Saturday, May 16, 2009

...pants on fire

I've often wondered why patients bother to lie to their doctors. We have seen just about everything in the book as well as most things not in the book.

There's not much that phases me anymore and when someone has done something really stupid or embarrassing, I tend not to judge them, but when they lie (and trust me, a doctor tends to know when a patient is blowing smoke) that just down right annoys me...

If you get shot or stabbed in the middle of the night and come into casualties in a drunken stupor, we are not going to buy your story that you were selling bibles door to door and some heathen attacked you unprovoked and unexpectedly because you have nothing but goodness in your heart.

If come in with a foreign body stuck in your rectum, we are not going to believe that you were naked because you were on your way to the shower and en route accidentally slipped and fell onto it!

If you have half a steak stuck in your oesophagus, we are not going to believe that you only took a small bite and that it must have somehow expanded because of all the water you drank to try and wash it down.

Medicine is evidence based, so if the evidence is there, we'll believe what the evidence shows us.

I had this patient who complained of severe earache. I had a look and saw mostly wax, but peaking out from behind the wax I saw something which didn't look entirely normal. I actually thought it kind of looked like the leg of on insect - those things can get anywhere. I told myself it may just be a hair coated in wax, but I was not convinced, so I had no choice but to syringe the ear. Now, I absolutely hate syringing ears. When I was a 4th year medical student, we went on an "ENT camp" which basically entailed us syringing the ears of underprivileged patients for three days straight. It was horrible. I saw (and smelt) things there that I never want to see (or smell) again. But obviously I had to do it.

So I syringe and a whole lot of wax comes out. Then I look in her ear again and see what looks like tissue paper or cotton wool. So I ask if she had put an ear bud or something into her ear and she says no, she didn't put anything in her ear. Yeah right, I think. I syringe again and more wax comes out. Then, I syringe and out comes a blob of cotton wool coated in wax. I pick it up and show it to her.

She says she doesn't know how that got in there.


Jabulani said...

I have children who tell me the same thing. You can kind of accept it in 7 and 8 year olds; it's just irritating in adults, who don't even make the effort to lie convincingly - or at least try to come up with a reasonably plausible excuse/story.
What's even worse is if you can prove their lie and then, instead of 'fessing up, they compound the lie with another equally ridiculous tale thinking they can dig themselves out of the hole. That's the point at which I simply smile and say "I see".

Anonymous said...

Nice blog you have here!
I now live in gangster’s paradise – Gauteng, but stayed in Amanzimtoti from 1994 to 2005. My main reason for leaving the town was because the place was going downhill and every second kid you met was on some or other illegal drug. I was personally assaulted on three occasions by White drunken thugs in town and my home was vandalized on several occasions. What is it with that place? It used to be such a lovely tranquil town and a safe place to rear kids, but it has been taken over by White Trash. In Gauteng the chances are pretty good that some Black savage will commit some or other crime against your person or property, but in Toti the savages are all white people. I think Toti is doing an injustice to the tourist trade by inviting people to visit the place. My last visit was in August 2008, -- out of season. A friend of mine and I stayed in a flat on Beach road. The weather was terrible but as soon as the rain cleared we took a stroll on the beach. It was near 12 midnight and our plans were to leave for home at about 2 the next morning. We were both attacked by a gang of five white drunken thugs who appeared from nowhere. The crowd dispersed when I pulled my gun out, --- but to end a longs story – the local cops eventually met us at the entrance to our flat and promptly confiscated my gun. They treated us as if we were the villains. We were obviously been stalked by the thugs as they knew exactly were we stayed. The episode turned into a real mess. Although we sustained no visible injuries, we left Amanzimtoti feeling rather bruised and traumatized. As for the gun, I doubt whether I’d ever see it again! The thugs got away with a cellphone and were never arrested. As for Amanzimtoti, --- I will never put foot in that place as long as I live, and will warn others to do the same. I’m sorry that I’m using your superb blog as a medium to accomplish this task, but I think it’s about time the public is made aware of the danger zones in our country.

Jabulani said...

Anonymous: I'm stupified! Forgive me please if I appear a little judgemental, but... seriously... "we took a stroll on the beach. It was near 12 midnight".
Notwithstanding your insights into the decline of Toti (very sad I agree; we used to holiday there when I was a child and loved every minute), I find myself totally and utterly incapable of understanding your actions! I have not lived in SA for 20 years so have missed all the degeneration of our wonderful country. However, not even I am stupid enough to think that was a smart move on your part. Why did you? Can you possibly be so totally unaware of the advice NOT to make yourself a target?

amanzimtoti said...

Anon. Dude. I really don't even know what to say to you. Black thugs, white trash and (probably) illegal guns! Oh my word.

Anonymous said...

Oh my! It seems that my above comments have stirred up a little storm. It was never my intention to start a debate, but I suppose on the other hand that’s what makes blogging so interesting.

It absolutely amazes me when people are dazed by the apparent stupid actions of others, or by the specific choice of words. For example, when the words “gun,” or “thug,” – (whether white or black) is mentioned, people, especially liberal minded folk, immediately see red lights and flags. It is understandable that people will tend to defend their hometown against negative criticism, but really ---- why express shock and amazement at my brief description of one unpleasant incident. I agree! It’s not safe to walk around at midnight on any deserted beach, especially for defenseless woman, but I’m a MAN and I’m NOT defenseless. I believe my previous posting illustrate this fact!

There’s a saying that says, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing ....” With that said, allow me to explain why two men ended up being attacked by a gang of hooligans near midnight. Firstly, we were on a business trip and with the bad weather experienced over a period of two days it was the first opportunity to enjoy the beach and the beauty of the ocean before returning home to a place were there are no natural beaches or beautiful oceans to enjoy.

From our top floor apartment the beach looked deserted and the sea was alluringly calm. The decision to take a weapon of self-defense with was an instinctive habit of mine, which possibly saved our lives that night, or prevented serious bodily harm. For the record ---- my confiscated firearm was an expensive legally licensed gun, which will probably remain in police custody until it rusts to pieces. But this is the way things work in South Africa. While criminal actions are justified, law-abiding citizens are disarmed and ridiculed by the State for not adhering to “unwritten” rules of the country. Why must two law-abiding men explain their actions when asked by cops, “What are you doing walking around with a gun at midnight?” “Gee whiz officer I didn’t realize that was illegal in this town! Next time we’ll carry our own broken bottles and knives for self-protection.”

Please don’t get me wrong here. I’m not a crazy rightwing gun-slinger and I normally stay away from places that invite violence or trouble of any kind. In a sense I feel sorry for those thugs. They probably thought that we were two queer chaps – easy targets to mug and rob. That’s what unemployed drug addicts do all over the world to feed their addictions! Amanzimtoti has been known for years as THE PLACE where drugs are freely available. Nothing has changed over the 15-year period of democracy. I’m truly sorry to say this, but the place has become a filthy joint (pardon the pun) for scumbags and thieves, and it’s appalling how the local cops can simply turn a blind eye.

BTW – your postings are excellent reading material, and you blog ranks well with the Google search engine!

Dragonfly said...

Love it :-)

Richard said...

Would like to know more from you about why your firearm was taken, have you got it back yet,
mmmmmmmm Walking around at midnight, now thats a crazy idea, no matter where you go,

email me at


Resident in Toti for nearly 20 years, and havent been threatened or attached yet.

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