catch someone faking. If I was faking (which I think is rediculous), I would certainly crack up if you yelled that at me.
Another thing about working a neuro floor. . . just remember that if you are a patient, the patients in the two rooms to the left of your as well as the two rooms to the right of yours will know ALL your business. Neuro patients that spend much time in the hospital become very familiar with each other. It's pretty funny. Great sotry !!!

Nichole said...

LOL, thanks for the chuckle!

amsieime said...

haha..that was so damn funny..i loled at this.. :D

Anonymous said...

I seriously needed the laugh today! That was hysterical! I had tears rolling down my face:)

Jaded Rx Intern said...

Oh thank you for that Doc. Sitting in a hotel room taking a study break from my NAPLEX book. I read this one four times; the fourth time was just as funny (if not more) than the first.

Anonymous said...

Me, too, I actually LOLed.

Here at my desk at work in psychiatry. I LOLed.

Motherboard said...

Doctors have a sense of humor? Who knew!

Very funny post indeed!

xtine said...

You mean you didn't do it on purpose?
You're making me crave diet coke again, dammit.

vicki said...

i only wish i had swallowed that mouthful of tea before i read the punchline.

Anonymous said...

How do you know he didn't respond? Did you check 'neath the sheet?

Poor guy - you need the artisanal lab coat that has a Diet Coke auto dispensing pocket.

zoowomanrvtrn said...

LOL!! I'm left wondering what your response would have been had he actually RESPONDED as you asked?! Thanks, that was definately a 'milk out of the nose' post :)

April said...

That is just too funny. I used to be a nurse in medical critical care, and know all too well about the yelling. I had a very hard of hearing patient that yelled "get your fingers out of my _ss". Without thinking and trying to calm her, I yelled "but my fingers aren't in your _ss". I turned around and realized the room was right by the nurses station and one of our male nurses was peeking into the room to "just make sure I didn't need any help"....nice. I heard about that one for a long time.

 
Locations of visitors to this page