I'm usually pretty calm, cool and collected. 99% of the time, I meet angry outbursts and nonsensical complaining with a smile and a quick explanation of why this lab or that treatment has to be done, or why things are taking so long. But, there's always that 1% that just takes the p*ss out of me and I have to let them have it. It usually doesn't help the situation, because the recipient is too stupid to understand what's going on, but I feel better for doing it.
Had a really drunk guy that came in the other day. Chief complaint was an abscess. First of all, who the heck gets drunk and says, "Hey, ya know what'd be really awesome to do while drunk? Going to the ER for something stupid!"?? Anyway, the ER was busy and he wasn't satisfied with the wait, so after an hour in the lobby he says he has chest pain.
He gets taken back, gets a chest pain workup, and then his O2 sat starts alarming because he's moving around too much (I'm watching him on the monitor when it goes off). He hits the call light.
Me: "Can I help you?"
Him: "Hey, this machine's beeping in here!"
Me: "It's fine. We have a monitor out here and it beeps whenever your machine beeps in your room. We're keeping an eye on everything."
Him: "Well, you need to send someone in here because I can't handle all this d*mn beeping!"
... So, I go into the room. As SOON as I open the door:
Him: "Hey, man! This d*mn machine keeps beeping! You need to do something about it!"
Me: "It's fine" (walking toward the monitor)
Him: "Well, I can't handle it!"
Me: "Can't handle what?"
Him: "All this d*mn beeping! I can't handle it!"
Me: "You can't handle a machine beeping? You're supposed to be a grown man and you can't handle beeping?"
Him: "Well... I... it's unnecessary! I can't handle all this unnecessary beeping!"
I turn the alarm off on the monitor (it will still alarm at the nurse's station) and as I'm walking out the door, I say, "Well, if you can't handle that, you're going to have a looooonnnng day today".
What's even more funny is that his friend (who was such a belligerent drunk that he almost had the police called on him in the ER prior to my shift) came back into the ER about 4 hours after he was discharged, complaining that he had back pain. He changed his clothes while he was gone, hoping that we wouldn't recognize him.
There are some really... special people out there.