Caller just wants to spout her knowledge of all things medical, I guess:

Caller:  I just want a second opinion on why I have this lump on my knee. My MD said it was a Baker’s cyst.

ME: I am not an MD so I can’t diagnose, any explanations I have to offer doesn’t overrule what your MD told you –  especially if I can’t see it  –  and I don’t know your medical history as intimately as your MD would…..

Caller: I did some research and –  65% of the people with this kind of problem/injury are male and 45% are female and most do it lifting and moving heavy items and most of the time it will absorb on its own – it’s called synovial fluid and it’s something that can just come and go and ….

ME:  (hitting mute button) snooooooooore…………………

It’s just been one of those days.


Caller had phoned yesterday, then again today – about the exact same thing – symptoms unchanged.   Apparently hadn’t yet taken the advice of the Nurse that talked to her yesterday – to see her own MD and not to go to ED.

She didn’t like that advice so she wants a second opinion, not realizing I can see the notes the Nurse wrote yesterday.

Me:  How can I help you?

Caller: (snotty tone)  Do you mind looking up my file so I don’t have to repeat myself?????

Me: (snotty thought)  Do you mind doing what we told you to do first time around so I don’t have to repeat myself????

Caller is wanting to see an MD for a minor thing that I suggested Home Treatment for:

Me: You don’t need to see an MD for this, of course unless you have increased pain, swelling, redness or pus draining or streaks coming from the area….

Caller: This is terrible! I want to see the MD but he only works part time and that is so awful for the patients….

Me: Some MDs choose to work only part time for their own reasons – just like the rest of us …

Caller:  But they shouldn’t be allowed!  It is too inconvenient for us.

(I am starting to understand why the MD only wants to work part time…)


Sore Throat

Caller phones because of a sore throat for 3 days – now 10 pm – wants to go to ED.  Ruled out anything life-threatening, and was triaged as “Home Treatment”.

ME: Have you tried gargling with salt water? You put 1 teaspoon of salt in one cup of warm water….

CALLER: I did that once and it didn’t help.

ME: Once??  Only once??

CALLER: Ya… yesterday – and my throat is still sore!

ME:  You know that you have to do it more than once, don’t you??   Try gargling at least once per hour – for several days.  It’s not an instant magic cure……you have to be consistent…. meanwhile – have you tried a vaporizer at night, lozenges, and an OTC pain reliever??

CALLER:  Well, no………..that’s what I was going to Emergency for….

ME: You don’t want to go to ED….not unless your throat is swelling shut and you are having trouble breathing or swallowing your own spit…. meanwhile – just make an appointment with your own MD’s office if you have any concerns…..

“Gentleman” has run out of his narcotics for pain and is crying and gasping – general histrionics –  at other end of phone:

Caller: I need some  more of my vicodin.  I ran out two days ago and I can’t get to my doctor.

ME: Do you have a family member you can call to take you there?

Caller: I don’t have any family.

ME: How about phoning a friend?

Caller: I don’t have any friends.

ME: There’s always a taxi.

Caller: I don’t have any money for a taxi.

ME: You could call your social worker….

Caller:  I don’t have any more money to call.

ME: I could give you a phone number…

Caller: (interrupting) I don’t have a pen to write down the number.

ME: What do you expect me to tell you? I can’t give you an RX and we don’t go out and transport people.

Caller: Well what f***ing good are you then??? I don’t know why I was given this number.  I’m gonna call 911…


ME: *sigh*

The Gentleman appears at the local ED stating that the “phone nurse” told him to go there….

Nope.  We didn’t.

Note to the RNs and MDs in ED:  Remember – If you don’t believe the 10/10 pain, or any of the other stories this “gentleman” tells you, please don’t selectively believe that little gem of info….no need to call me back and fill my ear with “why did you send him to us…?”

Prim and proper lady phoning from the “nice” area of town:

CALLER:  My son was at the baseball game last night and went celebrating with friends after – you know, to celebrate the win – I think he has food poisoning…

ME:  Is he vomiting??

CALLER: Why yes! He got in late last night – I could hear him come in and he went straight to the bathroom – vomited all over…. and has been ever since….

ME: uh-huh…..food poisoning…..

Caller wants to know if his diagnosis is correct and asks RN for her opinion:

Me: Sorry, but diagnosing is outside my scope of practice


Me: The language you are using  is inappropriate……..

*click* – caller hangs up.

Whew. Glad he hung up before I had to……