Saturday, June 11, 2011


There's a young woman we see often in the ED. She has spina bifida and is in a wheelchair, and also has problems with migrane headaches and urinary tract infections. She’s' a pretty frequent user of the ER, but she's just so darn pleasant and easy to care for that we really don't mind.

Sometimes our familiarity with her makes us forget her disability. I'm sure that's what she would want. But I wonder if it she caught it when the unit clerk out front asked her to "Take a seat in the Waiting Room, and we'll be right with you," or when I said after finishing her care, "Let me do some paperwork, and we'll get you rolling." Ouch.


While I wear black scrubs, and most male nurses and techs wear solid colors, women will often wear scrubs with different prints and designs on them to add a bit of color to their working lives. This is why one of the ER nurses was wearing a scrub top with a collage of squares from Monopoly. Given that I have no internal filter, it was a given that at some point...specifically 9:28 on a recent Sunday night...I would ask if it meant anything that the square for Community chest was located atop the left breast, while the one for Luxury Tax was over the right. No telling if there are any strategically placed "Go," "Chance," or "Go to Jail" spaces elsewhere in the print.


We're able to hear the calls that go out from the County Dispatch Center to our local fire, police, and EMS services. Here are three calls out in the past week, literally transcribed:

"Medical Emergency. A woman says a light bulb fell on her head."

(Hearing this, one of nurse remarked, "It must have been a bad idea." She was transported to the hospital at her request, found to be exceptionally whiny, and discharged with alacrity.)

"Medical Emergency. Man is slumped over the steering wheel of his car beside the exit ramp."

(Turned out he was asleep, and none too happy at being awakened. At least when I sleep on the side of the road, I lean the seat all the way back so they can't see the body. If they think it's just an abandoned car, I'm not disturbed.)

"Medical Emergency. Man found unresponsive on the front porch. Pizza delivery found the patient, not sure if he was breathing. They left the pizza and called from a different location."

(There's a way to get free food...feign death. On arrival the EMS crew woke the patient, who refused care. He did not refuse the pizza.)

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