Friday, February 26, 2010

It Wasn't Me!

Forgive my warped ER humor today...and big thanks to Dr. A for the awesome adventure/interview last night. He rocks. Find it here... Doctor Anonymous.

To the nurse who "expelled gas" in the nurses' station a few weeks ago and didn't fess up to it, I have just one thing to say. Shame on you! What would your mother say?! I hope you felt bad that night when you got home and thought back to how you just sat there, quietly, while I absorbed the blame and derision meant for you.

I was raised in a conservative, Catholic family. Seven of us kids with a loving mother and a providing father who, with gusto, cherished their traditional roles. Besides the obvious rules that accompany a Catholic background, we also had an 11th Commandment: "Thou shalt not expel gas in public." In my family, the "f" word stood for "farting." To this day, I still have more trouble with that word than the real "f" word. I'm not f...... kidding, either. If we did have to "release," we were taught to leave the room and find a private spot where you could wallow in your stink all by yourself. It's a rule I still try to uphold to this day, despite my wife making the best f...... chili I have ever had.

So, a few weeks back, I sat down in the nurses' station to catch up on a chart. It was an easy-going, friendly crew, consisting of three female nurses, a female secretary, and moi. Yes, I was the only guy in the vicinity. And, of course, I wouldn't have sat down if I knew what was coming.

We were all immersed in our work when, suddenly, I smelled something rancid. No, it wasn't a pine-scented plug-in. Or the industrial-strength apple-scented spray. I would have welcomed those scents. Instead, imagine a rotten egg mixed with a touch of skunk. Seriously, it was bad. I would rather have been sitting in a neglected Johnny-on-the-Spot than in that nurses' station.

I looked up, crinkling my nose and grimacing my face, hoping that it was a patient in a surrounding treatment room, one stricken with a lower GI bleed, rather than one of my coworkers. One of my female coworkers. No such luck. My coworkers were looking around as well, noses crinkled with as much disdain as my own.

We were all silent. And suddenly, the next thing I knew, I was being glared at by all four women, supposed friends, their eyes hurling their accusing daggers in my direction. It suddenly dawned on me what they were thinking.

"Oh, no," I said, shaking my head vigorously, "it wasn't me. I didn't do it. Don't assume that just because I am the only guy around, it was me."

I was met with silence and continued stares. I felt the overwhelming urge to explain my way out of this. "Seriously," I said, giving them my puppy-dog look, "I didn't do it. Maybe it was a patient or someone walking by in the hallway. Heck," I even chanced, "maybe it was one of you."

I was met with more silence. Frustrating silence. And more continued stares. Sneers, actually. If this was half as bad as a police interrogation, just declare me guilty and throw away my key.

Finally, I heard the secretary say in a low voice "Whoever smelt it, dealt it." Hey, come on people, be fair here! I "smelt it," alright, and I had the singed nasal hairs to prove it. But I didn't "dealt it." I promise. If we did an underwear check, I would have been cleared in an instant.

"Yeah," one of the older nurses added, smirking, "to think that one of us could do that!" She quickly darted her eyes away from me as I focused on her. Okay, at least now I knew which nurse did it. I stared at her just a brief moment longer, silently hoping (in that kind, gentle Catholic way) that she would choke on her Chex cereal the following morning.

Well, of course, there was no underwear check. No confessions, either. And I refused to leave. I was not going to let some wayward, XX stink-bomb embarrass me out of my seat. Go ahead and look at me, you four co-conspirators, and think whatever you want. I don't care. Okay, maybe just a little...

Of course, before the fumes could clear, the nurses' station became Grand Central Station. The neurology team, the cardiology team, the phlebotomists--they all passed through. Yep, they all crinkled their noses. Nope, none of them had the gall to address the stink with us. I refused to leave my seat. I'm not a stupid man--I knew the moment I left they would all be pointing their fingers at me. Finally, though, after what seemed like an eternity, I was able to appreciate the returning smells of moth balls and sanitizer and floor wax and vomit and illness--the glorious smells of our ER. Welcome back!

This episode, unfortunately, was not isolated. It's happened to me in an elevator, in my writing group, in a car, at the gym, getting a haircut, and so on. Surrounded by women, the guy will always be looked at with disdain. Am I right, guys? And every time it's happened, I've gotten this primal urge to jump up and down and declare my innocence. Which, of course, just makes me look all the guiltier.

I've even had one brilliant senior resident teach me the finer points of dealing with this issue when I was under his supervision as a medical student. "What you do," he said, "is find a room with a really old patient in it. Preferably a sleeping patient. Man or woman, it doesn't matter. Then you go in and, while you pretend to check their cardiac monitor, you let it rip." He was being completely serious. "The best part, though," he finished, extremely proud of himself, totally ignoring the disbelief on my face, "is when you come out, make sure you tell the nurse that you think their patient just shit them self."

Call me crazy, but I don't think that's really the answer. After giving it some thought, though, I think I've come up with the solution. Well, besides the obvious--hiring more male nurses (simply to reduce my odds of getting undue blame) and posting the 11th Commandment on every free inch of ER wall space.

The solution? A pin. A nice, big visible lapel pin. Round. I'm thinking fluorescent colors. A bold, clear Times font, set at 60. Ready to be pulled out and worn in an instant. And, of course, what it will read goes without saying.

"It Wasn't Me!"

As always, thanks for post will be Monday, March 1. See you last shout-out to the famous and talented Doctor Anonymous. Thank you...


J-Quell'n said...

LOL...that is all...laughing too hard...

Andy and Linda Johnson said...

Great story as always - one that hits close to home. Congratulations on your award, and it was awesome listening to you last night. Yes, I listened, and I almost called in just to embarrass you, but I was afraid I'd get carried away and really embarrass you!!! Anyway, keep up the great work entertaining us all!

Chrysalis said...

Too funny, and you're right the guys do get the blame.

You want to see funny? It's watching your puppy learn that kind of thing is coming from him, then watching him trying to out run it!

kristi said...

OMG, I will be the first to 'fess up!

Katie Axelson said...

This must be the difference between your Catholic family and my Lutheran family. We proudly claim our farts and all of the stench that accompanies it. And trust me, there's a lot of stench! We've learned to embrace the aroma of Dad's SBDs (Silent But Deadly) LADs (Loud And Deadly).

The other day I was at my adoptive family's house (also Lutheran), and as we were all sitting in the living room watching tv we heard a loud one... from Andy in the shower. Of course, we all complemented him on managing to be louder than the shower AND the tv...

"silently of hoping, (in a kind, gently Catholic way)..."
Oh do I understand that all too well. We're pretty known for saying, "If I weren't a Christian I would ... right now!"

I wouldn't call this twisted ER humor, I'd call this an excellent post that put a big smile on my face and left me with the sudden urge to change the aroma in the library.
<>< Katie

rlbates said...

In my home, the silent ones are usually the dog. The audible ones are usually my husband. Notice the usually. :)

Anonymous said...

Blame it on the old person ?
"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor."
What number is that?

Smalltown RN said...

OH that is just to funny. What's interesting is the similarities you and I share. I came from a catholic family of 12 children. I can still remember my mom telling us to excuse ourselves from the area and go to the washroom if we had to "f". To funny!!!!!

I love the patient's suggestion to you about going to another patients room to let it rip. I had a female colleague who use to do that all the time...then she would tell me hey "M" go into room 212 and find out what that smell is....or better yet...she would grab me by the hand into the med room and let er rip....oh my goodness. Yes woman are just as bad as men when it comes to the "f"!

Great story doc!

Marcy Hall said...

you can always blame the rabbit. as long as you're prepared to face her wrath... you are too funny.

smell you later!

Dr. Mongo Lloyd said...

"You want to see funny? It's watching your puppy learn that kind of thing is coming from him, then watching him trying to out run it!"

Are you kidding? I still try to outrun it.

Cal said...

I liked this post! I missed you on Anonymous last night, but will listen to it now! I am excited.
Jerusalem artichokes are the worse for stink production! Just make sure all members of the family eat them, or else you will be ostracized. A female friend had a serious talk with her boyfriend before he moved in to her house, and part of the talk was, women fart and it stinks too!

Dr. Woof-Woof said...

Bwahahaha!! I love this post! This happens all the time in the veterinary realm... only when we smell something dreadful, we usually just choose to blame whatever innocent dog is hanging around - or blame it on the area where we prep the fecal floats (I've known many a coworker who confesses to walking to the fecal float area before they let an SBD go) - poor doggies getting blamed for human stink... at least no one is embarrassed that way! And, truth be told, dogs have some of the most pungent gas EVER - so maybe it IS always them.... hhhhmmmm. ;)

Ginny said...

Thank you for a great laugh. You made my day.

coulrophobic agnostic said...

The solution to your problem is thus: as soon as you smell it, put both thumbs up and say "ONE TWO THREE NOT ME!" as loudly as you can. As long as you're not the last person to do so, you're off the hook.

Rules of sixth grade, man. You cannot argue them.

AtYourCervix said...

Sometimes, for whatever GI reason, ohhhh, such as a gastric cannot exactly control the flatulance that one has from time to time.

I'm just saying.

*But I would totally fess up, hypothetically speaking*

Milo said...

huh! my little dogie farts right at my face all the time... I am so used to it... coz no stink has ever topped hers!

Bongi said...

with us surgeons, we are just too happy when someone passes flatus.

SeaSpray said...

I'm sorry ..but what is this thing you speak of? Foreign to me in my universe.

Haha!! Very funny post Jim!

That was awkward.

But with the averting eyes and she saw your glance ..she KNOWS you know and she is the one with the guilt. :)

But ..chivalry isn't dead and you allowed her to save face. You could've called her out on it.

Seriously ..I was brought up with a family that never had gas (okay elderly grandfather did once)and never once spoke of it...ever.

Except ..when I was a real little girl .. I very seriously told my mother that Bonnie used a swear word. Mom asked what it was. I told her it was the F word (not the real F word) and she busted out laughing. Never mentioned the word again.

I agree with Ramona ..that's how it goes here.

How about nicknames for the "F" word?

My neighbor raised her kids to say they "fluffed". So in their house they are fluffing fluffers who fluff after eating chili, etc., but her son stopped saying it early on. :) What respectable guy would be willing to say "I just fluffed."? I'm just sayin. ;)

Jim ..would your wife be willing to share her chili recipe? I made it yesterday. PERFECT for cold, snowy weather. But I don't have a set recipe ..sometimes great ..sometimes mediocre. But I remember this aunt that made the best chili ever!

I enjoyed your interview with Dr A and it was fun talking with you and Dr A the other night. I responded in my comments. I didn't go to bed until 7am and was wiped out yesterday on less than 5 hours sleep. :)

P.S. "choke on her chex" = HILARIOUS!

myonlyphoto said...

lol that was too funny, and you are funny guy. You know similar would happen on the subway, someone would for joke release a stink bomb, and we all look at each other thinking the person beside us did it, until the subway stopped and the one cart needed to be evacuated for stink, lol. Excellent funny story, Anna :)

soulful sepulcher said...

I enjoyed listening (in part until the feed jammed!)to the Dr.Anon show, and would like to see you add a blog roll on your side bar of your blog friends--Sea Spray, etc who phoned in, and other blogs that you were reading that you discussed, so we don't have to find them via comments here, thanks!

soulful sepulcher said...

Ps- also Bliss Chick's blog

Cathy said...

OMG..You are just to funny. Following a Nissen fundoplication and Gastroplasty in 2003 this was a BIG problem that seemed out of my control for about 18 months.

At work, I always tried to stay close to my male coworkers so that if "it" happened I could blame them.....hahaha

My grandchildren though seem to be warped about this issue. They have farting contests trying to outdo each other.

Leigh Ann Otte said...

Ha ha ha! But come on, usually, it really is the guy. Ha! (Kidding.)

Anonymous said...

Ha! I feel your pain. I've been framed more than once. It's usually on the elevator. I get on someone expells a cloud of stench and then gets off at the next floor. I debate whether to get off too and hopefully get a fresh elevator but end up staying since I only have a floor to go. Invariably others get on and I'm the only one there surrounded by the cloud so they look at me. I want to say, "Hey, I didn't do it. I was framed."

Once, I was almost framed by an old lady. When I got on the elevator it smelled like that nasty rose perfume mixed with musty, old lady butt. Of course, she gets off and the smell lingers. I prayed and prayed that no one else would get on until I reached my destination. I skated by on that one.

Chrysalis said...

"musty, old lady butt." LMBO!

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