Friday, May 22, 2015

This Will Hurt

A patient came to the front desk and said, "Nothing's really wrong with me but my wife made me come in. I took about eight Sudafed, and my chest feels a little funny."

No shit your chest feels funny. Your pulse is 211. Also, your fingernails are blue. Come sit right here while we stick these electrodes on you.

Have you ever heard of a Joule? No? Well, you're about to receive a hundred of them.

When you hear the word, "Clear!" you'll want to brace yourself.

Monday, May 11, 2015

I Need To Study More

When multiple patients arrive at once, we hand them little index cards and have them write down their reason for visiting. That helps us decide who gets to see the triage nurse first.

Today I picked up a registration card and couldn't figure out what it said. First letter S... squash? spill? Or maybe that's just a squiggle and it starts with a J, or a G... hmm. No idea.

I called the patient into the triage bay, sat her in the chair, and asked what brought her to the ER today. She said, "I have a problem with my squirrel."

Oh, that's what the card says, I thought. But that didn't clarify much. "Excuse me? Did you get bitten by a squirrel?"

"No. I said have a problem with my squirrel."

"Um... what kind of problem?"

"A squirrel problem."

"Say that again?" She did. I still heard the same thing. "I'm sorry, You are saying 'squirrel,' right? The animal that lives in trees?"

She looked at me like I was stupid. "Yeah."

"So, what happened with the squirrel?

She actually rolled her eyes. "I'm telling you I have a problem with my squirrel." And she pointed down at her lap.

The penny dropped. "Ah! I see. What symptoms are you having?"

"I fucking told you five fucking times already! A squirrel problem! Fuck, didn't you go to school for this shit?"

I guess not.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Happy Nurses' Week

I started last night with a wrestling match. EMS brought in a patient who was agitated, and aggressive, and started attacking staff. It took five people just to hold him still long enough to sedate him. He yelled insults and accusations the whole time, and I've got a nice bruise on my thigh where his boot caught me.

But who cares about that?

EMS also brought in a totally unresponsive patient in cardiac arrest. We did CPR, and intubated him, and pushed medications, and gave a series of escalating electrical shocks, and we got him back. By the time we sent him to ICU he had a strong pulse, his skin had changed from dusky blue-gray back to its normal pink, and he was even starting to wake up and look around.

Any day when a patient comes in dead and leaves alive is a good day.