Article Date: 6/1/2009

A Very Strange Antidote
lessons learned

A Very Strange Antidote

Just when you thought you've heard everything, you meet a new patient.


My baby just ate some ants!" a lady hysterically phoned her physician. "What should I do?" The M.D. reassured her there would be no problems resulting from ingesting a few ants.

"That's a relief," said the lady. "But just to make sure, I gave him a dose of ant poison to kill the ants."

As we've discussed, strange things happen in health care practitioner's offices. Below are several examples that may let you know that you are not the only one who has crazy patients.

Who's on first?

"I had a patient in the chair today who could have done the Abbot and Costello ‘Who's on first' routine,’" wrote my good friend Dr. Len Press, Fair Lawn, N.J. His account follows:

We projected the 20/40 line on the Snellen chart and asked her if she could read the letters. "Yes," she replied.

"F" as in Frank

"Z" as in Zebra

"B" as in Boy

"D" as in Dog …and did the same thing on each successive line. I was tempted to say, "You did that nicely, ‘N’ as in Nutty, ‘I’ as in Idiot ... but my manners held.

During the refraction, after checking monocularly, I had both lens wells open for the OU check, which prompted this exchange:

"Please read that line now."

"Do you want me to read them with both eyes?"


"Do you want me to read it with my right eye first?"

"No, I'd like you to read it with both eyes."

"Okay, which eye should I begin with?"


You owe me one

Dr. Mike Silverman, Coral Springs, Fl., tells of a little boy who had returned for his cycloplegic exam:

I had gotten behind schedule and my partner poked his head in my exam room, and asked if he could help out by installing the cycloplegic drops for me. I told him yes, and thanked him.

A couple of minutes later, I heard the little boy scream, immediately followed by my partner yelling out in pain. When I came out of the exam room, my partner said, "You owe me one!" Turns out he had gotten kicked (hard) in the shin by the little boy when the drop went in.

A first

I thought I had heard every version about the method of recovering swallowed contact lenses. But Dr. Larry Wolf, Merrill, Wis., has come up with a new one, that tops them all. His account:

Before the days of disposable contact lenses, I had dispensed a pair of daily wear soft lenses to a teen age girl, who lives in the country. A few days later she had put the lenses in the case on the top of the toilet tank. While flushing, she accidentally bumped the case and it also flushed down the toilet.

Her father owned the local septic tank cleaning business, so he pumped the septic tank, and sprayed the contents on the back 40 acres. He then made all the family don rubber boots and gloves, and peruse the area to search for the contact lens case and lenses. And they found it!

Her mother boiled the case and cooled it three different times. When the case was opened, it was discovered that the lenses had survived the ordeal quite successfully.

As Dr. Press said at the end of his message, "You can't make this sort of stuff up!" OM


Optometric Management, Issue: June 2009