The sixth-floor inpatient medical ward, a normally bustling wing of the J. Hoffa Memorial Hospital, became decidedly more somber today. The etiology lay in room 605, where a culture-proven case of C. difficile enterocolitis was ravaging the shortened bowels of Ms. Vivian Harris, 39, a decades-long victim of Munchausen syndrome. The door to Ms. Harris’ room, swathed in isolation tape and flanked with overflowing bins of used isolation gowns, remained uncharacteristically closed as a sign of the patient’s mourning of her current state of health.
“I’m devastated,” Ms. Harris lamented as a food services worker entered her room to deliver her lunch tray. “All these years of visiting doctor after doctor, hospital after hospital in the tri-state area, trying desperately to share my mysterious illnesses with world-renowned experts…enduring countless invasive procedures in the hopes of remaining the most enigmatic patient that the medical community has ever seen…all for nothing!”
Ms. Harris grimaced after being told that today’s clear fluids entrée was beef broth with lime Jell-O for dessert. “Even I can’t make that look like convincing vomit,” she groused, pushing her tray aside. “Not only that, but they’ve put me in diapers because I can’t muster the strength to make it to the bathroom; otherwise, I’d have tried saving a bit of my own blend to inject into my IV whenever the staff starts throwing the word “discharge” around.” The patient began adjusting the piles of stuffed animals in her bed before pulling the blankets over her head. “Nurse Ratched will be coming any minute now, trying to force Vancomyin down my throat. Probably better that you don’t stick around.”
Dr. Jeff Wright, the oft-harangued internal medicine resident who has been saddled with Ms. Harris’ care since her admission last month, was discovered napping in a storage closet at the end of the hall. When asked to comment on the gravity of the situation, Dr. Wright responded – without needing to open his eyes – that he has never before seen a patient so literally and figuratively full of sh**, and that he’d get on that psych consult request right away.