Monday, November 14, 2011

The things people come in with

Patients are all different.  Some come in with life threatening and serious complaints and conditions and others come in with something that is nothing – like a hangnail.  There are things that one person notices which causes them to come to the doctor while the next pt who comes in may have the exact same problem, but they don’t see it as a problem and are here with something else.  At times, I even find problems that pts didn’t even know they had or weren’t worried about, but I was.  Here are some of the classic PNG complaints that are something nothing, but the patients seriously think something is wrong with them:
·       My heart beats faster when I do a lot of work or play sports
·       I get short of breath when I walk up hills or run for a long time
·       My urine is yellow
·       I get neck pain after I carry a 40 lb bag on my head full of sweet potatoes
·       There is something in my arm that pumps up and down all the time (pulse)
·       There is something that moves and pumps right under my ribs (heart)
·       My leg is dead (a word for numb/doesn’t work/can’t move it) yet they walked into my exam room
·       There is blood “no good” in my body after the fight in 1984 that you need to take out

After ruling out serious things, I do my best in these situations to try and help them understand how our body works and why our heart pumps.  Sometimes they understand and are ok with a little reassurance, but many times they aren’t.