THIS IS A DISCLAIMER: ALL SITUATIONS HAVE BEEN MODIFIED (BUT NOT EXAGGERATED) IN ORDER TO COMPLY WITH HIPAA LAWS. NO NAMES HAVE BEEN USED, AND ANY SIMILARITY TO YOUR MEDICAL SITUATION SHOULD NOT BE INFERRED. IF YOU THINK THIS IS YOU, THINK AGAIN. IT'S NOT.
It's Monday in the wee hours. I'm up, sitting on the patio, the breeze rustling the palm trees outside. The sun isn't up yet. The cafecito con leche is strong and sweet. My feet are up, and I'm in my flamingo jammies waiting for sleep to hit me. Bumby and my laptop compete for space on my lap.
I have survived the weekend. And NO......it's not what you think! oh that party animal mentality of some folks.....
You'd figure an 8 bed ER can't be THAT busy. THINK AGAIN.
Among the murky characters who traipsed in this weekend included: the drunk who screamed and put her whole hand down her throat, then complained of nausea. The guy on the floor writhing in pain, but was miraculously cured by Ketorolac within 2 minutes. The old man with flashbacks who claimed he was SPECIAL OPS and killed many people for hire. The triple amputee who screamed at the top of his lungs that HE COULDN'T BREATHE (but he could scream to rival any horror movie diva). The barely pubescent teen and her barely covered up mother who traipsed in at 4am in full club regalia with an STD to be treated. Not to mention the various head wounds, all big, all bloody, all taking hours to suture up (what is this, break a beer bottle over the head weekend?) and, if their behavior is any gauge of anything, probably well deserved. Multiple admissions. A few chopper rides out. Babies with diarrhea who have mothers who don't bring diapers. Or formula. Or juice. Or my personal all-time favorite, the Stadol Lady, who is addicted and comes in with withdrawal symptoms when she runs out.
I don't play around. People with chest pain or kidney stones or in respiratory distress get my attention. You're dying until you prove me otherwise. You'll get jumped on by the ER team swiftly and get stabilized. We get our fair share of nice, normal people who have things going wrong with them. Flu symptoms, lacerations, broken bones, eye injuries, fishhooks in the hand, dehydrated kids, asthmatic kids. People on vacation who get sick. LOTS of people on vacation who get sick. There are a lot of really sick people out there taking cruises to strange places who have such a level of infirmity that they shouldn't be allowed to go around the block at home. Where is the common sense?
But don't bullshit me. You don't come in one day rip-ass drunk, spend the night here sleeping it off because the homeless shelter won't take you (because you're rip-ass DRUNK) and then come in the next day saying you're both suicidal and have chest pain (both magical words for a warm bed and admission orders). You either have one or the other. Now CHOOSE. This isn't the damn Hilton. Don't ask me for food or drink after you throw up. Don't come asking to go into Detox just because you ran out of drugs and don't want to sleep in the mangroves. And don't ask to be admitted and transferred to Cedars-Sinai in LA just because you have chronic back pain and don't want to stay at home alone. Don't tell me you don't drink when you reek of booze ("eau de Key West" you can get high off the fumes alone) and don't tell me you don't do drugs when you have the veins of a junkie and the scabs to prove it.
We're formulating a theory that at least 75% of our patients can be cured with a prescription for Skittles.
Thank God I work with a wonderful crew. From the docs to my fellow RN's to the techs who can practically run the place, to our fast responding Life Flight chopper crew, to our highly efficient nursing supervisor: MY UNDYING GRATITUDE. Thanks for the help. Thanks for the laughs. Thanks for making the madness a collaborative effort.
I'm a changed woman. I don't think I'll ever be the same again. I've developed an odd sense of humor, with a heavy tinge of pathos and cynicism. I like it. It suits me well. I feel the Type-A-ness slipping from my shoulders. This is fun.......losing that brake from brain to mouth.
The problem is, what happens if I ever have to go back to work in the REAL WORLD?