There Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed a What?

I don’t know about you, but I’m always drawn to the weird and seemingly impossible stories floating around about medicine out there.

As you can tell by this book cover, some bizarre things have happened in emergency rooms. This picture of the woman who swallowed a toothbrush reminded me of a few odd cases I’ve encountered working as an RN over my career. Besides doing many years as a hospital bedside nurse, I was also a Bronchoscopy nurse, and later worked in the Gastroenterology department.

The oddest memory I have from bedside nursing was once taking care of a patient who’d been run over by a tractor. He had a gaping whole the size of a football in his abdomen, and we worked to fill it in by process of granulation, little by little each day. I had to see it to believe it, and he lived to tell about his run-in with that tractor!

As a bronchoscopy nurse, we had our share of foreign bodies making their way into the patients’ lungs.  Once a dentist called for emergency help when the dental crown he was carefully placing in the patient’s mouth got inhaled.  The x-ray revealed the beautiful white cap wedged inside the mainstem bronchus, and with our handy-dandy bronchoscope and forceps, I assisted as the doctor removed it.

There was also the time the older gentleman was putting up a new light fixture in his ceiling.  With screw and bolt held between his lips, he stood on the ladder, first taking the screw preparing to test the fit, but when he lost his balance, he inhaled the bolt.  You guessed it, another object lodged in the bronchial tree.

Perhaps the oddest of all, and in keeping with the toothbrush swallowing, was the time I was called into the ER to assist my on-call gastroenterologist doc with a case.  The older lady was well taken care of by her husband.  Each morning he gave her the little cup of pills to swallow. This particular morning, she’d complained about a headache, so he included a pain pill in its neat little foil packet. Per her routine, the lady read the morning paper, grabbed the cup of pills, tossed them back into her mouth and washed them down with a gulp of water. Except, something didn’t feel right, she’d forgotten to remove the pain pill from the foil packet! Amazingly, she’d swallowed it whole. I assisted my GI doctor as he used the endoscope and forceps to remove the foil packet from halfway down her esophagus where the sharp edges definitely left scratch marks on their way down and all the way back up. Turns out that morning, her headache was the least of her problems.

I’m away from the website this week, so have posted a replay from my recent visit to Love is the Best Medicine – the medical romance authors group blog, without a shout out question.  I hope you’ve enjoyed the blog.  If you’ve never tried reading Medical Romance before, Harelquin, Mills & Boon has a wonderful line of romanced devoted to medicine and medical professionals falling in love.  There is also more and more medical romance popping up out there in cyberspace.  I love writing them, and I hope you’ll love reading them.

Until next week – make it a great one!

Lynne Marshall loves to write about nurses for Mills & Boon, Harlequin Special Edition, and The Wild Rose Press.  Watch for her July Medical Romance Dr. Tall, Dark, and…Dangerous in both UK and US.  Courting His Favorite Nurse, March 2012, Special Edition US, May 2012 UK Cherish lineAn Indiscretion a contemporary romance with medical elements in e-book only, The Wild Rose Press, now available.

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8 Responses to There Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed a What?

  1. Lacey Devlin says:

    I’m so glad “tractor man” lived to tell the tale. I cringe just thinking about the pain he must have been in. I love a whacky medical story as long as it’s not happening to me 😉

    I’m reading Courting His Favorite Nurse at the moment. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! 🙂

  2. Dear Lacey – there are many things in medicine that are awfully interesting – as long as they aren’t happening to us! 🙂

    I’m thrilled to know that you are enjoying Courting His Favorite Nurse. You’ve made me grin!

  3. Dee J. says:

    OMG. I never knew you had such terrific stories! And of course, I read your blog title and laughed out loud. My dirty mind went elsewhere.
    Glad you’re home! Missed you!

  4. ha ha ha, Dee J! Now go wash your mind out with soap. 😀

    It nice to be back home, too. Thanks for the welcome.

  5. Oh – and for the record, I’ve got some stories I wouldn’t tell on this blog, too. ; )

  6. Nas says:

    Oh? (O-o)