Saturday, July 09, 2011

the unspoken thoughts of an ER nurse

I don't say what I'm thinking when you roll through the door, walk in the room. The minute I hear what is wrong with you, I am already thinking about what is coming next, because I can predict it, its not that difficult. I know what the doctor will order.

I dread the old woman with weakness, dizziness because I know you will get the $10,000 work up. One of my first thoughts is whether I'm an going to have to cath you for a urine or can you go on your own?

Got vaginal bleeding? My first thought is are you pregnant? Are you having a miscarriage and will I have to assist with a vaccuum curretage (D and C)? Not a procedure that is fun for anyone. Sad for all around. Why does the machine have to sound so horrible during the procedure? Makes it so much worse for the patient.

Decided that today is the day you don't want to live any longer? Took an overdose of pills? My immediate thought is how long ago did you take it? If it was within the last 1-2 hours I might have to lavage you (pump your stomach). A messy, unpleasant experience for you and me. If we avoid avoid getting the liquid charcoal (a gooey black substance) into you without a major mess, I consider it a good day.

Been drinking and 1) been in a fight 2) worried about going through withdrawal 3) decided today is the day you need help with your problem? I know you won't be staying. My first thought? Do you have a ride home? Can someone come and get you? You aren't going home on your own if you are drunk. If you don't have a ride, I have to see if there is a detox bed, which there probably isn't. No detox bed, you are with me until you sober up. Oh joy.

Been doing crack and now you have chest pain? I am gritting my teeth when I go in and put you on the monitor, get an EKG, etc etc etc. You see, you will be treated like any other chest pain patient with all the bells and whistles, even though you created this situation by your stupid behavior. Chances are you are scared shitless because people like you usually are in this situation. Thousands will be spent on you at taxpayers expense to determine if you have damaged your heart. You take up a bed in the ER for hours with your foolishness and there's nothing we can do about it.

These are the unspoken thoughts of an ER nurse.


Nurse K said...

Re: Weak/confused LOLs: I straight cath 'em all right after I get the vitals. Saves a lot of time. All their samples are contaminated if they're not cathed.

Barb said...

Well said. ER work has also sharpened my ability to apply the "smell test". When I hear a story about anyone, with a symptom, condition, as result of a situation, I can tell if it's bull before they finish their sentence, including what ACTUALLY happened. Because...we see it all the time.