The worst weekend warrior story of all time


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Many, many years ago, before I was a nurse, I took care of a particular patient.

This patient had the worst spring-related case of Weekend Warrior Syndrome I’d ever seen, even with working with patients who had traumatic brain or bone injuries. She did it up right.

Early in the spring, she had the urge to take her charge (she was the nanny of a small child) out to the park. The child in question didn’t speak English, so this patient’s job was both to be her nanny and her primary English teacher.

She and the child were playing on the playground in the park when the patient decided to start doing somersaults. She was attempting to illustrate the concept of “roll over” to the child. Thankfully, the kid caught on somewhere about the third somersault. Not so thankfully, the patient pulled a muscle in her back.

The pulled muscle prevented her from doing her usual evening karate class, so she decided to go for a walk instead. She took a long walk through a wilderness area close to her home. About halfway down a five-mile trail, she twisted her knee.

She was stuck. It was evening, and though the days were getting longer, it was less than an hour to sunset. She didn’t want to be out in an area known for its aggressive and hungry fauna during twilight, so she decided to cut diagonally across the wilderness area and thus get back to her car before things got touchy.

Everything went fine. She took a route that looked smooth enough, and turned out to be. With only one detour to dig a cathole and answer the call of nature, she made it back to the parking lot with time to spare. Nothing attacked her and she was fine, if a little sore from the sprained knee.

Until the morning. It became evident at about 3 a.m. that she’d managed to blunder through, swim in and generally get really well acquainted with a patch of poison ivy. She was very, very allergic to poison ivy. And she’d been touching her face, touching her eyes and perhaps had even squatted in that poison ivy.

Let’s review the bidding: a pulled back muscle, a swollen and painful knee, and an all-over case of poison ivy—and I do mean “all over.” It took a visit to the emergency room, a follow-up with her primary care doc and two weeks to get over.

I took care of her, and I wasn’t even a nurse. I was her sister. And now she is going to kill me for telling the world that story.

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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