Sunday, April 25, 2010

Alligator heads + cocktails, not good

It was a wild day in the ER. The only thing that was getting me through was a bag of jolly ranchers. I was excitedly breaking my molars on them toward the end of shift when my most interesting case of the day came in, and I thought yes, this one is definitely blog-worthy.
A swarthy man in overalls approached my desk and stated he needed stitches. I invited him to sit down for registration since he appeared to be in no distress and I couldn't see any blood anywhere. He had his left hand wrapped in a towel.
He was quite jovial and actually seemed pleased to be there, not our typical patient, mind you.
Me: "So what happened to your hand?"
Patient: "it's cut right down thar to the bone, gonna need some stitches I bet."
Strong Southern drawl. Interesting. This is 45 miles from the Canadian border, we don't drawl here. When I asked, he assured me it wasn't bleeding badly, so next question:
Me: "have you ever been seen here before?"
"Yep! Buncha times. (Inserts name here) y'all got me in your comp-puter there."
Hm, yes, there he was, local address. A transplant!
Me: "How did you cut your hand?"
Patient hesitates. Hm? His wife, standing behind him with a toddler on her hip, snorts with laughter.
"You don't wanna know, ma'am!" She says.
Ah, true I don't, but I have to. I'm putting his ID on his right wrist and raise my eyebrows at him. "Sir?"
He snickers like I said something funny. I've already caught the whiskey on his breath so I'm prepared for anything. Or so I thought.
"Oh alright," he says, "I'll tell you. I was cleanin' an alligator head -"
"Wait." I've heard a lot of tall tales, but not this. Not in northern Minnesota. I smell a prank, but I can't help laughing either. "Start at the beginning. What were you doing?"
Big grin. "Well, I'm out in thee geerage havin' some cocktails, you know, and I'm fixin' to clean this alligator head - "
Me: "I'm sorry. I have to get this clear. Where did you get this fresh *alligator* head?"
Patient: "I'm dead serious, ma'am, my wife was down south and brung me home a present yesterday. So I'm fixin' to clean this fresh alligator head -"
Wow. I'm still pretty sure I'm being pranked, but I'll roll with it.
"Ok, sir, what kind of knife? A filet knife?"
"Well yeah! So I'm cuttin'-"
Me: "hang on. Did the knife go through some alligator before it went through your hand?"
Patient: "yep."
Me:*sigh* "Ok. Do you know when your last tetnus shot was?"
Patient: "yes ma'am! Couple of weeks ago, when I was in here!"

I couldn't bring myself to ask.
Lesson for the day: cocktails in the garage is fine, just leave the filet knives and alligator heads alone.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

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