One of my (anonymous) PA friends who just started (like me) shared this story and gave me permission to post it... I've never had anything this bad happen - yet. They told us several times during rotations to watch out for the "by the ways" as you walk out the door to leave - usually the real reason the patient came in but can't get up the nerve to say.
"I had a patient come in today...she was coming in to talk about numbness in her hands. So we talked about her hands for a long time and then when I was almost done with the exam, I was asking my usual questions and I asked if she had any recent abdominal pain. She said, well, I wasn't going to mention this..but..I have had some abdominal pain. In fact yesterday, I had something unusual come of my rear end when I took a bowel movement.
Me: Why exactly was it weird?
Patient: well, I think a worm came out of my rear end.
me: umm...and why do you think it was a worm?
Patient: well, hold on one second.The patient then proceeds to get up, walk over to her purse and pull out a Ziploc baggie and then set it on the desk in front of me.
I look and it is a baggie full of poop. Literally a baggie full of POOP!!!!!!
Patient: look at it, don't you think you see a worm in there???
Me: well, it just looks like poop to me. But there are some tests that the lab can run in order to check the poop for parasites. Would you like us to do that?
Patient: yes please, i think its a worm.
So I think go to the lab and get out some vials that are used to send things to the lab. The lab tech says...I'm not touching that baggie, if she wants it done she is going to have to put the poop in there herself.
So I walk back into the patient room and tell her what is going on...and she agrees to put the poop into the vials herself. So the patient walks to the bathroom and scoops her own poop into three vials."
Remember, that was not me... But I have heard multiple stories about people bringing in their own samples for you :) .
Lessons here: 1) Remember to be nice to your PA. You never know who they had before you and what they've put them through. 2) Never buy a "previously loved" purse. 3) Don't touch anything in the doctor's office. Poop is only the least of your troubles! 4) Your job could always be worse - there are actual techs out there who have to sift through someone else's poop. 5) Never be afraid to ask about anything you're worried about - you will not be the wierdest/grossest we've ever seen. And you might just give us a funny story to tell - anonymously of course!