Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Cranky Tour of the ER

Mr. Crank was in a minor motor vehicle accident with his grandson in the car. Both were our patients in urgent care.  "I'll do it myself," he snapped when the PA tried to help him into a gown, "but I need to go to the bathroom right now." His expression and tone of voice was pure insistence. He was the kind of person that wanted things done in his way, his time.

I wheeled him to the bathroom and helped him out of the wheelchair. He grumbled, and complained, but I soothed him by asking him about his family.

Mr. Crank's urine dipped positive for blood and he also had had several spinal fusions and felt pain in his lumbar back.  Due to all these criteria, we sent him back to the regular section of the Emergency Room.  "Throw him on a stretcher in the hallway. We can't deal with him now," said Triage Nurse Cranky right in front of Mr. Crank.  "Throw me in the hallway, eh?" he grumbled. "Well now, Mr. Crank," I appeased, "since you are going to have an x-ray anyway, let's go see if they're ready for you now so you don't have to wait."

I wheeled him to x-ray where x-ray tech Crankier with whom I have a friendship accepted Mr. Crank even though the orders weren't complete.  "Now you gotta get in a gown, Mr. Cranky. We don't got all day." He mumbled and began undressing. "Now what are you gonna do with all that stuff?" I volunteered to get a bag. When I came back, she was positioning him on a table. "Don't you roll back this way, stay still or we'll never be done. Hold it! Hold your breath!" I helped position him and distract him from his pain.  Yelled at and out-cranked by x-ray tech Crankier, Mr. Crank stayed quiet and followed instructions very nicely after that.

When I left him in the other section to return to urgent care, Mr. Crank thanked me for being his advocate in the face of nurse and x-ray crankiness.  He probably knew that he would have been neglected had he been "thrown in the hallway."

Later, I checked on the computer and Mr. Crank was transferred to critical care.  An hour later, I checked again and he was now a full-trauma.  Mistriaged, misdirected, and out-cranked.  What an ordeal for Mr. Crank!

When I left urgent care after closing down the section, I returned paperwork back to the main ER to see Mr. Crank sitting, discharged, outside valet parking in his wheelchair wearing a neck brace.  He called me by name and I sat with him until his son came by to pick him up.  He had received an unprecedented tour of our ER that day, but he turned out to be pretty mellow by the end. Mr. Crank proved to be only cranky as a stranger, but a gentleman with acquaintance.


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