Thursday, February 24, 2011

Not ALL Emergencies Are Emergencies! An Interview With My Bro

First of all, let's introduce you!
This is my brother.
I asked him to send me a picture (preferably one that doesn't look like Charles Manson)
Evidently, that was too much to ask.

I'd like to say how wonderful my brother is and how he graduated from med school at 37 but I really want to get to the interesting stuff.

So you graduated med school and now what are you doing?
"I'm an Emergency Medicine Resident in Chicago."

How long is your residency?
"It's 3 years if I'm not remediated for losing professional points.  The residents in my program go to four main hospitals including a trauma 1 center, a teaching hospital, community hospital and suburban hospital.  We go to another 5 hospitals for other things.  The first year, we spend 50% of our time in the ER and the other 50% in other departments where we need to have knowledge - cardiac, ob gyn, orthopedics, pediatrics, etc."

So, I want you to tell everyone about the lady on the scooter.
Oh geez.......I just sounded like mom!
She always says "Tell about the time!  Tell about the time!"

Anyway.........tell us about the Lady and the Hoveround!
"'re going to have to remind me.  I treat people every day on government subsidized scooters."

Oh and by the way - this is a family friendly kind of blog.  So leave out any f words
"That's gonna be hard but I'll try.

So it was late, like 3 in the morning and it's always interesting what you see at 3 or 4 in the morning. You would think that if someone is sick enough to come into the ER at that time, they would be pretty sick...but that's not always the case.
I don't want to ruin my image as a glamourous life-saving doctor, but we get a lot of 'non emergencies' or 'non life-threatening' cases.

When I'm assigned a case, I like to go into the patient's room fairly quickly just in case someone really is having an emergency.  It's rare.  But I want to make sure.

When we come out of the room, we say 'sick' or 'not sick' to the attending."
Really?  You really say that?

After checking in on this lady, I reported: 'definitely not sick. But on a different level - very sick.'

When we're assigned a new patient, the computer shows their name and age and then has a tiny space for their chief complaint.
Like it could say - 'dog vs. pedestrian,' 'vag bleed,' - oh shoot this is family friendly.  Sorry.
On hers, it said - 'complex medical problems, NOT.' "

It said that?  Really?
"You have to understand that the night shift is made up of rogues, bad news bears.  I think KISS wrote a song about that - sleep all day and party all night. It's a different breed, which is why I like working the night shift better.
(He would!)

So I go in the room and she is, in the business, we call it morbidly obese.
She is suffering from Pickwickian Syndrome which is respiratory distress due to obesity.

I looked around and didn't see anyone with her, so I asked her,
'How did you get here tonight?'

She answers in a thick accent
'On my Hoveroun'!'
'You drove here at 3 in the morning on your Hoveround?'
'Mmmmm hmmmm....and you'll be proud to know that on the way here, I smoked my LAST cigarette.'
'Of course you did.  So you smoke.  How long have you been smoking?'
'Since I was 9.'
'And what is your chief complaint?'
'Well, I can't sleep and I can't breathe and my leg hurts and I gots this problem with my....'
'Whoa. Whoa.  Just one thing.  What was the life threatening thing that brought you in tonight?'
'Well, I jus felt winded and couldn't fall asleep.'

I told her that a large consumption of nicotine and Red Bull will make it hard for anybody to go to sleep

I could see that there was nothing acute going on and there certainly was nothing cute about it.
But I can't send her home.
If something happened, we would get sued for not taking her seriously.
I told her we would run some tests.

A few minutes after I stepped out of the room to write up orders for the tests, the nurse asked me if the patient in 18 could go out for a smoke break.
So much for that last cigarette.

Then, she started hassling the nurses saying, 'I be needin some food, and somethin to drink, warm blankets and somethin for my pain.'
Pain?  She never mentioned pain!

Basically, she wanted 3 hots and a cot or in her case, 10 hots and a cot.
We checked her out and released her.
The receptionist saw her unchain her scooter from a tree and light up.

That's pretty typical."

Thanks for sharing that fascinating case with us doctor!
He has more.  We spent the next 30 minutes talking about the lady with a 18 year belly ache, a man who ODed on Ativan and then got mad when there wasn't any more, so he drank the Cascade dish soap, and the man who "accidentally" sat on a wrench while working on his motorcycle naked.  I had to hang up because my stomach hurt.


Joy For Your Journey said...

Okay that was pretty funny, but I am certainly going to re-think any trips I might take to an emergency room!! :-) I will be sure to be really sick--or at least make it sound like I am. :-)

Raven said...

That's hilarious! Your bro is funny (and cute).

Donna said...

This was pretty funny to read. What a nutty woman! Doctors must see the strangest things and the strangest people ever!

Danelle said...

I'm speechless. More about the wrench than the woman on the scooter. Maybe I'll start interviewing my pharmacist brother. His stories aren't quite as good, but there was the lady who forged a prescription and blamed it on her 7 year old daughter.

Danelle said...

Oh, and can you please ask your brother if that lady had a flashing light/siren for her scooter. You know, to make sure the people walking on the sidewalk "pull over" and get out of her way.

Julianna said...

I have a friend who is a fireman and Paramedic. The stories he tells... Holy Heaven!

Dysfunctional Mom said...

I so agree about night shifters at a hospital being a rare breed. Strange and wonderful! I bet he never underestimates the power (and craziness) of a full moon.