True story from approximately 2002. It’s 3am the day after St. Patrick’s Day when an extremely concerned 21 year old woman accompanied by her bleary-eyed boyfriend arrive in the Emergency Department of a large urban trauma center. I am the resident on the night shift who sees them.
Me: How can I help you today?
Patient: My pooh is green!
Me: When did this happen?
Patient: Just now!
She goes on to deny any fever, abdominal pain, travel, vomiting or diarrhea. She denies any black or bloody stool. Her vital signs are normal and her exam is unremarkable. She has no history of prior health problems and denies pregnancy.
Me: What did you eat yesterday?
Patient: (Notably less anxious, smiling fondly in recollection) My friends and I made shamrock sugar cookies with green sprinkles for a pre-party at our apartment, where we served these amazing cocktails called Grasshoppers and Emerald Rainbows. Then our group of friends went on an Irish pub crawl where we ordered several pitchers of green beer that we shared. It was awesome!
Me: Do you smoke?
Me: Smoking will kill you. Green pooh won’t. Please quit smoking.
Have a festive and responsible St. Patrick’s Day, and please stay out of the Emergency Department!
Financial Literacy for The Newly Minted Physician