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Overheard On The Bolance:

Sometimes, I can’t activate that verbal filter no matter how hard I try:

Patient: “I’m allergic to aspirin, Tramadol, Vistaril, ibuprofen, morphine, and all the ‘cillin’, ‘mycin’, and sulfa antibiotics.”

AD: “Uh huh. And what does each of those things do to you when you take them?”

Patient: “Aspirin makes it hard to breathe, plus my nose swells up and bleeds. Tramadol and ibuprofen make my stomach hurt. Vistaril makes me sleepy, and morphine plain knocks me out. And all the antibiotics give me the shits.”

AD: “You know, almost all those things you mentioned are known side effects, not allergic reactions.”

Patient: “Yeah well, I’m allergic to all that shit.”

AD: “I thought you said you were allergic to  Tramadol. You sure it isn’t Toradol? Very similar drug to ibuprofen?”

Patient (positively): “No, it’s Tramadol. I know what the fuck I’m allergic to, dude.”

AD (shaking nearly empty bottle of Tramadol at him):  “Then why are you taking it?”

Patient: “Man, why the fuck you asking all these questions, I told you I – wait, what? That can’t be mine.”

AD: “Prescription’s in the name of ‘This Guy’. That’s you, ain’t it?”

Patient: “That must be old shit. I don’t take it since I got allergic to it.”

AD: “It was refilled May 11, and there’s only 14 pills left of the original 60.”

Patient: “Fuck. That explains my chest pain, then.”

AD: “Doubt it.”

Patient: “Whatchu tryin’ to say?”

AD: “I’m saying that your current condition is in no way an allergic reaction, and that no matter how desperately you want to be, you ain’t allergic to Tramadol, and that I have my doubts about all the others except the aspirin.”

Patient: “Fuck you, man.”

AD: “Why you hatin’, bro? I just re-opened a whole world of pharmacologic options for your future ailments. You should be thanking me!”

A wise nurse/paramedic friend once told me, “Allergic to five or more distinct drug classes automatically equals a psych diagnosis until proven otherwise.”

This guy certainly qualified.

Comments - Add Yours

  • streaminspector

    Do you work in an inner city environment ? For some reason, that’s how I picture it when reading your posts. I just have a harder time imagining that country/rural patients would act or speak the way your patients do… I may be wrong though. Keep up the good work. I suffer from two (or three? can’t remember) torn disc in my lower back, and it’s refreshing to hear a medical person who’s willing to treat pain until proven wrong. Thanks!

    • Kelly Grayson

      My work environment varies from urban to super rural. The parish in which I work is over 900 square miles, and I frequently run calls in surrounding parishes as well.

      Most of the area where I work is rural, but my assigned response district is urban. I work in the ‘hood, where we’ve had three drive-bys within sight of the ambulance station and we used to be able to predict what services the johns had paid for from the hooker across the street, judging by how long they were gone before they dropped her back off.

  • Dixie

    One of my favorites was a patient I had who was “allergic” to hydrocodone. Her admitted drug list included Lortab. When I told her they were the same drug, her reply was, “Well, when the bottle says Lortab, I’m not allergic.” It’s hard to argue with that logic!

    • Will

      Most of my family has ADD. One of my sisters had an allergic reaction to Adderal (this was at least 10 yrs ago). I had one of the generic versions of it. She tried mine, and had no reaction, so she had her doctor specify that manufacturer’s version in the future.
      I can also tell you that there is certainly a difference in function between Brand name, and different generic versions, of many drugs on the market. The difference can be minor, to very noticeable. I suspect this difference can vary considerably from person to person, judging just from my families experience.
      I’m not saying that generics are bad. Just wanted to make the point that some people may have different results between Brand and generic drugs.

      • Dixie

        I know that the ingredients in generics can differ and it’s possible to have a reaction to one and not the other…possible, not very uncommon. I should have stated that she also listed Tylenol as an allergy….things that make you go HMMM.

  • Brandon Oto

    Cool, triad asthma.

  • totwtytr

    I had a patient once who told me he was allergic to… Oxygen. “Just the kind that comes in those tanks, man. I can breathe the regular stuff.” I wish I could have found a second patient like that because I’d have been able to get a grant for a great study.

  • Robin Bobcat

    Me, I am allergic to Asprin, Ibuprofin, and related. Tylenol is fine, though. When asked ‘What happens when you take it’, I usually respond ‘It makes me puff up and die’.