Little ol’ Marge came waddling up to the registration desk asking to see a doctor because she was urinating blood. In tow behind her was her obviously unhappy husband who was making it clear that the reason for his unhappiness was his wife’s trip to the emergency department.
“Great. Now we can sit in the waiting room so people can cough on us,” he said at the triage desk.
Marge and Charlie finally made it back to a room. Marge was having painless hematuria that began around dinner time. Painless hematuria in an elderly person generally isn’t a good sign. Through the whole history and physical exam, Charlie kept shaking his head and nose breathing.
When Marge gave us a urine sample, it was a medium shade of red in color.
“See what I mean?” She asked.
Charlie shook his head again. He’s going to have some serious guilt when this is all over.
While they were waiting for the lab results, Charlie hobbled to the bathroom. After the toilet flushed, he came out with even more of a frown. He walked back in the room and yelled at Marge.
“You HAPPY?!?! Now I’m pissing blood too. I told you before we left that it was the beets we ate for lunch. Now I got tuberculosis from sitting in the waiting room and we’ll get a thousand dollar hospital bill because you … don’t … listen!”
Charlie was right, it did end up being the beets.
This little interaction reinforced two firmly held beliefs of mine.
First, I will never willingly eat beets in my life.
Second, sometimes half the battle in medicine is asking the right questions.