Some of the Strangest Things Patients Have Said to NursesBy Barbara Norris
Ask any nurse about their most awful patient, and they usually will not disclose too much. However, give them the anonymity of the internet, and they’ll spill all their insane stories. In case you’re not aware, it is the nurses, not the doctors, who give the most time and attention to patients, so it comes as no surprise that they have a wide range of hilarious stories to share.
While we can generally discover humor in the work environment, nurses are on a level of their own. They regularly encounter insane circumstances when they’re providing medical care to their patients. If you’re ready for a glimpse inside their world, read on to discover the most bizarre, cute, funny, and generally unfiltered things patients have said that have left their nurses in stitches.
Not Body Odor
One afternoon, the daughter of a patient walked up to the nursing station, threw the vitals chart, and shouted at the nurse, “How dare you say my mom smells!” The poor nurse was bewildered by this as nobody had said anything of the sort, so she asked the girl to explain.
She got the graph, pointed out the line of “BOs” recorded on it, and yelled, “Here, you even recorded it!” Stifling a laugh, the nurse clarified that “BO” signified “Bowels Open,” not body odor. The moment the embarrassed woman left, the nurse ducked into the staff room to let her laughter run free.
Ear Drops are for Ears
A patient told her nurse that she had both great and awful news. The uplifting news was in her own words, “The medication you gave me for my ear infection worked.” What could possibly be the downside?
The attendant asked carefully, “And what is the awful information?” Without hesitation, the patient replied, “It tasted horrendous.” Since the patient was feeling good, the nurse didn’t have the heart to explain that eardrops have that name for a reason.
Medical terms can get tricky, even for professionals, which is why nurses sometimes need to act as translators between patient and doctor. One patient was whining that the cat allergy medication the doctor gave her wasn’t working. She felt frustrated because it seemed she was wasting her cash on a useless inhaler.
It turned out that the patient was spraying the inhaler on her pet! Poor cat. We hope the feline was as patient as the nurses were when they explained the reality of the situation to the patient.
During a late-night shift in an ER, a 20-year-old guy and his partner came in, and they were both going nuts since “something had torn his throat open.” He appeared to be in good health, so the nurse gently asked the patient precisely what the problem was.
He replied: “I don’t feel it, but look, IT’S RIGHT THERE!” He was referring to his uvula, which we all have hanging at the rear of our throats! The nurse was tempted to laugh and say, “Dude, that’s normal. Stop stressing!” Of course, she had to be more tactful than that.
Instant Growth Pill
One nurse shared a bizarre communication she had one morning at 3 AM while working on a night shift. She was extremely tired, and a fashionable man came in with a perfectly healthy-looking 8-year-old.
The nurse asked him what the issue was, and he explained, “I was at a wedding when I realized my child is far too short for his age. Would you be able to give him something to make him taller? Like some kind of growth pill?”
The Worst Hotel
One nurse expressed that her favorite comment related to a 98-year-old person she was taking care of one evening. When she asked the technician why the patient required a sitter, the tech’s answer was priceless.
“Yesterday on day shift, the patient got up, grabbed her walker, and took off down the corridor, shouting for all to hear “This is the worst hotel I’ve ever been in!!!”
Effects of Anaesthesia
Toward the end of a medical procedure, just after extubation, a nurse requested that the patient take a full breath, and he just began laughing. She asked him what was so entertaining, and he said, “You can’t tell me what to do.”
The nurse requested that he repeat what he said, and he went on: “You can’t tell me what to do. You’re not my wife!” Everyone in the room laughed uncontrollably. He was most likely feeling the full impact of the anesthesia!
Covered in Patches
A doctor prescribed estrogen patches for a patient and advised her to stick one patch on her body every other day. At the next check-up, she said she didn’t like the patches because they took up too much room and she was “running out of space.”
The nurse didn’t realize they needed to explain to her that she should remove the old patch each time she put another one on. When they examined her, they found that she was covered in patches!
Meet Clara Fication
A guy once called a doctor’s office with inquiries regarding an upcoming test he had booked, and the nurse was more than happy to talk him through the method. Then the conversation took an odd turn.
The patient said, “I’m sorry to have so many questions,” and the nurse reacted, “Oh, no worries. You’re free to call us and ask for clarification any time.” The patient answered, “Thank you, Clara Fication! You’ve been exceptionally useful.” This gentleman is clearly a fan of dad jokes.
Nitrous oxide is a soothing agent that calms the nerves. It is often utilized during dental procedures, and the results can be hilarious. In their soothed and sedated state, patients express the most honest sentiments, and the nurses can’t help but have a quiet giggle.
Once, there was a patient who was recuperating from the extraction of his wisdom teeth. Still dizzy from the gas, he spat out the grisly gauze that was in his mouth and began sobbing, saying, “Was that my liver? Gracious nooo! My liver! Goodness, no!”
Law of Attraction
One patient was crying that his arm had been “slashed off” in a farming accident. The nurses were dubious because, although he was covered in a blanket, they could see that he had both arms resting across his chest.
Determined to put his mind at ease, one of the nurses lifted the blanket off to show him that he had both arms. The only problem was, his left arm came away with it. “Told you so,” the man said.
Stop the Procedure!
“Back in 1974, when I was an orderly while going to nursing school, we had an older guy brought in who had been harmed in a car crash,” recalls a veteran nurse. “He required surgery all over his face and a jaw wiring.” The nurse saw that the man’s spouse appeared to be uncomfortable. He assumed that they were not financially stable and she was worried about the medical bills.
Just before the wiring was about to start, the woman shouted out for them to stop. What she wanted, though, was a surprise to everyone. She timidly asked them whether she could have her better half’s false teeth. It turned out that the two of them shared the same set of dentures. If that wasn’t crazy enough, they had purchased the false teeth second-hand!
A Harsh Lecture
While working at the emergency room during her internship, a nurse met a young lady who had painful, red eyes. After getting some information about it, she professed to have no clue about why she had this eye issue.
The nurse began her examination and immediately spotted the problem – the patient had some terrifyingly old contact lenses clinging to her eyes! The girl had purchased a pair of blue-shaded lenses eight months ago and never removed them! Obviously, the nurse gave her a stern lecture on eye safety and a referral to an ophthalmologist. Ouch!
This particular nurse was doing her rounds on the orthopedic floor of a big hospital in southern California when she saw one of her patients up and strolling around following a knee replacement procedure.
She was holding a cane but not actually using it to walk. When the concerned nurse questioned her, the patient explained that the cane was for pushing people out of her way since she’s now “disabled.” We didn’t know that was an acceptable use of a cane!
It’s a Prank!
A nurse’s assistant was on shift when a kitchen staff member burst in, gasping for breath and crying, “Help, I ate raw corn!” Apparently, the cook where he worked was feeling a touch wicked and had persuaded him that eating raw corn was harmful.
Clearly, he succeeded in sending his colleague into a meltdown. The nurse enjoyed a hearty chuckle about it. Of course, she saved the laughter until after she’d disclosed to him that raw corn is not poisonous.
This entry isn’t from a nurse but from somebody who works in a doctor’s office. On one eventful day, a guy came in with conjunctivitis. They continued to pose inquiries as to how he might have picked it up.
With a sincere look on his face, he inquired as to whether it was so infectious that it could be passed on by simply looking at someone. While this is an adorable question, it’s alarming to imagine an infectious disease that could be passed on by making eye contact. Here’s hoping that never eventuates!
“After placing a couple of stitches in a person’s scalp, the patient’s family inquired as to whether he was going to be okay. One of the attendings joked that his brain was still safely inside, but this only served to confuse the family.”
“I, the nursing student, spent the following half-hour explaining to them that the mind was inside the skull and that a human couldn’t live without one.” Just like a few patients have an extraordinary gift for not realizing how their body functions, nurses have a unique ability for clarifying basic anatomy.
Delaying the Inevitable
A nurse had a strange encounter while helping with the delivery of a child. She recalled, “When one patient had started giving birth, she was shouting and heaving from the agony, with her mother close by, attempting to be soothing.” The mother was saying things like, “It’ll be okay. Take some full breaths. It’ll be over soon.”
“At that point, the patient glared at her mother and said, ‘You have no clue what this is like!’ A couple of moments later, the patient advised me, ‘I don’t wanna do this anymore. I’m going home! We can do it later, right?’”
A lady was going to have her foot amputated and was offered waiver forms to sign before her surgery. The nurse inquired as to whether she needed time to consider everything. She was exceptionally casual and didn’t appear to think twice about the outcome.
The nurse was dubious and asked her why she wasn’t worried. The patient replied that she didn’t want to get in the way of their work, and her foot will grow back anyway, so why worry? That nurse had a lot of explaining to do!
That’s No Reason
This particular patient was a sweet woman whose spouse had died a couple of decades earlier. She was coherent enough to realize she was in the hospital, but she was troubled that her husband hadn’t visited her.
This woman had gotten herself worked up, exclaiming to the nurse, “He can’t be bothered to visit me!” The nurse knew better than to lie and responded with the truth: “My dear, your husband has been dead for over 20 years… ” The patient cut her off, insisting, “That is no excuse for not visiting me!”
F is for Fever
“I was checking a patient’s vital signs. After I checked the temperature, I recorded it at 98 F to demonstrate it’s in Fahrenheit. My patient was clearly watching me, and his face abruptly went exceptionally pale.”
“At that point, he asked me, ‘I have a fever?’ So I advised him, ‘no, your temperature is typical.’ He said, resentfully, ‘why did you put the F?!’ I attempted to explain to him what Fahrenheit was, but he wasn’t persuaded. Eventually, I had to show him that I deleted the F.”
The Show-stopping Question
Gender discrimination is still an issue, as demonstrated by this nurse’s story: “A couple of weeks ago at work, a patient and his partner were acting weird around a specific male nurse; clearly, they thought that it was an odd calling for a male, and they were dying to ask him why he was working in a ‘female’ career.”
“The ultimate inquiry: spouse: ‘So how long have you been a male nurse?’ The nurse took an extremely long pause before cautiously replying, ‘My whole nursing profession.'”
On a Farm
“I was once dealing with an adorably befuddled old lady in the hospital. When I inquired as to whether she knew where she was, she answered, ‘Definitely. I’m at the bowling alley.’ I assisted her with strolling around the unit when she stopped abruptly.”
“‘No, I have it all off-base; we’re not at a bowling alley – we’re on a farm! Don’t you hear the chickens?’ I didn’t hear anything, but then the wheels on the IV post screeched as we walked. ‘I hear it once more! That helpless chicken!’”
A Natural Question
“In the endoscopy recovery room, surgeries are regularly short and just need a little bit of sedation. One of my patients was a cop. The first thing he said as he woke up was, ‘alright, so what’s your story?!'”
The delayed consequences of sedation can make people react wildly or say odd things. In this situation, however, the cop just said what came naturally.
He’s Just Faking
One nurse recounted a time when she was running around, getting the equipment she needed for a patient who was having a medical emergency. The patient’s partner tried to stop the nurse, saying that he was just faking it.
The woman claimed that the man had been saying all sorts of silly things and told the nurse to just slap him a few times and he’d come out of it. Thankfully, the nurse based her decisions on her medical training rather than this woman’s advice.
“We were extubating my truly sick Whipple patient who had recently gone through a significant procedure. When we got him off the ventilator, the respiratory therapist tenderly reminded him he was in the hospital,” recalled a nurse.
“He answered, ‘no chance!’ Then, when I inquired as to whether he might want me to contact his partner, he conceitedly asked, ‘Which one?!’ It was extraordinary to see he actually had such a comical inclination after all that he’d experienced.”
A patient with dementia had bowel prep for an endoscopy procedure. The nurse gave her a laxative blended in with water and disclosed to her that it would initiate solid discharges in the following hours. After four hours, the patient motioned for the nurse to come into her room.
The patient said, “Darling, I have something to advise you.” The nurse asked, “what is it?” Her patient whispered, “I think the water gave me diarrhea. Try not to worry, I will not tell your boss.”
“I was watching one of our old patients who was known for being hesitant and timid. While I was giving him his sponge bath, he said suddenly, ‘Have you ever seen anything this large?'”
“I was alarmed by his words since he didn’t appear to be the sort to talk like this. I was thinking about a suitable answer when he added, ‘My mom once told me that these must be the largest feet in the world!'”
After giving the patient a container for a urine specimen, the nurse said, “The restroom is over there on the right.” A couple of moments later, the patient returned and said, “much appreciated.” He then gave back the empty container.
With a straight face, he added, “there was a toilet inside there, so I didn’t require this.” As we can all imagine, the nurse was left puzzled.
All diabetics should understand what food sources cause their glucose levels to rise, yet this lady gave no consideration to them. “She was obese and diabetic. Regardless of how much insulin she was given,” a nurse reported. The cause of her problems remained a secret until the nurse helped the lady to change her hospital gown.
That is when bits of french fries and chicken wings started to fall between her thighs and stomach. “Her family had been sneaking food in for her, and she’d been concealing it in the folds of her skin.”
An old patient with no family didn’t appear to ever have any guests. One day, the man insisted that his daughter had visited him. The nurse politely listened to him recount his daughter’s visit, which involved her giving him a five-dollar bill.
“He was relentless to the point that we really looked for that five-dollar bill.” Then, later on, a very much folded five-dollar bill fell from his belly button. “We checked the CCTV footage, but we never saw his daughter come by.”
Protecting His Money
In one exceptionally peculiar event, nurses were treating a destitute person who came into their hospital with a massive ulcerative sore on his abdomen. They were attempting to clean his wound and evaluate the damage.
As they cleaned inside his wound, they made the strangest discovery that shocked them all. They found cash in the form of notes and coins. He casually expressed that he kept his cash wrapped up there, to shield it from being taken.
There’s a Fly!
This nurse had a patient who was scheduled for a monthly blood transfusion. While prepping her wound dressings one evening, she opened up the bandage to get the drain that was leaking through the primary wound dressing.
When she removed the bandage and abdominal pad, she was shocked. A fly came buzzing out of the wound dressing. The patient asked, “what happened?” The shocked nurse explained what she’d seen to the patient. However, the woman did not share her concern. “Oh yeah, that happens sometimes,” was all she said.
All His Might
When this nurse was going down a hallway in the recovery unit in which she worked, she glanced into a patient room and was surprised by what she saw. An elderly gentleman was experiencing some postoperative confusion after an open-heart procedure.
He was sitting up in his bed with his legs bent and feet propped at the bed rail for additional support. With two hands, he was pulling on the entirety of his chest tubes with all of his energy! Needless to say, the nurse rushed in to calm him down.
Blame the Dog
A patient came into the ER and said that she woke up and her toe had vanished. At this point, her toe was only a bleeding stump. She had diabetes and neuropathy and was taking a smorgasbord of medications for her pain.
After the doctor assessed her, he called her usual doctor’s surgery to see if they could offer any insight. After hearing that the woman’s toe was missing, the nurse on the line chuckled as she explained that the dog probably ate it – that was, after all, what happened to one of her other toes!
Who’s Captain Kirk?
A nurse who was working in a mental health department had a male diagnosed with bipolar disorder as her first patient. On their first meeting, he approached her and inquired as to whether he could converse with her.
With a genuine look, he said, “I must resign from my job as captain of the Starship Enterprise since I’m not prepared. I must call Captain Kirk and advise him.” We bet she had a lot of fun helping that patient.
John Wayne Who?
This patient with dementia began shaking his IV tubing like it was a fishing line, claiming he had “caught a big one.” The nurse settled him down, and when she returned to check on him later, he had a magazine on his bed which wasn’t there previously.
When she asked him where he got it, he had this to say: “John Wayne gave it to me. He comes around early in the afternoon. I wonder where he is?” We wonder who this mysterious and generous John Wayne is!
Lost in Translation
A nurse was trying to begin IV treatment on a male patient who only spoke Chinese. “The patient was refusing to cooperate, but I had no clue what he was saying.” Finally, his child, who spoke Chinese and English, showed up and offered to help.
The son explained everything to his dad who finally calmed down and accepted the treatment. “I said thanks, clarifying that I spoke no Chinese.” Apparently, the son replied, “it wouldn’t make any difference if you did. He is making no sense whatsoever.”
Angels of Death
A lady with brain cancer had been growing sicker, and her family had all come to be with her while she lay in bed. She began crying out, so her worried family called the nurses.
When two nurses entered, the woman told her family that she was all set. She started saying her farewells, telling everyone how much she adored them. Then she indicated to the nurses and said she was ready for the “angels of death” to take her. The poor nurses didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.