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Funny Histories

Image courtesy glencooper on flickr

Image courtesy glencooper on flickr

I have to stifle a snigger sometimes when I am trying to obtain a history from some patients. On occasion the things they come out with are comic genius; you couldn’t make them up if you wanted to. Here is a small selection of recent examples. Some of these serve as lessons of what not to say when you are questioned by a healthcare professional.

How long have your symptoms really lasted?

“I’ve been vomiting for three days”

“What time did you last vomit?”

“The day before yesterday”

You need to try helping yourself first before asking someone else for help

“I’m not kidding you the pain, its absolute agony I can’t take it anymore; I just need something, anything to make it go away”

“Have you tried taking any pain killers?”

“No, I don’t like taking tablets much”

If you’re taking medicines, you must be suffering from something

“Do you have any medical conditions?”

“No”

“Ok, do you take any medicines?”

“Oh yes” he says as he presents a huge bag of prescribed medicines on to the table presumably for all those medical conditions that he doesn’t have.

If you’re taking medicines, you still suffer from the condition you’re taking them for

“I see you are on Ramipril do you have high blood pressure then?”

“No, my blood pressure is fine – I take tablets for it”

Don’t exaggerate … we’ll catch you out

“I honestly haven’t eaten anything for days”

“Ok when you were sick at two o’clock is afternoon what did you bring up?”

“My lunch”

Think it through before opening your mouth

Patient walks in casually and sits down.

“Hello – what’s the problem?”

“I can’t walk”

Think about the common causes first

“I have started bleeding”

“When was your last period?”

“Four weeks ago”

“Could this be your period?”

“Oh yeah, it could be actually, good point”

Certain things must happen before you can become pregnant

“I am wondering if I am pregnant”

“When did you last have unprotected sex?”

“Two years ago”

Describe things as well as you can … but if you’re going to relate it to something else, make it something we might have experienced ourselves

“This pain in your foot can you describe it for me please?”

“Yep, you know that feeling, well, like when you have a mouse living inside your foot…”

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