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The woman who brought her own furniture and other unforgettable patients

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Every month, I get an email from the editors here at Scrubs with suggestions for articles I could write. This month’s list of suggestions included “Tell us about unforgettable patients you’ve had.”

Something tells me they have No Idea What They’re Getting Into.

There was the Nobel Laureate with whom I discussed meatloaf recipes, the woman who smuggled her miniature long-haired dachshund into the room, the person who swore up and down that they were allergic to everything our patient kitchen served and so had to have nothing but McDonald’s for their entire stay. (Remembering that makes a Big Mac sound really good right now…I’m sure that’s the stress talking.)

My three most memorable patients, though, are these…

1. The Woman with the Electronic Widget

2. The Man Who was Allergic to Oxygen

3. The Woman Who Brought Her Own Furniture

First: The Woman with the Electronic Widget

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Agatha Lellis

Agatha Lellis is a nurse whose coffee is brought to her every morning by a chipmunk. Bluebirds help her to dress, and small woodland creatures sing her to sleep each night. She writes a monthly advice column, "Ask Aunt Agatha," here on Scrubs; you can send her questions to be answered at askauntieaggie@gmail.com.
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19 Responses to The woman who brought her own furniture and other unforgettable patients

  1. Candace

    I had a patient who came in for a hip replacement who brought 3 huge bags of personal items. When we asked him about it, he stated that the PA had told him pre-op that he would go to rehab for 6-8 weeks after the replacement so he had given up his apartment to save 2 months rent money. Sadly he was discharged home after his 4 day stay because he was ambulating so well post-op. He had to move in with a friend.

  2. Melissa

    We had this patient that needed to do a stool sample, so instead of using the spatula and putting it into the carboard envelope he brings in a warm turd with the stool kit laying on top in a plastic bag. The receptionists he handed it to needless to say has never been the same.

  3. Chris

    I had a patient one time that left the hospital to go get her sister and her 6 kids to bring them back to her hospital room to stay because the boyfriend of the sister kicked her out

    • Dee Caption Contest

      Nothing like built-in baby sitters! Had a patient whose 10 yo daughter stayed because the sister didn’t come back for her. And the ill grandfather whose family dropped off his grandson so the poor man could ‘watch’ him all day! Or the older woman who was admitted so the hospital could watch her while the family took a vacation! As a student nurse I once had a toddler whose family didn’t visit at all but would call on the phone – like the kid would know this!

      • Nurse Rene RN

        Actually the ‘admit to hospital’ for some B.S. reason so that the family could go away for a break used to be a very common practice-before the DRG rules came into play.
        Same thing with children which was the worst abuse of all. Sticking IVs in and giving them useless antibiotics with NO labs, X-ray or anything else to actually diagnose the ‘pneumonia’ that this one doctor would ‘diagnose’ over the phone.

  4. Fyrefli

    Allergic to O2? Where do these people get such notions?

  5. Amy

    Wow! I would LOVE to see the one that tops that! I know most pts act as if they are at the Ritz-Carlton, but THIS is ridiculous!!! Fire code didn’t prevent the furniture thing? I know in our smaller rooms it limits so much. This was a funny story though. Thanks for sharing. It helps the rest of know we are not alone in serving the self proclaimed royalty out there! 😉

  6. Christie

    I had a patient leave the hospital–he was admitted–to go to his dentist appointment. When he came strolling back in 2 1/2 hours later, he couldn’t understand why we were so upset about him eloping!

  7. Elaine

    I had a patient say she was allergic to normal saline and insist that all of her flushes be D5W. When asked about the reaction by the physician she informed us that she was the only one in the state with this problem. Yeah, I’ll bet she was the only one

    • Cyrren RN

      There actually is an issue with some people and NSS flushes that causes them to feel nauseated after a flush usually through a central line. Many patients can actually “taste” the saline. Very few get to the point they vomit. One of our patients actually would and the solution to this was to use D5W flushes instead.

  8. Nurse Rene RN

    Sounds like the Furniture Lady saw ‘Terms of Endearment’ a bit too many times…

  9. Dee Caption Contest

    She brought her own furniture and furs!? Any relation to the bunch on Gilligan’s Island?! Had a patient who rearranged his furniture every 15 mins. Wash your hands – search for the trash can!

  10. rnpj2000 RN

    Many years ago I was helping a nurse change one of his confused patients. This patient was in his upper 80’s. He was a 6’2″ tall bald man wearing a big blue diaper. I was close to his hands so his nurse told me to be careful that the patient hits…. I patted the old mans hand and said aawwww he wouldn’t hit me… he’s precious.. He positioned himself in a pose and said ” I’m not precious… I’M SEXY!!!

  11. Cyrren RN

    I love the people that are “allergic” to everything. I once had a patient that claimed an allergy to plasma.

    • Nurse Rene RN

      I had a home care patient who was so very concerned about dye in her laundry detergent and other such things causing cancer-all the while smoking one cigarette after another…

  12. Smithteamracing RN

    I had a patient that was allergic to tap water…..after weeks in the hospital & discovering the nurses had bottled water in their break rom.
    I also had a patient with a tattoo on his penis…..I was going to ask but then decided I really didn’t need to know!!!
    Also had the family that expected us to watch the patients spouse with dementia. Seeing him in his wife’s room in his undies was quite shocking.
    We still have granny dumping….elderly patient brought the ER by her family with complaints of chest pain. Two days later when everything has been ruled out & you call the family to come & get their Mother (Father) you find out thet have gone to Hawaii or XXXX for a week.

  13. nurse nikki

    i had at patient allergic to clexane they got bruising an redness around the site… safe to say we all had a good laugh about it

    • ShaynaRN

      I had a patient one time who told me that every time we have her the SQ injection of Lovenox that she would throw it up. She wasn’t saying the drug made her nauseated, she said she was actually throwing the injection up. People will say anything to get what they want or what they don’t!

  14. Amessmer

    I was doing an admission who told me she was allergic to mercury. I told her I was too! I also had a patient who was studying dark energy by using the Mayan calendar, and one who was a practicing Wiccan who held naked rituals in her room that included her daughter.

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