Maintaining our sanity in the emergency department sometimes means that we do silly things like giving patient reports in an Arnold Schwarzenegger voice, talking like a pirate, or repeatedly singing “Pants on the Ground.”
No one thought too much of it when one of our nurses started a new trend by in the nursing station by spontaneously saying “mmm-huh” after every sentence.
“It’s going to get up to 70 degrees today, mmm-huh.”
What’s wrong with you?
Nothing at all, mmm-huh.
So I started thinking. Did I say mmm-huh to someone? Was this some new YouTube video or song that I hadn’t seen or heard yet? What started this new little fad?
Grabbed the next chart and went into see a little old lady who came in with mental status changes.
I walked through the door. “Hey there, I’m Dr. WhiteCoat. I understand you aren’t feeling quite yourself lately?”
The patient didn’t answer.
The patient’s family member was in the room and said “She hasn’t been acting right lately, mmm-huh.”
I looked over at her. “Are you a relative?”
“I’m her daughter, mmm-huh.”
At that point I felt my face get red and had the incredible urge to laugh. I held the chart up in front of my face while I was writing. I got myself under control and started asking the patient questions even though she wasn’t answering me, so her daughter wouldn’t keep talking. Her daughter butted in anyway.
“She hasn’t mentioned any weakness to me, mmm-huh.”
My upper lip started to quiver and all I could do was fake a cough and say “hmmmm.”
At that point the ED tech came in to draw blood. He accidentally dropped the tourniquet on the ground. That was the excuse I needed. I busted out laughing.
Everyone looked at me – even the patient. I tried to stop laughing, but I couldn’t. Every time I thought I had it under control, I’d start laughing again.
“Sorry, but it’s kind of a running joke how clumsy Jeff can be at times.”
He looked at me as if to say “What the hell are you talking about”?
I just laughed more.
Once I was done in the room, I walked out and the nurse was standing at the nursing station with a smug little grin on her face.
“How did it go in there, mmm-huh?”
“You are so gonna get it … mmm-huh.”