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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Tupperware party

So a warning to all of you new doctors starting in the Emergency Department: whenever a patient brings in his or her own tupperware, beware - never volunteer to see the patient. Beware, I say, because I (as you know by now) have learned this valuable lesson and I have learned it the hard way. And because I am particularly stupid, I had to learn it three times over.

Learn from me, people.

Tupperware #1 -
description by patient: This tupperware contains the spider that bit me in the supermarket. I now have a small rash on my hand.

action: Stupid doctor (i.e. myself) opens up tupperware to have a look, as if she knows anything about identifying arachnids. Serves me right for trying to be a smarty pants.

result: Large spider scuttles out of tupperware onto my hand, then drops on the floor and terrorises the rest of the A&E staff. And when I say large, I mean, large. This eight-legged freak was probably living quietly amongst the bananas in the fruit section for several years before renovations work disturbed it. It was probably about 5 cm in diameter. I spent 20 minutes trying to coax it back into the tupperware, the nurses and myself screaming loudly the entire time - we couldn't kill it otherwise it might be too mangled to identify. Then we sent the tupperware to the local zoo to get the spider identified.

Tupperware #2 -
description by patient: This tupperware contains a dead snake. I killed it after it bit me in the ankle.

action: Stupid doctor (i.e. myself) opens up tupperware to have a look, as if she knows anything about identifying snakes.

result: Small adder is definitely not dead, not even remotely. Patient probably stunned it long enough to carry it into the house on a stick and ram it into a box. The snake hisses at me, but I manage to shut the tupperware before it slithers out. I managed to identify snake by looking at pictures on the internet and confirming it with the local zoo - definitely an adder, definitely mildly poisonous, definitely should have worn gloves before opening the tupperware.

Tupperware #3-
description by patient: This tupperware contains some worms that wiggled out of me when I was moving my bowels.

action: Stupid doctor (i.e. myself) puts on gloves this time and gets the patient to open the tupperware.

result: An enormous mass of writhing white tapeworms almost spills out onto the floor. The smallest of these is about 15cm long. I am suddenly aware that my face is way too close to the opening of the container. I have to send them to pathology to be identified so I spend 15 minutes trying to stuff one of these creatures into a pot normally used for storing dentures. It does not cooperate. Afterwards, I vomit copiously and then the rest of the day I scrub my hands obsessively. I will never be clean again!

4 Comments:

Blogger Mama Mia said...

Oh my, oh my, oh my! I am in stitches! Yes, the tupperware is always a red flag for something less than pleasant.

7:28 am  
Blogger w. said...

EURGH. And here I thought a post entitled "Tupperware party" should be fun. Now I need to wash my hands too.

11:28 am  
Blogger tscd said...

mama mia: All tupperware and icecream tubs. I mean, if we have to look at something disgusting, why don't they bring it in a clear tub then we don't have to open it!

w: The moral is wash your hands before eating. Always.

9:49 pm  
Blogger aliendoc said...

Nice blog!

Fortunately,in my encounters with medical conditions involving worms or reptiles, the aforesaid creatures were either dead or had run away.

:)

8:04 pm  

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