Tuesday, October 21, 2008

BIG babies

I love working in the fast track area. I get to see lots of patients, usually end up fixing their problem and then sending them home. It’s a great feeling mostly because they don’t stay long enough to start grating my nerves. That however was not the case during my last shift. I got an extremely rude and entitled 40-ish year old guy who came in complaining of back pain. Of course he was in obvious pain but he was well looked after. He got 6 mg morphine IV push initially and got settled into the stretcher. And that’s when he started. “Maha, I still hurt. Do SOMETHING”. “Maha, get me another pillow”. “Maha, I’m thirsty again but I don’t want the pitcher of water. I just want the little cups for each sip with filtered or vitamin enhanced water”. “Maha, my IV feels weird. I think I need more pain meds. Didn’t I already tell you to do something?”

What I wanted to say to him was, “You just got 6 mg morphine half an hour ago. You’re not getting any more from me for a while even though I’d love to see your respirations drop at this point. We’re severely short on pillows so thank your lucky stars that I rummaged all around the unit to get you one while the doc was getting pissed at me for not helping out more quickly for a conscious sedation as well as having to look after 10 other people. NO you can’t get a fresh new paper cup for each little sip of filtered and/or vitamin enhanced water you inconsiderate jerk! It’s bad for the environment and look around you – this isn’t a 5 star restaurant and I’m not your waitress here to kiss your monkey ass so you’re getting the giant pitcher with good ol’ ice water! If you keep picking at that damn IV I swear I’ll use a 16 gauge in the smallest vein you’ve got and then smack your dumb ass with the IV basket before giving you more meds!”

What I ended up saying was, “Sir, you can’t get more morphine for at least another 2 hours. Try deep breathing instead. Unfortunately we don’t have any more clean pillows on the unit. We’re an environmentally conscious hospital so we try not to create unnecessary waste. And the government does not give us enough money to buy vitamin enhanced water – we usually spend our money on equipment and medications. Please stop picking at your IV because if it comes out, we’re going to have to re-site it which as you know hurts.”

Not to be a total bitch about pain (because it hurts after all) but it’s really irritating to see people in moderate amount of pain being assholes making idiotic demands while someone in unimaginable pain thanks you profusely for everything you’re doing for them while suppressing a sob. Needless to say I wheeled him out after his discharge with a huge smile.

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