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, August 16, 2011
The Little Old Man Who Said He Could
Mr. Wobbly came in from a nursing home. His cheeks were hale, he was wearing big sneakers, he seemed mostly with it... So when he said he had to go to the bathroom, I said, ok, let me wheel you somewhere private with a urinal. Oh, no, he exclaimed. Ahh- he had to go #2.
"Sir, can you walk?"
"Of course I can! I can walk."
"Can you walk well?"
I had a feeling he needed assistance, so I wheeled him to the bathroom. He stared at me.
"Do you want me to help move your legs?"
"Yes. That would be nice."
I swung his legs over the side of the bed. He stared at me expectantly.
"Do you need me to pull you up?"
I pulled his hands so he could stand. His legs were very, very wobbly. I had half a mind to wheel him right back and put him on a bedpan, but he was elated at his success (probably at having manipulated me into giving him his way), so I made up my mind to let him enjoy his moment and catch him should he fall. With my two hands guiding his, I pulled him step by wobbly step to the toilet, where I put his hands on the guiding bars. Carefully, we bent him over so he could sit down.
Silently, I was worrying if he'd ever be able to get up. Call me if you need me, my name is S- I told him before I closed the door behind me. Presently, I heard him calling, and went back inside.
I pulled on his hands to help him back up to no avail.
I pulled after a countdown, but his legs wouldn't hold him up.
Finally, I bent my legs and put my arms around his ample waist and lifted him. He couldn't stay standing.
Worried, I tried one last time, lifting him up- 200lb of dead weight, before he could stay standing long enough for me to pull his pants up and start guiding him back to his bed.
The whole ordeal took me about half-an-hour on a day we had 27 patients for an area that only is supposed to treat 18. Oh Mondays...
Mr. Wobbly just made it to his bed when the transporter came to take him upstairs to his admitted hospital bed. Poor guy- the next time he needs to use the bathroom, I hope there is someone out there who will take the time to help him walk. He is right on the cusp of no longer walking around- the edge of ambulatory- the cliff of losing what little freedom he has left.