Today was a very frustrating day at work. I had had enough of people bitching and whining about their problems! I wanted to go home, but still had another 4 hours left of my shift. I went to the box to get the next folder. The presenting complaint was “vague abdominal pain”. This is definitely in the top 5 of “Worst Patient Problems”.

I draw the curtain back to find a woman in her thirties lying on the bed. I start going through the history. Do you have:

Vomiting – no

Diarrhoea – no

Nausea – no

Pain when you pass urine – no

Anything besides the abdominal pain – no

I examine her and find nothing!

“Well we need to do some blood tests and test your urine to find out what the cause is of this pain. Can I give you some medication for the pain, while we are running the tests?”

“Actually I just went to the toilet and I’m into homeopathic medicine, so unless it’s organic, I don’t want it.”

“So if the blood tests or urine sample reveal that you have an infection, you won’t take antibiotics?” I try not to raise my voice.

“Oh no! I don’t do antibiotics, never!”

Oh sweet Lord Jesus, help me! So if you had an infection, which could result in your death/demise/end of life, you would say “can I have some herbs?”

“So what exactly do you want me to do?” I ask with clenched teeth.

“I’m in pain and I need something to help take it away.”

“Well if you don’t take anything other than herbal medication, I can’t help you. I believe in medicines that work…” and that aren’t sold by a sangoma, a gypsy in tye-dye clothes, or your local weed supplier.

Now get the fuck out of the Emergency unit!

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