Thursday, January 13, 2005

Medical Mishaps

A 9 year old boy came in today. Well, his mother did. He sat in the car in too much pain, couldn't move without his shoulder hurting so badly. The doctors are tied up, can't disturb them yet. So, I'm standing outside the closed door of the nurse's room, calling to her through the door. She comes back with "do you really really need me right now?" I say "nah, it's ok, don't worry about it, I'll get it sorted". I go back to the front desk, check the schedule. The nurse is actually in the midst of performing a cervical smear...and I'm yelling at her through the door...the patient was probably lying back with her legs spread trying to pretend the nurse wasn't calling into her fanny....not a good look for public relations.

Eventually, the doctor comes bounding out to collect his patient (he's always so enthusiastic when they're this age, I recall him saying to me once "do you know what the average age of my patient's today was?? 92..that's right, 92". Ever since then I have endeavoured to make sure that I give him some younguns to bring that average down)..anyway, he comes rushing out to welcome this young patient, and I yell out from behind the desk "Don't touch him!" Him being the eager beaver that he is for this young man, would likely reach out and grab him before realising the poor lad was flinching any time his mum even looked at his shoulder.

Some of the things I get to hear over the phone are not exactly what I'm ready for. In some surgeries the nurses actually answer the phones as well, and some of our patients think that's the same for us. Not so. At 8am on a Thursday morning, I'm afraid I'm just not ready to be hearing that a 45 year old man has been to the toilet that morning and noticed blood on his toilet paper. I'm not ready to hear a 22 year old male telling me his girlfriend has thrown his pills into the fire because they give him erectile disfunction...and I'm certainly not ready to hear that one of our psychiatric patients has a boil on his anus and wants me and only me to inspect it at close range.

Add that to arguing with the 94 year old the day before about money and I'm ready to run out the door at the end of my shift. I must also add, that yesterday I told you I was talking 'softly' but firmly with him. Let me advise...there really is no way to talk softly to a 94 year old...you kinda have to yell at them...otherwise they can't hear you.

A few weeks ago, a mother, clutching a 9 month old infant, pulling a 4 year old behind her, came running in the door, while a friend carried her daughter to the treatment room. She was almost 3 years old, blood all over her hands, all over her mouth and down her neck, good sized bruise in the shape of an egg on her forehead. She was gorgeous...long blonde hair, huge blue eyes....completely calm while the nurse tried to clean her up so the doctor could see the extent of her injuries.
15 minutes later Dad came rushing in the door, frightened expression after receiving a distraught cellphone call from his wife.

I went into see her just before I left....she was lying on her back, eyes rolling up into her head and they were all doing their best to keep her awake. The ambulance pulled up outside as I stepped out the door for home. I spent the entire time driving home fighting the urge to cry.

I really do love my job, but there are certainly some days more difficult than others to deal with.

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