Top Ten List of Gross Things I’ve Experienced

Don’t come to dinner with me and my girlfriends. We’re mostly nurses and we can gross you right under the table! This list was mostly inspired by this lovely group of ladies: Image

  1. Working the ER as a nursing student and taking care of a guy who shot himself in the knee with an air-gun. Not sure the gauge of the nail but it was BIG.
  2. Dropping dirty (I’m talking massive amounts of poo!) butt wipes into the toilet after helping a very obese patient cleanse herself. Unfortunately they don’t flush. I had to pull them out of an overflowing toilet. It was not awesome. And it almost made me quit nursing school.
  3. Helping another patient to the bathroom because he felt sick. Then watching in utter horror as he threw up about 4 quarts of bloody vomit. How much is 4 quarts, you ask? A gallon (like a big jug of milk). Or almost 4 Liters. It’s a frickin’ lot!!! 

    Just to make a point…it’s a lot!

  4. Sticking my hand into the black abyss, aka the garbage disposal, to figure out why it’s making that “funny noise”. There’s always some nasty little treat awaiting me. This one happens way too often and truly grosses me out. 
  5. That IV drug user that’s used up all his/her veins and started skin-popping. Only the needles were contaminated or the skin was dirty and so the person has raging MRSA (a bad infection that is resistant to common antibiotics–oh and is very contagious) all over his/her body. And I get to clean the wounds. Mmmmmm. 


  6. Answering my friend and coworker’s call light to find her patient confused and sitting straight up in bed, arm cocked back, ready to throw a fistful of poo. I should mention there was also poo, well, everywhere…the entire length of his body, hair, bed, siderails, call button… It was a specpoopular sight. 
  7. Temporary needle placement for prostate cancer brachytherapy. In English that means putting about 17-18 hollow needles in that special area between the scrotum and the anus (this is all done under anesthesia of course!) creating a porcupine effect on the prostate. The patient is then treated twice, about six hours apart, with high dose radiation therapy which goes into the needles (not painful). I got to be the one to take the needles out. Nothing like having your head between a guy’s legs…while pulling four sutures, and 17-18 ten inch needles out! 

    These are the real deal! The pointy ends go into the guy’s body up to about where the blue washer/disc thingy is…that’s…ouch!

  8. Doing a pelvic exam on a patient with the doctor and seeing, SEEING her cervical tumor poking out of her vajayjay. Get your PAP smears, ladies! And make those boys wear protection so you don’t get HPV! And for the love of gawd, if you haven’t had a period in a couple years and you suddenly start bleeding…hello! Go. To. The. Doctor.
  9. Waking to my cute kitten (about a year ago) meowing in my face. Awww, how sweet! He’s such a good little kitty… Wait, why is my arm wet? What is that smell?? He’d gotten an upset stomach, had crazy diarrhea, and because his hair is so long, it just got all over the place (and my arm and the comforter). “Brandon!!” 

    George Burns in all his kitten-cuteness! He was about 4 months old in this photo.

  10. The patient who was so obese she lost a sandwich in one of her pannus (abdominal folds). The sandwich eventually became moldy and resulted in a huge infection. Doing wound care on that was something else! I had to psych myself up and I was extremely thankful for those masks with the eye shields because I didn’t want her to see my eyes watering as I fought the urge to vomit.


Do you have any gross stories?? I’m always down to hear a good one!


13 thoughts on “Top Ten List of Gross Things I’ve Experienced

  1. #8 I second that. My 73 y/o mother when straight to the doctor. Surgery cured her and she didn’t need chemo or XRT. She learned from friends who ignored post-menopausal bleeding whose cancers progressed to the deadly stage IV

  2. I admire nurses who can mostly cope with all the gross-ness. As a medical Social Worker, I’ve seen most of this, but didn’t have to do it or clean it up! Yeah, #5…. that was a regular occurrence where I worked, though I didn’t have to do the dressings…I just had to find a nursing home that would take them for the IV abx! Yeah, #10…. only had one of those. The patient intentionally hid food there.

    • Oh my, you’re such a saint!! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to a patient/family member, “You know, I’m not really sure but let me introduce you to our lovely social worker. S/he will know what to do/where to go/etc. etc.!” It always felt like a cop-out but you SWs are AMAZING!!

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