“Take a deep breath and let it out….. Ok, again….” I was leaning over patient’s bed listening to her chest. Done with the back, I moved to the front. The poor woman looked truly miserable. Her gray hair frizzed about her head in a silver halo of sorts. I felt awful for her. “Again. Good…. One last time…”
There was a terrible rattling and wheezing, worse in the left lower lobe consistent with her X-ray. I gave myself an imaginary congratulatory high five for my superior diagnostic exam skills.
At that moment, as I was pulling away, she coughed a deep hacking wet cough that shook her entire body. I watched in slow motion as the biggest yellow loogie I had ever seen flew from her mouth toward my left shoulder. I tried to move out of the way but I was too slow.
So much for Matrix ninja moves…
Right on my white clinic coat.
Sputum from a truly bad pneumonia smells awful but add in the hyperactive pregnancy sniffer and it turns into a very potent stink bomb. I started gagging. I had never actually vomited from a smell before but I had also never been pregnant before. I could feel breakfast rising rapidly in my esophagus.
Generally, puking on a patient while on rounds is frowned upon, pregnant or not, so I dashed out of the room and down the hall while I tore off the soiled clinic coat. I was in a hurry but I was careful not to dislodge the gooey glob of mucus, or so I thought, leaving the whole mess in the floor in the hallway. I was choking back the bilious vomit, a cold sweat broke out on my face and hands. I flew to the bathroom and retched in there.
So much for breakfast.
I flushed the toilet and turned to the sink to wash my hands when a strand of damp hair slapped against my cheek and stuck there. I reached up to pull it away.
Eeeeew. Puke in my hair!
Only, it wasn’t puke.
And that is my worst body fluid experience of my career thus far. I have been peed on, pooped on, and puked on. I have been squirted with blood and pus and semen (do NOT ask). But nothing, nothing has ever compared to getting sputum in my hair while pregnant. Thank you Domesticated Momster for asking the question that made me relive that…. I can still smell it.