As part of the ancillary nursing staff, the technician is a cover-all role for all the random and labor-intensive tasks of the emergency room. Being a tech is one of the most interesting and difficult jobs one can have and I hope you enjoy my stories from the bottom of the healthcare ladder at a busy city ER.
HIPAA: None of the names I use are those of real patients.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Mondays are Crazy
I look at the chart. Chief Complaint: Pt states that the facility staff is Hitler and is trying to kill her.
I look at the patient: A heavy-set woman reading the Holy Bible out loud.
I walked by her bed in the hallway...
Ms. E: Hey Nurse!! Can you come here?
S: Sure... What's going on?
Ms. E pulls up her shirt. DOES THIS LOOK PREGNANT TO YOU??
S: I can't see by just looking. They'd have to look inside or you could give us a urine sample.
Ms. E: Ok. Can you look anyway?
S: Ms. E, let's pull that shirt back down. There are gentlemen around here!
Ms. E: Oh, ok! I'm sorry. I didn't realize. I don't want to scare anybody with my ugly body.
S: No, no, not ugly. They just don't expect to see it, that's all.
Ms. E: Not even in the emergency room??
S: Oh no, usually that happens behind closed curtains.
Ms. E: Ok! Thanks!
I walked by again, Ms. E is pulling up her shirt, scratching on her chest.
S: Ms. E, what are you doing?
Ms E: I gotta rash! One is between my legs and the other is under my breasts. Can you take a look for me?
S: I'm not a doctor, I'm sorry- can you let him know that when he walks by next?
Ms. E: Oh, Ok ok. But can you just feel it for me? The one between my legs is real bad. I want you to feel it.
S: How about I just let your doctor know now? I'll grab you a blanket too.
Ms. E: Ok! That way I can cover up when I scratch! You know (looks around) for the gentlemen around.
While taking vital signs:
S: Are you feeling pain right now, Miss Exhibitionist?
Ms. E: That's Exjhibitionistahh, but yes, only a little.
S: Ok, so on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the worst pain you've ever felt in the world, how much do you feel?
Ms. E: TWENTY-BILLION.
S: (Ok, I'll round down and say 10)...
Ms. E: Nurse, nurse! Can you help me?
S: What can I do for you?
Ms. E: Last time I was here, I brought a book called The End of Everything. Something like that. I left it upstairs. I was wondering if you could go up and find it for me.
S: I'm sorry, I don't think I can leave here. But what floor were you on?
Ms. E: I don't remember. Not even a lost and found?
S: There are lots of floors and lost and founds...
Ms. E's eyes start welling up with tears
S: But you have a book with you today, where is it?
Ms. E had clutched her bible close to her chest.
S: That's your bible, isn't it?
She smiles and nods.
S: You keep it close to your heart?
Ms. E: It is the good book.
I patted her on the shoulder and she seemed temporarily contented, flipping through her bible once more.
Suddnely, I hear a wail:
BUT WHAT IF I'M PREGNANT????
Doctor: We won't be doing an ultrasound. It's unnecessary.
Ms. E: BUT I WANT AN ULTRASOUND. There are babies in there!!
Doctor: We can figure out the same thing by urine.
Ms. E: Oh, ok. But I can't pee!!!
But after asking nicely, she was fine peeing into the cup.
Ms. E: (cheerfully) I'm paranoid-schizophrenic, you know. Thank you for everything! Here's the cup.
She had such a childlike innocence and I liked her. I hope they figure out what is going on with her.