If you’ve ever been in an emergency room, for any reason, chances are, you’ve run into something or someone you may have not been prepared for. Whether it’s a guy who stumbles in at 4 am after a bar scuffle, or an unruly patient who’s had too much to drink, it’s the wonderful nurses who are forced to deal with these situations.
As you’d expect, thousands of nurses take to Reddit to share stories about their ridiculous interactions with patients. For your reading pleasure, we’ve assembled the strangest, most unbelievable accounts of nurses who witnessed patients saying the most ridiculous things imaginable.
Here are true stories from nurses who experienced utter insanity when dealing with their patients (and tried their best not to lose it!)
44. This Jelly Tastes Weird
I was caring for a woman and asked, “So how’s your breakfast this morning?” “It’s very good, except for the Kentucky Jelly. I can’t seem to get used to the taste,” the patient replied.
I then asked to see the jelly and the woman produced a foil packet labeled “KY Jelly” (a lubricant).
43. And Now You Get Catheterized!
An orthopedic patient had had surgery during the day. I had him on the p.m. shift, and he was struggling to pee. His doctor ordered him to be catheterized by 8 p.m. if he couldn’t urinate. At 7:30 p.m., he proudly showed me his urinal with sufficient output.
Just as I was about to go home he called me back in. He was in misery and confessed it was apple juice. Guess who got a catheter?
42. My Baby Ain’t A Salad!
When a patient was having a hard time pushing the baby out, we had to use forceps. The patient saw them and screamed “Those are salad tongs! You are not putting any kitchenware in there!”
I had to hold my laugh and explained to her how it works and that everything will be fine.
41. Epic Last Words
A Medical Director (MD) on his death bed closed his eyes while doctors and nurses formed a circle around him. There was a moment of silence in the room. The nurse asked, “Is he dead?” The Doctor replied, “Probably. Let’s check his pulse.”
A few seconds later, MD responded: “I’m sleeping. Don’t be in such a hurry! Go back to work!” A few hours later, MD was dead. Those were his last words.
40. My Wife Rules
One of my favorites was an older gentleman. At the of his surgery, right after extubation, I asked him to take a deep breath and he just started chuckling. I asked him what was so funny and he said, “Hehehe you can’t tell me what to do.”
I asked him to repeat that and he said: “You can’t tell me what to do, you’re not my wife!” Everyone in the room cracked up. He must have still been feeling the effects of the anesthesia.
39. May I Go Home Now?
When the patient was in labor, she was screaming and her mom was trying to be comforting: “It’ll be OK. Take some deep breaths. It’ll be over soon.” Then the patient looks up at her mom and says “You have no idea what this is like!”
A few minutes later, the patient told me, “I don’t wanna do this anymore, I’m going home! Let’s just continue it next time!”
38. Feel Old Yet?
I had a female patient who was 92 years old. She said to me “You know I use to feel so young and alive and now I feel old.”
I asked her “when did you realize you were old?” She said, “I can tell you the exact moment, it was when I quit fantasizing about a good lover and started fantasizing about a good night’s sleep.”
37. Water Makes Living Things Grow, So Why Not?
We had a dear 89-year-old lady in our ward who’d had her leg amputated. Every morning, her bed would be wet, despite a catheter. Nobody could understand it.
One day, I walked in as she was pouring her water jug all over her stump. I stopped her, asking why. Her answer? “Well, if I water it, it will grow.”
36. “Do I Still Have My Lady Balls?”
I had an operation to remove a cyst from my patient’s ovary but there was a good chance that she would lose one or both of her ovaries. After the operation, the patient asked: “Do I still have my lady balls?”
I laughed so hard that I cried. I never thought of them being lady balls, but in essence, yes. Yes, those are lady balls.
35. Extra Thick And Warm Underwear
I was caring for an elderly patient diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. I changed her diaper after six hours and became worried because it was completely dry. She was receiving doses of furosemide intravenously and she should have had lots of urine output by that time.
When I got back to her room, I was surprised to see her coming out of the comfort room. “Did you pee?” I asked. She responded, Yes. I said, “But that’s what your diaper is for. You don’t need to get up and go to the bathroom.” My patient replied, “Oh, I thought it was just extra thick and extra warm underwear!”
34. The Instant Tall Pill
It was 3 AM and I’d been on duty in the Emergency since 8 AM. I was exhausted. A well-dressed man came in with his 8-year-old, healthy-looking, son.
I asked him what was the problem. He then said, “Well, I was at a wedding and it occurred to me that my son is a little short. Can you give him something right now to make him taller like instant tall Pill?”
33. The Ever Supportive Wife
One day as I was running around to get the supplies for one of my residents who was coding, his wife stops me as I head back to the room and says, “Ohh, he’s just faking. He’s been talking about finding some way out of this hell hole. Just slap him hard a few times and he will wake up.”
I was speechless.
32. I Wish I Didn’t Ask
I had an elderly lady who wouldn’t talk. She had come from a nursing home so we didn’t have any family members to verify her baseline status. We thought that her inability to speak was a CVA deficit. During her admission, she had received a PEG tube for nutrition.
One night, I was flushing her PEG and a commercial with music came on the TV. As I was flushing the tube, I did a little dance with my hips. It was just a small little movement while I hummed along to the commercial. She looked at me and her lips moved as if she were trying to speak. I muted her TV, and leaned in closer trying to hear her. I asked her to repeat herself, and she said, “I said, you can’t dance.”
31. Shh! I’m Not Gonna Tell It Was Just My Fart
I dropped a nasty rotten-egg fart in a patient’s room. He asked if I smelled anything and I said, “No.” He was silent for a minute, then says, “it smells like food.”
He hadn’t had anything to eat or drink in days because of cancer in his stomach. He must have been really hungry if he thought it smelled edible.
30. Don’t Worry! I am Groot!
A lady has to have foot amputated and is given waiver forms to sign pre-op. Buddy asks if she needs time to think about it. She’s very nonchalant and doesn’t seem to care much about what they do.
He gets suspicious and probes a bit as to why she’s not more concerned. She says she gets that they have to operate and it’s OK because the foot will grow back.
29. Don’t Let The Funny Stuff Get Away!
We were extubating my really sick Whipple patient. He’d gone through a major surgery, and, when we got him off the ventilator, the respiratory therapist gently reminded him he was in hospital. He replied ,’No way!’
Then when I asked him if he wanted me to fetch his wife, he asked ‘Which one?!’ It was amazing to see he still had such a sense of humor after everything he’d been through.
28. That’s Why Instructions Are Important
The doctor prescribed the patient estrogen patches and told her to stick one patch on herself every other day. At the next follow-up, she said she didn’t like the patches because she’d been “running out of space.”
I didn’t think to clarify to her that she should have been placing a new patch and removing the one from yesterday each day. Very amusing. She indeed was covered in sticky patches.
27. Menopause Explained!
A patient informed us that she believed that the real reason women go into menopause is all of the pent up sexual frustration from having unfulfilled desires because they still want to “do the deed” but men won’t touch them anymore because they’re not attractive anymore.
All of this unfulfilled sexual desire eventually manifests as hot flashes.
26. Thanks, Clara!
A gentleman calls our office with questions about an upcoming test he is scheduled for, and we talk at length about the procedure.
The conversation went like this: Patient: “I’m sorry to have so many questions.” Me: “Oh, that’s no problem. You can always call and ask for clarification when you need it.” Patient: “Thank you very much, Clara Fication! You’ve been very helpful.”
25. The Good And The Very Bad News
My patient announced she had Good news and Bad. The Good News is “The medicine for my earache worked. I then asked, “What’s the bad news?” She then answered, “It tasted awful.”
Since she was feeling better, I didn’t have the heart to tell her they’re called ear drops for a reason.
24. Who’s The Daddy?
During one of the births I was helping out in, while this woman is pushing out her baby I asked her if her partner would be at the birth. She said “No freaking way. I don’t know him well enough.”
Difficult to keep a straight face!
23. Jingle Balls
My first clinical was on a urology unit. I had a patient that was admitted because he had nicked his balls while shaving and they had gotten infected. Angry cantaloupe-sized balls.
I was lifting up his “pouch” to put a pillow under it, he spread his legs slightly and looked me dead and the eye and said, “Are you gonna jiggle them next?”
22. “God, You’ve Got Bad Breath!”
It was my first patient with a colostomy. He was this old, grumpy man sitting up in bed. I started taking off his bag and it smelled so bad my eyes were watering.
I kept telling myself to think about his feelings and to not let anything show on my face. He looked at me and said, “God, you’ve got a bad breath!”
21. I’m Not Gonna Wear Those Rubbers!
A gentleman in his late 70s was recovering from an AKA, but was incontinent and wet the dressing (also on Lasix, so all the maxi pads and chuks couldn’t contain it). I told him about possibly using a condom catheter.
He looks at me, with his wife in the room, and goes: “I have 9 kids. I’ve never used that rubber contraceptive in my life. I’m not gonna start now.”
20. Big Breath
I was called by a doctor one day to review a female patient who wasn’t breathing adequately because of the suppressant effect of some pain medicine. I said to the patient “Big breath, Miss.” She looked at her breasts and said, “they used to be.”
I remained professional and re-explained my request. But later back in station, I was out of breath laughing. It was probably because of my accent.
19. Totally A Not Good Excuse!
One of the residents was a sweet lady whose husband had died a couple of decades ago. Her marriage had not been an easy one, and though she was lucid enough to know she was “in hospital”, she was very upset that her husband didn’t visit her. This was at a time when it was thought to be helpful to remind people who still had lucid moments about the reality of their situation, and this otherwise sweet lady had worked herself up.
She said, “He is can’t even be bothered to visit me!”. I calmly responded: “But my dear, your husband has been dead for more than 20 years…” She replied, “Well, that’s no excuse for not visiting me!”
18. Life Is Full Of?
I had just given an enema to a lady who was very constipated, and the enema had started to work. Two nursing techs were helping me clean the lady up, and one, Sunny, was not very tactful. Instead of using medical terms, she ooh-ed and ah-ed about how constipated the lady was by repeatedly saying, “I’ve never seen so much sh*t in my life!”
Now, we all knew this patient well and knew she had a great sense of humor. But she’d had a recurrence of a serious infection and was not very communicative at this point. However, she turned her head and looked at us and said, with a twinkle in her eye, “Are you saying I’m full of sh*t?
17. Medical Terms Are Complicated, Right?
I once had the daughter of one of my patients march up to the nursing station, slam the vitals chart down on the desk, and yell at me, “How dare you say my mother stinks!” I’m utterly puzzled by this as no one had said anything of the sort, and I asked the daughter to explain what she meant.
She grabs the chart, points to the row of ‘BOs’ recorded on it, and shouts, “Here you even had the nerve to write it down!” I explained that “BO” meant “Bowels Open” not body odor before escaping to the staff room to laugh my head off.
16. F Is For Fine, Not Fever!
I was checking a patient’s vital signs. After I checked the temperature, I wrote it down 98 F to indicate it’s in Fahrenheit. My patient was apparently watching me and his face suddenly looked very worried. Then he asked me, “I have a fever?” So I told him, “No, your temperature is normal.”
Apparently he didn’t understand that because he asked, “Are you going to give me something for fever?” And I said, “nothing fever.” Then he said, indignantly, “Then why did you put the F?!” Trying to stifle my giggles, I tried to explain to him what Fahrenheit and of course he wasn’t convinced. In the end, I have to show him that I erased the F.
15. Since I Became A Nurse, Maybe?
A few weeks ago at work, a patient and his wife were asking me about being a nurse—especially in regards to being a male in a historically female profession.
The showstopper: Wife: “How long have you been a male nurse?” Me: (after a pregnant pause) “My entire nursing career.”
14. Drinking Cold Is Bad For Your Health
Night shift. Have a guy NPO for whatever reason, probably to intubate him later if needed. Keeps asking for water, mouth swabs just aren’t cutting it anymore. He complains his neck is sore, so the nurse gets him an ice pack. Five minutes later, we hear yelling from the room: “NURSE HELP. IT BURNS.”
Turned out the guy opened it and tried drinking the fluid from the ice pack. We had to call poison control, and good thing he was fine. We still have a good laugh when someone brings it up.
13. Bye Stethoscope!
I was caring for a very elderly and confused sweet little lady. She was talking about her garden that day. She had gotten hold of my stethoscope, that was hanging around my neck, and commented: “that garden hose is too long.”
She then grabbed my bandage scissors out of my pocket and cut my stethoscope in half, and placed the scissors back in my pocket. She looked up at me and said: “Took care of that didn’t I. Will you turn the water on so I can water the flowers?”
12. I Have My Dentures With Me! Does That Count?
When a patient moves into Assisted Living, the nurse has to do a full-body assessment.
While checking over the new lady that had just moved in, I asked her, “Now, do you have your own teeth?” Her reply? “Of course I have my own teeth, I paid for them didn’t I?”
11. Who’s Having A Chicken For Dinner?!
I was once taking care of a pleasantly confused elderly woman in the hospital. When I asked her if she knew where she was, she replied, “Absolutely- I’m at the bowling alley.” I helped her to get up and assisted her on a walk around the unit. A nursing assistant was pushing her IV pole beside her. The patient suddenly stopped in her tracks. “No, I’ve got it all wrong; we’re not at a bowling alley- we’re on a farm! Don’t you hear the chickens?!” I didn’t hear anything.
We began to walk again. The wheels on the IV pole squealed as we went. “I hear it again! That poor chicken! Sounds like he’s about to be someone’s supper!” I couldn’t help but laugh!
10. She’s Just Curing Her Cat So It Will Not Give Her Allergies Again
One of the patients was complaining the cat allergy medicine we gave her wasn’t working (formulated in an inhaler) and that she’s just wasting her money for a useless medicine.
Turns out she was spraying the inhaler on her cat. We had to explain to her that she needs to inhale it.
9. “I Have Demons In My Scrotum”
I go in to see the patient (an elderly man with congestive heart failure), and ask him why he is in the hospital. He says “I have demons in my man pouch”. I attempt to get a medical history but he only gets to the Korean War before he falls asleep and we start over again. He insists on starting at the beginning and always nods off at the Korean War.
After 3 attempts I give up and start the physical exam. Among other things, his pouch is swollen to the size of a bowling ball.
8. Something What?
One day I was working the ER and we got in a patient that had rolled an ATV during some sort of 4 wheeling competition. MudFest or whatever it’s called was a notoriously busy weekend due to several inebriated red-necks flipping ATVS and Trucks. The patient was a female in her 20s and was drunk. I’m taking her blood and this other nurse looks at her and says “Honey I have to put a urinary catheter in you.” The drunk girl looks up and tells the nurse “If you try and put that thing in me I will pee on you!”
Everyone in the room died laughing and let the nurse do her business, and no she didn’t get wet. Once the nurse is done putting in the catheter the girls looks up and yells at the top of her lungs: “HEY! HEEEYYY! I THINK THERE IS SOMETHING IN MY KITTEN!
7. Bowel Preparation
My patient was on bowel prep for an endoscopy procedure. She is very sweet but often forgets things quickly because of dementia. To start the bowel prep, I gave her a laxative mixed in a glass of juice. I explained to her that it will induce several bowel movements in the next hours. After four hours, my patient peeked in the station and signaled for me to come with her in her room.
“Darling, I really like you as my nurse but I have something to tell you.” I replied, “Sure, no problem. What is it?” My patient motioned for me to come even closer. She whispered conspiratorially, “I believe the water you used for my juice gave me dysentery. But don’t worry I won’t tell your bosses. I just want to let you know so you don’t get dysentery as well.”
6. Best. Compliment. Ever.
I once had a patient, my first patient in the E.R. actually, that was brought in by the cops because he was found intoxicated and unconscious in front of a burger place. Anyway’s after I give the normal “You can still turn your life around” speech, he proceeds to tell me about how he frequents with the rich and famous, how easy it is to bang doctors, and how I can live a successful life (said the man with urine and vomit all over his clothing.)
He then drops this gem on me “You know what man, you’re not a supermodel but you’re definitely not fugly. You could get some.”
5. Pleasure Desires Gone Wrong
I once cared for a middle-aged patient who presented to an emergency with an adult toy-related, very embarrassing situation. He purchased the toy for one of his “pleasure desires.” Curiosity hit. And he shoved the damn thing in his pooper, high, high up! “Me first” attitude didn’t do him much good. Funny feelings subsided fairly quickly and the horror struck when he couldn’t get it out. His drainage was jammed, the toy was slipping further up and after about 24 hours of wishfully waiting for it to naturally pass, it hurt bad enough to seek medical help. The official party line that he vehemently iterated was, “I just fell onto it, how else do you think it got up there!?”
Needless to say, emergency surgery was necessary and he landed in the ICU with sepsis-related post-op complications. It took him a long time before being able to use the toilet normally! Though I have seen some really absurd stuff in the ER, this one surely wins the now-that-was-stupid award.
4. You’re Not Supposed To Wash It?
I had a patient come in for an STD check. She was very upset and continued to tell me that she only had one partner. Progressing through my assessment she further divulged that even if he was sleeping with other people it shouldn’t matter “because he uses rubber contraceptives every time and he makes sure to wash it thoroughly after every use.”
I asked what she meant when she said he washes it after every use. She explained that he washed the condom with hot water and soap before he used the said condom again. I had to explain to her that condoms are a one-time use product. She had no clue.
3. Yup, Grape Jelly
The patient came in for a complete physical. As the doctor was performing a gynecological examination, he encountered a very strange dark discharge.
He discontinued the exam and told her she needed to see a specialist right away, explaining his findings. She said, “Oh doctor, my primary care doctor told me to use jelly to prevent pregnancy…” Yep, grape jelly.
2. It’s Right There! Inside!
A 20-year-old man and his girlfriend came in at 2 AM freaking out because “something had torn his throat open.” He seemed fine. After asking the patient what exactly is wrong, he answered: “I don’t feel it but look, IT’S RIGHT THERE!” He was referring to his uvula
But the best one was when we had a patient who was recovering from the extraction of his wisdom tooth and still woozy from anesthesia spat out the bloody gauze that was in his mouth. After a while, he started sobbing, saying, “Was that my liver? Ohhhh noooo! My liver! Oh no!”
1. Is His Brain Still There?
After putting a few stitches in a middle-aged guy’s scalp, the family asked if he was OK. The attending joked that his brain was still inside. The family were stunned by this news.
I, the medical student, spent the next half hour informing the family that the brain was inside the skull and that a person couldn’t live without one. They thought that the “brain was just a turn of phrase to reflect a person’s common sense rather than an actual organ. Sort of the same as what they thought about the “heart.”