Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Optical Rectitis

I was getting report from the day shift nurse on a gentleman who was in his mid 50's. He had colon cancer a few years back went through chemo and all the cancer treatment. He had a bowel resection with a colostomy. . had the colostomy reversed about a year ago and now had been suffering from fistulas with infections. NOT GOOD! He also had a pretty extensive heart history and had dealt with MI's, stents, multiple cardiac caths, etc. He pretty much was a hot mess!! He was scheduled for surgery AGAIN, the next morning. So he was NPO and really because of all the other tests they had done he hadn't eaten in about 48 hours.

When we are reporting off to the next shift, we give report to the oncoming shift in the patients room. That way the patient hears what we are saying, meets the oncoming staff, and can give their input, incase there is something the nurse forgets. This makes the patient feel more like they still have some control over what is going on. It also is a great time to check for incontinence, almost emply IV bags, or other things that seem to ALWAYS get left for the next shift. Those little things that slow you down at the busiest part of your shift.

During this report when the nurse was done telling me everything, she asked if there was anything he wanted to add.

Patient: "She forgot to tell you I also have Optical Rectitis, they found it on the CT scan they did last week."

Me: "Really? (trying hard to go through my memory rolodex searching for that diagnosis)"

Patient: "Have you heard of it?"

Me: (Again, starting to feel a little dumb and not wanting to admit it) "I don't think so, at least that is not one I remember hearing about. They found it on a CT scan?"

Patient: "Well, alot of people have it, but it doesn't get an official diagnosis very often. This is because it is so hard to treat and insurance doesn't like to pay for the treatment."

Me: (still thumbing through that rolodex. . . not finding anything)

Patient: "Basically, what it means is that I have a shity outlook on life."

All of the sudden he and the day shift nurse bust out laughing! I had never heard this before and was so thankful that I couldn't find this diagnosis in my memory bank. I was so starting to feel really stupid!

Truth, he did have a pretty bad outlook on life. However, he was working on it. He had been dealt a pretty bad hand and had kept going through it all. He was really just hoping this last surgery would take care of everything, but because of past experience it was hard to believe that would happen.

By the end of my shift we were both telling jokes to each other and laughing pretty hard. I think his "Optical Rectitis" was starting to go into remission.



  1. This is TOTALLY hilarious! I fell out of my chair laughing! Your guy is working on finding something to laugh about!

  2. RLOF!!!! Nurse, surely you have to love these types of patients. He had a great imagination.

  3. One Nurse, you have some great stories...nursing can be such an adventure!