Monday, December 27, 2010

Sunday afternoon, 5:51 p.m.

"Hi, I'm a patient of Dr. Grumpy's. On Christmas eve I was at my daughter's house, and they all pointed out that I was dragging my right leg. It didn't hurt, and I didn't want to ruin the party, so I figured I'd see if it got better overnight. In the morning it wasn't any better, and my right arm and face were numb. But it was Christmas, and even though my granddaughter said I was talking funny, I didn't want to bother you, because it's, you know, a holiday. Besides, it made her laugh. She's so cute! Plus, my son had traveled all the way from Albuquerque to join us, and I didn't want to spoil things. Anyway, it's Sunday afternoon, and I'm on the way home after dropping my son off at the airport. So I'm calling to see if I can get an appointment to see you next week. Can someone please call me back in the morning?"

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm assuming she'll have an appointment this morning!

Grumpy, M.D. said...

I sent her to ER and called to doc there. She needs a head CT, and I don't have one at my office.

Calls like this are frighteningly common the day after Christmas and Thanksgiving.

heterodyne said...

OMG!
Frighteningly common and frightening as well.

C said...

We have this running, flaming head smilie on my message board-I so want to use that right here.

Ackkkkkkk

Anonymous said...

Patients are sure ONE extreme of the OTHER in YOUR business, huh? Either, OMG, see me now, no I don't have an appointment, I am 28 minutes late please see me anyway to I am sorry I was having fun, it was kinda funny how I was talking AND I DIDN'T WANT TO BOTHER you on the HOLIDAY! I certainly hope whatever this is can be fixed and she will be okay.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Most patients are intelligent and reasonable, but certainly not blogworthy. Who wants to read about normal?

So if you read ANY medical blog, you get a skewered view.

I recommend this post, by ER's Mom.

Anonymous said...

Just creased me Tonto.

RehabNurse said...

Yes, I love it that people think the docs can just diagnose, give a pill, and away they go.

As a nurse, I tell everyone who asks me, "I am not an x-ray machine. Go see someone (ER) who has one and make sure you don't have anything serious."
If they ask me what I'd do, I'd say I'd go, too.

Besides, my safety manager (Dahey) at home would never let me have an x-ray machine.

Anonymous said...

The most awful part of this is that the patient's son allowed him (her) to drive him to the airport! Your parent is talking funny and dragging a leg, you call an ambulance. Yeah, it will spoil Christmas, but remembering the Christmas when grandpa(ma) was having a stroke and you did nothing isn't a cheery memory either!

Josh said...

No it's all good, she is still in the window for TpA right.

Adam said...

It's ironic that the people that need to call don't and the people that don't need to call do. As a family doc, we'll get 15 calls from the Mom wanting ADHD meds for her kid in the morning for every 1 call from someone legitimately sick who delays because they don't want to bother you.

SuFu said...

kind of like a story i read about a met. prostate cancer patient who went into DIC during Christmas dinner because he didn't want to interrupt the holidays.

Not House said...

Ugh. I've never understood the whole "well, I don't want to ruin Xmas/Thanksgiving/Easter/4th of July/Arbor Day for the family" mentality.

Is getting a stroke somehow better than inconveniencing them to go to the hospital?

Action Potential said...

*look of total abject horror* <-- my face.

Hope everything turns out as best as possible.

pharmacy chick said...

2 years ago our pastor's wife had a sub arachnoid hematoma on Thanksgiving day...she was in ICU for 21 days. I guess THIS patient was lucky enough to have survived thru monday to call you...wow

Kat's Kats said...

I am so glad that I have an intelligent family who would call 911 if anyone in the family began exhibiting these symptoms!

merinz said...

Almost the same thing has happened in our family two days before Christmas when I was staying with two elderly Aunts. One of them woke up with a numb and 'dropped' face although no arm or leg numbness.

The big difference - I took her immediately to ER where she received the appropriate treatment, scans etc and was admitted overnight to hospital.

However - if I hadn't been there I suspect she would have 'toughed it out' as the older generation often do.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in a family where my mother had been physically and sexually abused repeatedly through her childhood. She has a high pain threshold, and sufficeth to say, that she was NEVER sympathetic, or caring when any of me or my siblings were sick growing up. Her motto was always "Suck it up." Anyway, two siblings had ruptured appendixes on her watch as "Mom." Those are just two things of MANY things.

I now fall into that category of not wanting to "bother" the Dr. for something I am experiencing, but have no problems getting my kids in if there is a serious issue.

Hope this lady turned out alright. I am surprised that her kids didn't at least bring her in. That part is bizarre.

Anonymous said...

Awww - sweet lady - horrific family. If she is already your patient she has already needed you for something else,yes? So wouldn't the family (and her) be on a higher sense of alert of anything neuro related??? (Unless she is in a state of denial herself; "...if I don't think about that leg thats dragging then it's not really a problem and it might go away..." I guess some people assume if it doesn't hurt then it can't be bad. Hope she's ok. Crikey you must have a Forest Gump box of chocolates moment when you listen to your voice mail...you never know what gooey centres you're gonna get! And yes, they do make the best blog fodder!!

The Mother said...

Very few stroke patients take it with such a sense of humor. Ten points for style.

terri c said...

I sure hope she'll be OK--and hope we won't being seeing an appalling head CT for her on ERP's blog.

myoclonicjerk said...

OH. MY. GOD.

Miss Waxie said...

Ha! I mean.. that in the totally frightening funny kind of way. Not that I haven't probably been guilty of it myself once or twice over the years, but STILL. Driving? The whole family not noticing grandma's face and leg are two rooms behind? Yikes!

Actually it reminds me a little of the first page of my most recent comic. You might want to check it out for a laugh:
http://acomiclifeindeed.wordpress.com/2010/12/28/doctors-are-a-girls-best-friends/

- Miss Waxie

Amanda in AK said...

Not to uncommon for someone who is older. My Mom just had a stroke at home and was walking, speaking with difficulty, and a little disoriented. She just thought she was sick. Only way she received help was due to my persistence in phoning family nearby (I'm 3,500 miles away) and her not picking up or returning calls. She was dressed and had put on makeup when my family and the ambulance arrived. She also subsequently spent 10 days in the ICU, Neuro. and rehab floors of her local hospital. My Mom is fiercely independent, I bet this lady is also.

Olivia said...

My grandma was like this- believed that seeking medical help was "letting the devil win." This strategy pretty much worked impeccably until she was about 94, when she had a massive stroke, broke her arm badly enough to have the bone poke through, and still didn't go to the doctor. (though she may have been confused). At the hospital (being treated for stroke and massive infection due to untreated wound) fought like crazy to be released.

Even though the rest of us don't have her religious reasoning, there's still a lingering attitude that acknowledging illness is making it "real".

For myself, I did this myself once...didn't want to go to the ER (since it was 11pm on New Year's Eve) and waited until the 2nd to go to urgent care. Got antibiotics for massive infection. Got a call later for a second test, as they'd feared leukemia, based on my white cell count. I was fine, but I do remember them saying, "normally you don't see people with that kind of white count outside of hospitals." Guess I'd better brave the ER if there's a next time.

 
Locations of visitors to this page