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PTA Blog Talk

Interesting Patients

Published August 11, 2011 7:41 PM by Jason Marketti

A patient makes some unkindly remarks about women and others who were taking jobs away from him. Of course this man was retired and to make it more interesting, he and his wife go down to Mexico to have dental work done "because it's cheaper there," he told me. And no, he does not speak Spanish despite going there for services for several years.

Another patient was constantly interrupted by cell phone calls with each session. "Hold on a minute, this is important," he would say with each call. I stood around waiting for him to finish. Unfortunately this was part of his therapy time that he chose to use talking on the phone. Should we incorporate a no-cell-phone policy like Luke has in his diner (Luke is a character from the show "Gilmore Girls").

I had one patient and his wife try and sell me an AK-47 while I was doing wound care on him. A pipe bomb blew up in his basement "accidently" and I was picking out PVC from his abdomen and legs.

I walked into one room and the patient was having a glass of wine while her nails were being done. "Not now, I'm busy," and with that she shooed me away like the regular help.

One guy insisted on being naked throughout his stay. OT tried to get him to stay dressed but in the end he took off his clothes. And of course he requested me to do his therapy, alone, in his room, with the door closed.

And finally there was the retired chiropractor who lived alone in the desert. One TIA, one CVA within a month and he had horses to care for. Before he left, he told me when he gets home he might take one last ride out into the desert, forever. I hoped not.

There are countless others like the 104-year-old Italian lady who followed me on some days to just sit and watch us all work, and the funny episodes of patient care are too numerous to keep track of but we all know that is part of why we do this.


I've lost count of all the interesting patients I've worked with.  My personal pet peeve are the ones who think therapy time is less important that telephone time.  They seem to think I have all the time in the world because my time isn't valuable.  I was once working on standing with a CVA patient in the parallel bars.  It took two of us to stand him.  He actually let go of the bars and nearly fell while to try to answer his cell phone when it rang.  

Toni Patt August 11, 2011 6:55 PM

We are one of the few professions that has the time (has to spend the time actually) to get to know our patients well. Sometimes more thoroughly than we would like. Your naked man comes to mind.

PT is often frustrating, tiring, joyous, emotional, mind wracking, but rarely, if ever, boring. How lucky are we?!

Dean Metz August 11, 2011 5:47 PM

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About this Blog

    Jason J. Marketti
    Occupation: Physical Therapist Assistant
    Setting: San Jacinto, CA
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