Yeah…I don’t think that’s the way to brush your teeth, kiddo

Posted: October 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

The following story is fictional. The event described, however, was told to me second-hand from an actual ER nurse. To protect the privacy and idiocy of the person or persons involved, all names are fictional.


Kids, ya gotta love them for their creative ingenuity and general curiosity about the world. They say and do the darndest things, right?

Hey, it’s Jeff again.  Thought I’d share another one of those insertion stories. I swear, there is no end to the strange cases that come through the doors of my ER. I’m not even sure I can explain them fully here – but I’ll try to do the best I can, okay?

This particular case is a bit less funny. Why? Because it involves a young boy. Not only a young boy, but a special needs boy with a special circumstance. And because I don’t believe in making fun of retarded children, I’ll try to temper any potential humor this time. That seems fair and professional, don’t you think?

Billy, let’s call him Billy this time. Billy was a sweet young boy with a moderate to severe case of Down Syndrome. He was uncommunicative, only able to grunt and moan when speaking. But, he was also a really sweet boy too – he instantly gave me a bear hug when he walked through the door and saw me in my scrubs. He obviously believed that I was the doctor so he came right up to me, even though his mother had a firm grip on his hand (Billy likes to take off into a full run when he sees something that interests or fascinates me. I think it was the shiny stethoscope I had draped around my neck at the time.) Fortunately for his mom and me, he wasn’t afraid of hospitals, so he didn’t start screaming, struggling and turn tail and run out the door the second his mom’s grip loosened a little. He practically knocked me over instead.

While his mom checked Billy in and filled out the required paperwork, Billy was left to his own devices for about twenty minutes. Again, not trying to poke fun of the mentally challenged, but I must say in that short period of time Billy got himself into a variety of trouble.

First, he grabbed all the pens off the registrar’s desks (all four corrals, mind you) and started shoving them into whatever hole he could find (fortunately it wasn’t a hole on his body — because he was wearing clothes at the time). He stuck two in the planter boxes – straight down into the dirt, three or four in the plastic blinds (after he had scribbled some unintelligible words on the metal slits), and  the rest he started handing out randomly to several patients waiting to be seen. There were some odd looks, but mostly the patients understood he was mentally disabled, so they really didn’t act like assholes over this.

Mom, meanwhile was growing more and more horrified and frantic over her son’s behavior. Billy, BILLY! COME SIT OVER HERE NOW!! she kept saying, snapping her fingers at him, trying to get his very short attention. Billy was oblivious to his mother’s begging.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much anyone could do but let Billy continue wreaking havoc in the waiting room. As typical with Down Syndrome kids, they tend to be hyper-focused and incredibly stubborn. Not to mention very impulsive.

He started going from person to person -which did start irritating a few folks. I don’t blame them – they aren’t in the ER for a picnic, ya know what I mean? Some of them were obviously in a lot of distress and just wanted to be left alone. But how do  you politely tell a moderately retarded child to fuck off? You don’t. You smile politely and try to get them to go annoy someone else and leave you the hell alone to suffer in silence and exasperation.

After going through all the patients in the waiting room, then he started going after the equipment. He found the remote control, started pushing random buttons, causing the channels to flip in rapid succession. So much for the latest information on the school shooting, or terrorist threat or whatever the fuck was obviously more important and worldly than the fucking cartoon he found — and stopped at, with a death grip on the remote so strong that even his mother couldn’t get him to give it back to the receptionist. It took her and two interns to bribe him with a lollipop before he finally let it go. After that, he found the water cooler and simultaneously discovered water and gravity. The water jug was half emptied before anyone even noticed the waterfall and subsequent flood that was overtaking the back hallway.

Throughout all of this, Billy appeared to be having the time of his life. He would grunt and clap his hands whenever he accomplished something (destructive, that is). He would search the room for approving eyes — and point and drool a little bit at what he’d just done. He didn’t seem the least bit sick or distressed. He did, however seem like he could have used a sedative.

So, I was unsure why Billy’s mom had brought him in this evening in the first place. But, I’m sure I’d find out shortly, because mom was finishing up the paperwork. They expedited  his case and triaged him right into the first available bed. Not because he was seriously ill, but because the people in the waiting room had grown tired of watching Hurricane Billy’s path of destruction widen and spread.

When we were alone, I did the usual thing: blood pressure, vitals, etc. etc. Everything checked out visually. Other than soaked pant cuffs, a snotty nose and a little drool, Billy appeared in fine health. So, I just had to ask, “What seems to be the problem here?”

That’s when Billy’s mom’s cheeks turned bright red. She puffed them out, rolled her eyes exasperatedly at the ceiling and said, “Billy, take your pants off and show Nurse Jeff what hurts  you…” Billy shook his head defiantly, grunted what I only suspect was “No touch me!” and refused to do what his mother told him. Mom pressed, “Billy, take your pants off now so the nice nurse can remove it!” Pants? Remove? What the fuck, mom?

Billy slowly reached down and began to pull his elastic banded pants down, shaking his head slowly from side to side “No touch no touch no touch, nnnng nnng, ngg”. I noticed that Billy had what looked like a slight erection. But, as his pants came down, I realized that what I was looking at wasn’t an erection, but the bristled tip of…what the fuck? A toothbrush.

Billy had somehow inserted his toothbrush all the way up his penis, and only the brush end was visible. All I could think was “How did that thing get up in there?”







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