Monday, July 26, 2010

It's only a job

This is my new mantra. Over and over I will repeat to myself : It's only a job, it's only a job, it's only a job, IT'S ONLY A JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is not helping.

I feel as if I should be writing my EMT Internship blog instead.

I had a bad feeling that today would not be wonderful. The sort of bad feeling that plagues you, the sort where you know that the day will not be all flowers and butterflies.

At the hospital, we collect insurance cards for insurance purposes.

The players:
Co-worker A
Patient B

There we are, it's a semi busy day. Sick and injured people are rolling in left and right. Today, no one is training me, so I'm about 95% running solo. Co-worker A supposedly (pay attention here to the word "supposedly") gives me Patient B's insurance card and license to make sure that his information is properly entered into the computer while Co-worker A goes off and talks to the supervisor about a previous patient's account that has been messed up (good indicator here that there is impending doom)

Well, a good while passes and soon enough Patient B is ready to go home. It is customary to give back ones insurance card when they are leaving, but wouldn't you know, Patients B's insurance card and license are gone. As in vanished. As in disappeared. As in....lost.

Co-worker A immediately turns to me and begins a barrage of questioning:
"what did you do with the cards?" (nothing)
"is it in your pockets?" (negative)
"did you give them back to the wrong patient?" (impossible)

And then, reverting back to my child hood days:
"I want you to sit down and think about where you could have placed it"

Deeming that I have not thought enough about where the cards could be, she then tells to sit and really think about where it could be.

Wracking my mind, I am desperately trying to think if I ever even saw the cards and if I did, what the heck I could have done with them. The ED is only so big. Insurance and license cards don't just up and vanish.

The situation turning drastic. Co-worker A calls our boss. Could this get any better?!?

In she comes. Co-worker is telling another Co-worker of my immense failure, but turns and tells me to tell our boss "what's going on". (as if there were a hostage situation at hand or something of that immense caliber)

She instructs us to tell Patient B that we're looking and an insane search of the department begins. Again. Co-worker A keeps telling me that I must have done something with the cards. Meanwhile, we're all searching through the trash, paper shredder, behind computers, exam rooms. Everywhere.

Then my boss calls me, and says at long last the cards have been found in a folder that is kept under a cabinet.

Guess who did it. NOT ME!! No, it was CO-WORKER A who took the cards and put them mistakenly in the WRONG FOLDER.

My boss felt so bad she hugged me. Co-worker A tried to apologize, and while I accept it, all the apologies in the world won't help me forget what happened, and from now on have a healthy distrust towards Co-worker A.

It's only a job.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

If I only had a brain

I've been spending a lot of time learning everything there is to know at the Emergency Department. My wee brain has been jammed packed with information these last two weeks. I mean, I have spent hours in a little room with no windows learning a computer system, yet when I am faced with real life patients and real life emergencies, I feel as if I am moving in slow motion as I try to search my brain for information. Sometimes it comes, others, it does not. (It's getting better)

Today, I hear that a patient has been brought in via ambulance, and my supervisor tells me to come with her to watch the situation unfold.

Before me is a woman gasping in pain, trying to hold back tears. I quickly gather from her and the Paramedic who brought her in that she fell while hiking and is in desperate pain. Her right ankle is propped up, and as we gather information from her, all I can think is that she looks vaguely familiar. Suddenly, it pops to mind, shortly before she tells us her name.

Her husband is the one who gave me my beloved laptop. Why of course! I realize that I live in a small town, but come on....

Imagine how funny it then is when Mr. Laptop comes in. Hugs were shared, smiles were exchanged, and then I lead him to his wife's room and quietly mind my business for the rest of their visit. Turns out, her ankle was very broken and she had to go to surgery today.

I'm remembering once more the exhilarating feeling that comes when an emergency walks through the door. I love helping people get out of their cars, though the whole situation of them being in agony isn't thrilling for them, for me it's a whole experience, it's something to capture, hold on to, try and figure out what's going on with them and what's going to make them feel better.

At the same time though, it makes me really miss the hospital I did my Internship at. The ED I work in is like a super scaled down version of what I had become so accustomed to. However, it's a job, and it's a really good one.

Today alone, I saw:
  • A man in a motorcycle wreck
  • An asthma attack
  • A man who fell while rock climbing and walked in the door with a very bloody face
  • A child who fell and needed some stitches
  • An ankle break (cool x-ray!!)
  • Sprained knee
  • Severe lower right quadrant pain (hello appendicitis!!)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Converse and Conversations

Two for one today!

Two things you should know about me: I love the color purple and I love my purple converse shoes. ------------------->

I went down to Fort Collins today. As I'm standing in line at the store, with my items in tow, the elderly man ahead of me turns around and asks how I am doing. I respond that I am doing well.

He then proceeds to tell me about his son, who is a musician in California. My thoughts go on panic mode as I begin to process in my mind all of the horrible things people have said to before when bringing up their children. He then begins talking about how his son absolutely loves Converse shoes, and whenever he comes to visit him, they must go out to buy another pair.

I agree that the shoes are indeed wonderful. He comments that he has not seen many purple pairs around. I tell him, yes, that is correct, but man do I love my shoes. The checker continues to run his items through the scanner, listening to everything we say, whilst there is a growing line behind us.

He stops talking. I breathe easy. Then he asks, while stepping rather close to me:
"How old are you?"

I respond with my age.

He tells me that his son is fifty one (insert scream here) then he tells me that sadly, his grandchildren are also too old for me.

Then he shimmy's up even closer and tells me proudly:
"I'm eighty!"

And how do you respond to that? I feign shock and tell him, who knew, I'd never guess his age.

After wishing me a great day, he is on his way. Thank the good Lord.

I really don't like shoe salesmen. I find them to be annoying. They follow you around, pester you, and push you to buy their shoes. I on the other hand, like to browse. Yes, I am in the market for new shoes, but when my rolly poly salesman came up to me, I was subjected to a man who liked to converse and who was so large in size that once he sat down, he would not move until absolutely necessary.

After giving me shoes to try on, he asked if I am a Nurse (perhaps you can tell what profession one is in by the shoes they are buying) I respond that I am working my way into it.

He goes on to tell the tale of a friend of his who is a surgical nurse, who back in the "days of disco" took care of a man who broke his leg while boogying on the dance floor.

My salesman goes on to tell me that this man with the broken leg was adamant that the staff not take off his pants, no matter what. They then drugged him and discovered the reason why he was struggling with all his might with the staff.

He had taped, within his inner leg a "summer sausage", to "give him more bulge".


Why, tell me WHY any person, let alone a complete stranger would think it okay to share this story?

Not okay. Totally awkward. No, no, no.


Friday, July 2, 2010

All Wrong

There's this client who has come into the clinic for awhile now, and I always get stuck helping him. He's one of those men that makes a young woman uncomfortable. The kind who flirts with you in a round-about way, the kind who stares at you creepily, the kind who just comes across as too friendly.

He comes in today and asks me to refill his dog's medication. No problem, right? But because his dog is taking a steroid that needs to be used with great caution (as in, not giving him too much, not giving him too little, and not stopping it suddenly) I had to ask him a few questions first.

He answered, I say thanks, and go on my way to fill the prescription. And then, oh then he says: "Wait. I have a question for you."

Let's stop here a moment, and let me ask you a question: When someone says they have a question for you, how do you respond? You turn to the question asker and respond in formal fashion, giving them indication that you would like to hear the question at hand, right?

I do just that, in my normal, (or what I thought was normal up until today) voice, and he says:

"Whoa!! Not that kind of question!"

What?!? Please. This man is infinitely older than I am, shorter than I am, has long hair (yet is balding...lame look) and gives me the creeps.