Feb 23, 2006

Medical Hijinks And Hilarity Ensue!

Tonight on Channel 485 at 7:00 pm: House St. Pachyderm ER. Be sure and tune in to tonight's season finale episode when new internist Dr. Irrelephant mistakenly calls a Code Violet over the intercom instead of a Code Lavender, throwing the entire hospital into panic as they begin to prepare for an Ebola epidemic! Which doctor will be losing their license AND their life? Tune in for this edge-of-your-seat can't-miss episode. And be sure to keep your eyes peeled for a Special Guest Cameo by Frederico The Ferocious Badger! Fun for the entire family.

Sometimes a sense of humour is not necessarily the essential ingredient to have in a medical office.

Part of my job entails the entry of medical orders in the computer system so we can keep track of each patient's medical needs. When I enter each order part of the process is to note what type of order it is. This is done with simple five-letter abbreviations, such as "DME" for Durable Medical Equipment like walkers, wheelchairs and oxygen equipment, or "PTPO" for Physical Therapy Physician's Orders, which would be therapy goals and directions, and even abbreviations as convoluted as "PTOTE" for Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy Evaluation.

The problem for me arises when I get bored with the same old same old, or if an order is a little vague, or if I simply feel like stirring the pot just a little bit. I had an order recently for a lab sample to be taken, which should have been abbreviated "LAB" in the system. The body of the order usually runs like "PT/INR x 2 weeks" or "Draw labs weekly - CBC; BMP; Magnesium level." This order, however, was for a stool sample to be tested for occult blood and such. It wasn't a big step for me, then, to abbreviate it as "STOOL." I got a giggle out of it, which is the extent of most of my humour. Naturally VW knew instantly who had entered the order, and she corrected it AND disciplined me (through the doorway no less) by saying one word: "stool?" Go go Gadget nonverbal communication skills!

My whole humourous-order-abbreviating schtick has't gotten out of hand yet, but I was busted for it again this morning, this time in a slightly less amused voice because I had entered an order that said, in general, "May leave Fleets enema by bedside." I was told in a stern voice that it should have been entered as "SUPPL" for Medical Supplies, but I couldn't help myself--"ENEMA" went into the ordering system, and the lack of enjoyment on my boss' part came from the fact that there was some confusion with the order and it had to be forwarded to corporate's attention with "ENEMA" blazing across the entry.

I hate to say it, but I'm surprised that there actually are times when potty and bum jokes simply won't carry the day. There it is, staring me right in the starfish*.
*Other popular terms include:

  • Brown Eye
  • Turd Cutter
  • The Toothless One
  • Trumpet-playing Frog

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