Monday, July 23, 2007


I got paged by the nurse telling me that Patient G, who had successfully underwent her outpatient hernia repair earlier that day, was refusing to leave the hospital.

Patient G: Doctor, I don't want to go home.

Me: Why not?

Patient G: It really hurts.

Her operation was a very straight-forward repair without any complications or glitches. I inspected her wound, which looked fine. Everything looked normal.

Patient G: I didn't think it was going to hurt. I thought this would be a pain free surgery.

I don't get it. There are some patients that are genuinely surprised that surgery hurts. I took a knife, cut her belly open, fixed her hernia with heavy-duty sutures, and then sewed her skin closed. Why people think this wouldn't hurt boggles my mind.

Well, whatever. I'm not here to psychoanalyze anyone and I've got a million other things to tend to, so I agreed to let her stay overnight in the hospital. If she thinks spending the night in the hospital will magically make her pain disappear, so be it.

The next morning, I went by her room to see how she was doing and to discharge her home.

Patient G: Well, my pain is much better, but I didn't get any sleep at all.

Patient G then goes on to complain about how the nurse kept coming into her room to take her blood pressure. Then how the room was too cold. Or too hot. And then the hospital sheets were too scratchy and she tossed and turned all night. And then just as she was about to fall asleep, there was a loud commotion in the room next door and she could hear everything through the walls and it kept her up all night.

Patient G: I nearly had a heart attack from all that noise.

Sadly, the person next door that Patient G was complaining about actually had a heart attack herself and all that noise was from the staff trying to resuscitate her. I didn't tell Patient G this, or that the patient next door expired.

Patient G: This was the most unpleasant experience. I got no rest at all and my incision still hurts. I'm never coming back here for anything ever again.

Amazing how self-absorbed and irrational people can be. Sometimes, there's just no pleasing some people.