Sunday, November 11, 2007

Undiscovered Country

Mr. Ben Dover came in with complaints of a delicate nature. I settled him onto the stretcher in Triage and asked how I could help him today. "Well, Miss. I have a problem near my, um, near my.............rectum," he whispered. He was blushing redder than a desert sky at sunset.

"OK, Mr. Dover. What seems to be the problem?"

"Well, it's, um, it's draining some, um, weird stuff."

Weird stuff, huh? Weird like grape juice? Ketchup? What the hell could be weird that comes out of your body?

"Mr. Dover, can I take a look?"



"Well, we can't very well treat you if you won't let us see it."

He was mortified that I had even asked to look at his rectum. Mr. Dover was a 28 year old male who had never seen a physician before. I almost think he'd never seen a girl before.

After about 10 minutes of educating the patient on the reason I needed to see the wound and the professionalism with which I would observe it, he finally gave in. I gave him a sheet to cover with and asked him to roll onto his side after undressing from the waist down. Once he was positioned properly, I opened his buttocks and observed the wound.

Sweet Boil on a stove! He had a large wound next to his rectum that was draining very foul smelling pus. Thick yellow/green pus.

"Did you injure yourself here or did this appear on it's own?" I asked.

He didn't answer.

I repeated myself and he said, "I'd prefer to talk to the doctor."

Sure thing. I'm not sure I wanted to know the answer anyway. I notified Dr Q of the patient's arrival and chief complaint. Dr. Q went in to examine him. It turned out that the patient had squatted to take a dump while he was camping in the woods and stabbed himself on a stick. He was too mortified to seek help for it and let it fester for a week or so until he could no longer sit down. Dr. Q did a quick I&D, started him on antibiotics, and sent him on his way.

Another day in the life of the ER.


j1lane said...

Right, the old squatted-on-it-by-accident story. A common variation on "I slipped and fell! honest!"

NocturnalRN said...

What would have been even more horrible for him is if the MD was also female.