Dr. Tallahatchie went home. Because he was unable to use stairs for several weeks, and his apartment building didn't have an elevator, he needed to find a place to stay that was on the first floor.
Which, as it turned out, was my apartment.
So, 3 of us went to his place to haul crap he needed for a few weeks to survive, like some clothes and CD's, over to my abode.
As he waited in the car, he suddenly realized he'd forgotten to tell us to get something else he needed: his comic book collection. So, grabbing his crutches, he got out and hobbled over to the staircase. Since we didn't respond to his yelling, he decided to try ascending a few stairs... and fell. Landing on his recently broken leg.
The leg, fortunately, was covered in such a huge cast that it was indestructible. But it still hurt like hell. We ran down the stairs to help him back up.
He was pale and looked quite uncomfortable. Without saying a word he reached into a pocket and pulled out the newly-filled bottle of Percocet we'd just picked up. He poured several into his mouth, chewed them up and swallowed, then hobbled back to the car.
All he said then was "Wake me when we get to your place."
Dr. Tallahatchie, as anticipated, required a fairly lengthy surgical procedure. He'd broken his leg in 3 places, 1 of which was a compound fracture.
Even worse (from his view) was that they wouldn't let him smoke.
Recovery from this sort of thing is not painless. After surgery he was put on a morphine PCA pump. For those of you not in medicine, this is a gadget that delivers IV narcotics controlled by the hospital patient. You need more morphine? Press a button and it gives you some. The pump is programmed with a maximum amount and frequency you can receive, and is locked out with a security code.
20 years ago, however, the security codes were only 4 digits, and Dr. Tallahatchie had a photographic memory. After watching the nurse set it up, it took him only a few tries to hack it. Due to ongoing pain, he increased his morphine dose. This made him much more comfortable.
Nursing found him still breathing, but unable to be woken. The internal medicine service, comically, called for a neurology consult, and my colleague, Dr. Violet, told them exactly what the problem was.
So they took his PCA pump away. Since his vital signs were okay Violet didn't have the heart to use Narcan.
As a result of the overdose, the good doctor was now unable to pee, and so a foley catheter was ordered. His nurse started the procedure, only to be stopped when Dr. Tallahatchie suddenly became wide awake, sat-up, and yelled "HEY! THAT'S MY WINKIE!!!"
Although now more alert, he still couldn't run the water. And when the nurse came at him with the foley again, he asked her to give him a few minutes to "prepare himself."
She stepped out, and he frantically paged me, asking me to bring him a pair of sterile size 7 gloves. He didn't say why, but I realized what was up when I got there. He took the gloves and told me to distract the nurse for 5 more minutes. He wasn't going to let anyone touch his winkie.
When the nurse came back, she was stunned to see he'd put it in himself. Correctly.
Note: As of yesterday, Dr. Tallahatchie confirmed that (20 years later) he still smokes and drinks. He has not, however, attempted climbing a tree again.
One summer, a bunch of us neurology residents volunteered to work at a summer camp for teenagers with epilepsy.
This went well. Until the last day.
After the kids' bus had left, we learned the van coming for us had a mechanical issue, and would be delayed 4-5 hours.
So, with nothing better to do, we walked a mile to the nearest town, bought a shitload of cheap beer to carry back to camp, and got drunk. For those of you who are horrified, this is pretty standard. Medical residents are basically college students, but with more letters after their names.
This went well until our chief resident (Dr. Tallahatchie), the one in charge of showing us younger residents the proper way to do things and to lead by example... Decided to climb a large tree. This kind of decision (and the inevitable "Hey, everybody, watch this!") always seems to follow alcohol consumption. Especially when the person involved grew up in rural Mississippi.
In a bold display of intoxicated coordination, Dr. Tallahatchie climbed a tree about 15-20 feet up, then tried to swing across to a branch on it's neighbor. Which broke.
When we got to him, our chief resident was awake, still drunk, and had a broken bone sticking out of his right leg. The excessive alcohol probably helped, as he absently commented "boy, I sure fucked that up." He then pulled out a pack of cigarettes, began smoking, and pulled my beer out of my hand and finished it.
So we had several highly-trained medical people standing around, with no clue what to do for a compound fracture. I mean, if he'd had a stroke, or seizure, we might have had an idea. But we're neurologists, and don't know a damn thing about bones. None of us had a phone, either (this was the mid-90's) and the camp's office was locked. So, we threw some T-shirts on to absorb the blood, and Dr. Linn (who ran marathons often) bolted back to town to call an ambulance.
She also bought more beer.
When the paramedics arrived, they asked Dr. Tallahatchie to stop smoking for the ride back to Big City Hospital. He refused, and said he knew he'd be in the hospital for the next week and wouldn't be allowed to smoke there, so was going to keep puffing until they rolled him into ER. The sympathetic medic said "okay" and offered him a light. His partner went into the back of the truck to make sure their oxygen tank was closed and secured.
Our van didn't show up for another hour. We took Dr, Tallahatchie's suitcase with us. It was mostly full of comic books, which we read to pass the time.
Dr. Dickweed is an internist upstairs from me. He's been there since I moved into the building in 1997.
never referred to me. I'm polite. I've tried to talk to him in the
elevator. When I started out years ago I went by his office asking
for referrals. He coldly informed me that he doesn't trust, or refer
to, physicians under 60 years old. Whatever. He's entitled to his
Anyway, Mary interrupted me today to say that
Dr. Dickweed was on the phone. This was a first, so I picked up
Dr. Grumpy: "This is Dr. Grumpy."
"Grumpy, this is Dickweed. I just want you to know that I'm out of Grizzitor samples, and one of my patients needs some. I told her to
come by your office to get them. Your staff doesn't need to schedule her
for an appointment, and you don't need to see her. Just give her
whatever Grizzitor samples you have."
Dr. Grumpy (somewhat taken aback by this kind request): "Dickweed, I'm out of Grizzitor samples. They stopped sampling it years ago."
Dr. Dickweed: "You young doctors are so fucking worthless." (click).
This blog is entirely for entertainment purposes. All posts about patients may be fictional, or be my experience, or were submitted by a reader, or any combination of the above. Factual statements may or may not be accurate.
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Note: I do not answer medical questions. If you are having a medical issue, see your own doctor. For all you know I'm really a Mongolian yak herder and have no medical training at all except in issues regarding the care and feeding of Mongolian yaks.