Friday, March 5, 2010
A particularly vicious strain of gastro is making its rounds in my ER and most of the staff has taken time off to puke and shit their guts out. Charming, I know. Being one of the only healthy staff members left, I got a call asking if I’d be willing to work two overtime shifts. I readily agreed, not because I LOooOoOove my work, but because student loans are a bitch to pay back. The first shift was a regular run of the mill shift – drug seekers, some legitimately sick people, more drug seekers and a few hypochondriacs. The second shift was pretty much the same except for when a 70 something year old gentleman was brought to the ER. I greatly respect the particular triage nurse who was working that day so when he said that he suspected elder abuse, I was immediately alarmed. Sure enough, the man had multiple bruises in various stages of healing and he had the demeanor of a man humiliated and frightened. I called the social worker to assess the situation and tried to stay by his side in case he wanted to talk. An hour later, his wife arrived and asked if she could have a few moments alone with him. And that’s when I heard swearing that would make a sailor blush. Turns out his wife had caught him watching porn multiple times and this time she used his cane to beat him rather than her bare fists of fury. Most days it’s a privilege to be to able to peek inside other’s lives so closely – other days, I’m just left shaking my head as I head towards my latte.