Top 10 crazy things I’ve heard recently from patients and their family members

Shutterstock | Junial Enterprises
Shutterstock | Junial Enterprises

Guys, it never stops. Just when I think I’ve heard every ridiculous excuse or confabulation, humanity proves itself to be the silliest creature in the universe. Here’s a small sampling of things I’ve been told in just the last couple of months.

1. “I’m allergic to oxygen.” That came from a woman as I was trying to put a nasal cannula on her after surgery. I wonder if maybe I should’ve hooked it up to the methane flow meter instead?

2. “I won’t take aspirin because it’s not natural.” Boo, how much more natural do you want to get than an extract of willow bark? I’ll cut you some slack because of your stroke, but if you’re worried about natural, I’d look harder at that weird processed soy thing you just ate for lunch.

3. “My mother can’t eat tomatoes. They make her emotional.” Okaaay.

4. “Don’t put that thickener into Dad’s water. It’s raising his blood sugar.” I’m glad you mentioned that. Aspiration pneumonia is so easy to treat, and as far as I know, we have no drugs to treat hyperglycemia. (Squinty look at family member)

5. “If you get him out of bed, I’ll report you for assault and you’ll lose your license.” For what it’s worth, the patient (post-op for a knee replacement) had no problem mobilizing with physical therapy. It was his son who was nutty.

6. “Why didn’t food service send up the roll and the brownie I ordered for lunch?” Probably because you reported a “very severe” gluten allergy when you were admitted.

7. “Sometimes his toenails fall off, but we don’t worry about that.” I…I…wow.

8. “When my wife has high blood sugar, I give her a couple of extra units of insulin, you know, on top of what she normally gets, just to make sure she gets enough.” Patient education, stat!

9. “Would you mind watching my toddler while I go visit a patient?” The only response to this was a beady-eyed stare.

10. “Everybody here has been so kind and professional. Thank you so much. I feel much better knowing that there are highly trained people who really care watching out for me.” Okay, I’ll admit that one was pushing the boundaries of what’s believable.

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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

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5 Responses to Top 10 crazy things I’ve heard recently from patients and their family members

  1. craftycat

    Had a patient tell me she was allergic to plastic. I asked her what sort & what effect it had on her. Her reply – all plastic & it makes me sweat!

  2. JDaniel

    “I’m allergic to acetaminophen but one of my home medications is Lorcet. I take it everyday.”

  3. devsmum04

    Had a patient tell me they were allergic to oxygen, and another tell me they were allergic to salt water.

  4. rreli2002

    Funny, but what is the comment about the weird processed soy? Right, you would rather eat animals.

  5. Crazy Cat Nursie

    “Don’t put ice in my water, because it melts and dissolves the chemicals into the water.” Umm… Our ice and water come from the same filtered dispenser!