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How to Drive Your Doctor Nuts During a Physical Exam

— When your doctor looks in your eyes with a flashlight, shut your eyes tightly so he can’t see your pupils. Later, when your doctors asks you to shut your eyes tightly to test your eyelid strength, look at him like he’s speaking in tongues and keep your eyes open. If he whips out his flashlight to look at your pupils again, quickly close your eyes or blink rapidly and twitch your lip.

— When your doctor tries to look in your mouth, arch your tongue so he can’t see the back of your throat. If he tries to use a tongue depressor, make gagging noises as soon as the tongue depressor touches your tongue and say that you forgot to tell him that you’re allergic to balsa wood. Argue with him about what type of wood tongue depressors are made out of.

— When your doctor looks in your ear with that light thingy, keep saying “What? WHAT? I can’t hear you. WHAT?”

— When your doctor tries to listen to your neck with his stethoscope, suddenly start talking loudly. Telling your doctor what your Great Uncle Seymour had for dinner at his wedding would be a good topic of conversation at this point. When he pulls the stethoscope away from your neck, stop talking. When he puts the stethoscope back on your neck, start talking loudly about your Great Uncle Seymour again.

— When your doctor listens to your lungs with his stethoscope, hold your breath. Do this as long as you can and give him a puzzled look when he doesn’t move the stethocscope around. When he takes the stethoscope off your back, start breathing. When he puts the stethoscope back on your chest, hold your breath again.

— When your doctor tries to listen to your heart, take shallow breaths and moan loudly every time you exhale.

— Laugh loudly and wiggle all over the bed when your doctor presses on your stomach. Tell him to stop it because you’re ticklish.

— When your doctor pulls out the reflex hammer, tense the muscles in every extremity he touches. If he tries to bend your knee, hold your leg straight. Fight him when he tries to bend your knee. If he tries to trick you by touching one leg and then tapping the other with the hammer, tense both legs.

— When your doctor tests your strength and tells you to move a muscle, do the opposite of what he tells you. If he tells you to pull against him, push in the opposite direction. If he tells you to pull your toes toward your nose, shake your legs back and forth.

— When your doctor tells you to close your eyes and touch your nose, keep your eyes open and touch your nose. When he tells you that you have to keep your eyes closed, close your eyes, slowly move your finger toward your nose, then touch the top of your head or some other body part.

— When your doctor tells you to stand and try to balance on one leg, just sit there and look at him like you don’t understand what he’s saying. Then stand up and hold onto the bed or the wall while lifting one of your feet. Keep doing it even when your doctor tells you not to.

— When your doctor examines your skin, point at random areas of your body and ask what he thinks that rash is. When he asks what rash you are talking about, Look at him like he’s crazy and point to the same spot, saying “THAT rash. Right THERE.” Then roll your eyes and shake your head.

After the exam, tell the nurse that you don’t think the doctor did a very good physical exam.

When your doctor comes in to give you your discharge papers, ask him what year of training he’s in.

Duck quickly. Chances are good that he will swing at you.


  1. When the doctor asks the “what seems to be wrong today”, always answer “that’s why I am here, for you to find out”.

    When the doctor asks the mother “what seems to be wrong today with your 3 year old” always tell your 3 year old “you tell him”.

    As you get your discharge papers, end the encounter with “oh, by the way…” with the real reason you came to the ED

    Always use the words “high pain tolerance” when requesting megadoses of narcs.

  2. I realize that ethics are involved, but I think you’re overlooking the value of the diagnostic enema. Explaining to the patient that they present with the classic symptom of being FOS is generally correct.

    I also think telling certain patients “You’re just an @$$hole” is simultaneously true, necessary, and medically indicated in any number of cases. But it will lower your Press-Ganey scores.

    All I want is a modicum of fairness.
    Legitimate patients deserve treatment.
    But conditions of admission to the ED should stipulate that fake medical claims and similar malingering authorize and entitle the hospital and/or all involved practitioners as explicitly cleared to post the video of the encounter on YouTube at will.

    With far less bloodshed than rounding up ambulance chasers and guillotining them en masse, it would do more to reform medical care in this country than just about anything imaginable.

  3. Did you have a bad day ..or is this post a cumulative response.

    I especially liked the stop breathing one.

    Funny! :)

    Oh and I’ve been known to save the most important for last – don’t know why. Fear factor/denial maybe? Then I get the courage.

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