Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Sunday Funnies - Medical Edition

There are a lot of things about getting older that just plain suck. I don't really enjoy having to color my hair more often because the roots are gray. And I don't even know what to say about the wrinkles. But among the most unpleasant, for me at least, are the myriad of medical tests that get added as we age.

Grandad and Grams are in their late 50s, so we now have to have a colonoscopy every five years. I had my first one last spring and Grandad recently had his second one. It's this second one that included one of the funniest things I've ever heard.

The procedure is done at a local outpatient hospital. Everyone there is having day surgery of one kind or another; most are having the same procedure, a colonoscopy.

When you arrive, the patient is taken back to a holding area where they change into a hospital gown, answer all the usual pre-op questions, relax (and I use the term loosely) on a gurney until time to go back for the procedure. Once they're ready, whoever is accompanying them is invited back to sit with them in the holding area until they go back to the procedure room. The holding area holds eight patients and each patient is separated from the others by only curtains. This means that you can hear what's going on with every patient.

Grandad was taken back and prepped, then I was called to sit with him. We were sitting there  chatting quietly when we heard another patient come in. We couldn't see her, but it seemed that she was quite elderly and a little hard of hearing. Therefore, we could hear the entire process. First she could not figure out how to put the gown on so the nurse helped her. She got the gown on and settled down on the bed while someone went out to get the woman who was with her. I think she was a caregiver of some sort rather than a relative. Then the nurse started asking all the usual questions.

What is your name? What are you going to have done today? How old are you? What medications do you take? Have you eaten anything today? Are you allergic to any medications?

We weren't really listening to the questions and answers, but the lady was hearing impaired and it was difficult not to hear them. It was the answer to that last question that caused us to start laughing out loud. When the nurse asked "Are you allergic to any medications?" The lady answered in a nice loud voice, "Yes, I'm allergic to cocaine." This interesting answer was followed by an awkward silence. Then the nurse asked again, "What medications are you allergic to?" Again, the answer was the same and even louder with more confidence, "I told you, I'm allergic to COCAINE."
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 At this point, Grandad and I were just looking at each other in stunned silence. Then we heard the caregiver say "No ma'am, you are allergic to CODEINE." At this point, everyone in the holding area roared with laughter.
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It was a nice moment of levity in an otherwise tedious day. And because of the curtains, we couldn't see who we were laughing at so no one had to be embarrassed.


  1. that's hysterical!
    She really should stay away from cocaine tho.

  2. Sounds like even the nurses laughed -- certainly not the answer they get every day!