Not all ER stories are death and tragedy. Some are pretty damn funny. This is one of them. (Of course any names or locations are always changed).
I was of course working the night shift, as I did for so many years. That night, I was working with some of my very favorite nurses and doctors. No matter how bad things got, these people always made the job worth it.
A man arrived via EMS, covered in blood, and smelling of alcohol.(Like so many patients on the night shift often did). He was alert, but very drunk, loud and super pissed off. The patient was brought to one of my rooms, and I began the triage process. I asked him to tell me his story while I examined him and charted all that I found.
This is his story.
“Well, ma’am. I was minding my own business when a man beat my head with a chicken.”
“Sir, you were hit in the head with a chicken? Did you lose consciousness, were you knocked out?” I said, exuding professionalism in the face of complete and utter absurdity.
“Ya, I think I was. He hit me real hard with that chicken. I think I have bits of it stuck in my head! I got blood all over the place!” He exclaimed, indignant.
Looking at his head, and scalp I could see minor lacerations, and abrasions. Nothing that would require sutures, and yes, he did have blood all over the place. No feathers, nothing that looked like “chicken pieces”, what ever the hell that would look like.
“A chicken you say, where on earth were you that a man was able to hit you in the head with a chicken? How does one wield a chicken as a weapon? Were you outside?” I asked, seriously wondering what in the world this guy was talking about.
“It was one of them ceramic chickens, ma’am.” He said, as though it was an obvious answer.
“Of course it was. OK, well that makes a bit more sense to me. Now, again, were you knocked out? Do you remember the entire event? When was your last tetanus shot?” Back to triaging the injured man.
“Yep, I am sure of it. He knocked me out with that damn chicken. Hit me real hard on the head. And come to think of it, I think I will be needing some of them dental molds done too!” He yelled.
I began to examine his jaw, and had him show me his teeth. I tried to determine if his bite was intact, however, his mouth was very bloody, and he had several teeth missing. It was hard to tell if this was new, or his normal state of affairs. He didn’t want to discuss his dentition.
I made sure he was safely on the stretcher, and left the room to go give a more personal report regarding the patient to the doctor. He continued to yell and rant about the need for dental molds as I left.
“Sir, we have a very drunk male who reports that he was assaulted with a ceramic chicken in room 11. He has several small lacs and some abrasions on his scalp. Nothing appears to need suturing. His mouth is full of blood, and I am unable to determine if he has new tooth loss, or just a bloody mouth. No other obvious injuries noted. The patient does not know when he last had a TD shot. He reports a positive loss of consciousness. His speech is slurry, probably related to the alcohol, but could be from the head trauma. Should we get a CT scan to check his noggin?” “Oh, and FYI. he would like some dental molds done.”
“What the fuck?” A common response from many providers when they hear that their patient has been beaten with a ceramic fowl.
The doctor and I walked back into the patient room, and my pod partner was back from taking her patient upstairs, so she joined us as well.
The patient was asleep, but became agitated when we woke him up to see the doctor.
He continued on his rant about needing dental molds. We do not do dental molds in the ED setting, where on earth this guy came up with this is anyone’s guess.
Finally, after the doctor did his exam, with all the coolness and calmness of a TV drama doctor, he said, “Nurse, get the dental molds please.”
My partner and I said “Yes, doctor” in unison and rushed out of the exam room, neither of us having the slightest idea what the hell he was talking about.
We went to the nurse’s/doctor’s area and stood there, laughing at the silliness of it all. Then tried to think of what we could bring him that would be like a dental mold.
We settled on the Play-Doh that we found in the children’s cabinet. It holds several small toys and things to entertain kids that are in the ER.
We calmly walked back to the exam room and proceeded to hand the doctor the “dental mold” material.
“Yes, yes. Very good.” he said, so seriously. We were dying inside, trying not to laugh.
“Sir, I need you to wake up. I need to take dental molds.” The doctor said, ever so seriously.
“Oh thank the Lord! Someone finally understands!” Yelled the very drunk man, who still had not explained why he thought dental molds were needed.
Our dear doctor had the patient bite down and hold several times on this piece of blue Play-Doh. Never once cracking a smile, serious as a heart attack. My partner and I could barely contain ourselves!
When he was finished he said, ” Nurse, I need this sent to the lab, STAT!”
“Of course Doctor! I am on it!” I said, trying not to smile and let the laughter come pouring out.
Once the doctor came out of the room, my pod partner and I lost control and laughed so hard. The doctor only smiled his wonderful smile. He was always so cool and collected, and so damn funny in a very sly way. He was and still is my absolute favorite doctor that I have ever worked with. So very smart, talented, very professional when necessary, but knew how to have fun when it was not going to cause any harm.
Later, after the patient had had his CT scan(nothing broken, no brain bleeding) and he was sleeping the sleep of the very drunk, the police arrived.
According to the police, it turned out that yes, he was hit in the head multiple times with a ceramic chicken. The patient had tried to break into someone’s home and got caught in the window. The home owner hit the would be burglar with the first thing he could find, the decorative ceramic chicken. The patient also bit the home owner a few times as he was trying to break free from the window and avoid getting conked on the head again. So much for the “I was minding my own business” version of the story the patient told me. The patient denied biting the home owner, and that is why he was asking for dental molds to “prove he was innocent.”
I can’t make this shit up.