I have a few items that have now become obscured enough by history that I can HIPAA-fy them and still retain the humor. Because I think it's important to remind myself and others that one of nursing's strong points is the humor that comes down the road almost every shift. 1. During one of my clinical rotations I had occasion to be in an OR listening to the banter between surgeon and nursing staff as they prepped the (apparently often) unconscious patient. I knew that the proximate cause for this operation was one of those "you have to be kidding me" sequences of the same injury, basically, incurred because the patient was more or less bombed out of her gourd at all times. The CRNA said, "Yeah, doc, I loved your H&P notes: 'Remarkably, the patient presents today sober.'" The surgeon paused and said, "What? It WAS remarkable. It's the first time I've ever seen her that way." I felt certain that H&P would have caused me to snort a time or two.

2. On the topic of H&Ps, I once read one that stated, "The patient has a history of gangrene of the left foot status post left above-knee amputation." I wasn't sure where or whether to start with figuring that one out.

3. I learned pretty fast that you cannot do neuro checks on real patients the way you're taught in school. On about the second one I did, I told my 90-something lady to "show me your teeth," and she dutifully reached into her mouth, pulled out her dentures, and produced them for my inspection.

4. The classic: I overheard an ER screener talking to a psych patient. "And have you been drinking any alcohol?" The patient said, "No," but then he brightened notably and said, "Do you think it would help, though?"

At least it's never BORING to be a nurse. You can't make up the stuff that people do in health care. Seemingly small things really almost make me have to leave the room to laugh sometimes---like my 90-something patient who was hiding beer cans in his pillowcase or the other 90-something lady who said, "Whee! Whee!" every time I put her bed up or down. (Me: "Did you say 'whee'?" Patient: "Whee!")