When multiple patients arrive at once, we hand them little index cards and have them write down their reason for visiting. That helps us decide who gets to see the triage nurse first.
Today I picked up a registration card and couldn't figure out what it said. First letter S... squash? spill? Or maybe that's just a squiggle and it starts with a J, or a G... hmm. No idea.
I called the patient into the triage bay, sat her in the chair, and asked what brought her to the ER today. She said, "I have a problem with my squirrel."
Oh, that's what the card says, I thought. But that didn't clarify much. "Excuse me? Did you get bitten by a squirrel?"
"No. I said have a problem with my squirrel."
"Um... what kind of problem?"
"A squirrel problem."
"Say that again?" She did. I still heard the same thing. "I'm sorry, You are saying 'squirrel,' right? The animal that lives in trees?"
She looked at me like I was stupid. "Yeah."
"So, what happened with the squirrel?
She actually rolled her eyes. "I'm telling you I have a problem with my squirrel." And she pointed down at her lap.
The penny dropped. "Ah! I see. What symptoms are you having?"
"I fucking told you five fucking times already! A squirrel problem! Fuck, didn't you go to school for this shit?"
I guess not.