Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Pleasure Palace, Part II

(Since I'm currently with some friends in Las Vegas, and since there is a fair amount of adult content in this fine community, putting up the following post seemed the proper thing to do. Real travel notes tommorrow.)

One of our ED nurses, the ever-chipper Lori Stephenson, told me this tale last week.

She was caring for a young man with back pain. Not a big deal, got a shot for pain, felt better, getting ready to go home. His girlfriend, who was being seen in another part of the ED for a similarly minor complaint, ventured into his room as Lori was talking to him about back care. (The “family plan” visit is a common phenomena. The latest addition to the Rodenberg Canon of ED Rules is that the number of family members who want to be seen at any given time is inversely proportional to the severity of illness of any single person.) There was an uneasy tension in the room, with the woman glaring at the man, the man shifting uneasily on the exam bed.

“Well did you ask her?” she said.

“Hmmm...ummm,” was his nondescript answer.

“Did you ASK her?” It was not really a question now.

The man replied, irritation in his voice. “Well, you go and ask her then.”

Lori had been droning on, doing her best to provide some patient teaching as well as read the required hospital paperwork to him, a task complicated by the fact that within the health care system of the United States, sound medical advice and institutional policy are often totally different things. Admittedly, she hadn’t been paying a lot of attention to the conversation. This was about to change.

“Nurse. Hey, nurse,” beckoned the woman.

Lori, always polite, said, “Yes, can I help you?”

“Is his back pain from having relations?”

“Excuse me?” Still polite.

“Relations. He always wants to be havin’ relations. He wakes up in the morning and wants to have relations. He comes home from work and wants to have relations. I think his back pain is form having too many relations.”

Being an exceptionally bright spark, Lori immediately recognized that she had suddenly dropped into the abyss known as the Canyon of TMI, or Too Much Information. Nonetheless, she doggedly kept moving ahead, trying to regain her footing on this treacherous ground. Just like medicine, nursing is both a science and an art. So this nursing scientist tried to break the problem into its’ constituent parts.

“Is your concern about positioning or frequency?”

“He wants to lift me up when we have relations. And,” she pointed out, hugging her stomach in a peculiarly affectionate way, “I ain’t no lightweight.”


And then there’s the story told by a social worker about a patient seen by her husband, a retired paramedic. He had been called to a home in the early hours of the morning to be greeted by a man clad only in what might be politely called his “tighty whities.” “Hurry!” he shouted with alarm. “I was doing it with my woman, and now her cummer is stuck!”

Turns out she was having a seizure.


Which in turn reminds me of a tale of long ago, when I was an intern called to the ED at 3 AM to admit a young woman who had a seizure and passed out while having “relations.” It’s bad enough to have to get up that early, but even worse when you spend an hour trying to get information from the patient only to have every questions answered an overzealous boyfriend.

I tried one last time to get some information from the patient herself. “So what do you remember about what happened tonight?”

Once again, the boyfriend took over. “Aren’t you people LISTENING to me! We were having sex and she started to scream. The she started shaking and having a seizure, and then she passed out. What’s WRONG with you?’

A medical student with me, who had much more self-control than I at the moment, looked directly at the boyfriend. “Sir, what she had was called an orgasm. And it’s pretty obvious that you’ve never seen a woman have one before with you.”

Enraged, he grabbed the girl by the arm and dragged her from the ED. But as they were leaving, she lagged just a bit behind. “It’s okay” she whispered to us, turning her head behind his back. “I was faking anyway.”

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