Friday, May 7, 2010

I Have to Get Home

Another week gone by and another set of shifts done and over with. The theme of complaints this week was “I didn’t know it was going to take so long – I have a baby/young child/sick husband/dog/cat/parrot/gerbil that I can’t leave alone for much longer. How much longer do I have to wait?” For the most part I’m quite sympathetic to caregivers who are worried about their loved ones left at home and I do try to get them seen faster IF possible but I can’t be rushing doctors out of resus rooms just so someone can get the script they want and go along their merry way. A particularly memorable family asked me, “Don’t you people care that my sister has a baby at home?” Well, unless the baby is in imminent danger at home, I actually don’t care. Everyone would rather be elsewhere but guess what? For one reason or another they’re in emergency and everyone will get seen when it’s their turn.

Yet another guy with positive peritoneal signs and excruciating pain kept ringing the call bell (how they manage to find the call bell tucked away in a crevice and not the bathroom right in front of them is truly a mind-boggling phenomenon) and asking how much longer he would have to stay because he has a dog and a cat at home that he can’t leave alone for much longer. I don’t know what part of “you may need surgery tonight” was not sinking in. I offered to call his friends on his behalf to get them to take care of his pets but all he wanted to do was to leave before the night was over. Sorry buddy – not gonna happen unless you understand that you might DIE if you leave the hospital.

Maybe I’m becoming a little bit more crusty as time goes on, but I’m finding it harder and harder not to snap at people who think that the ER is their personal drive thru and I’m personally responsible for the volume, accuity and wait times of the ER.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are definitely just getting more crusty.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

To quote from my Bible ("Kill as few patients are possible"):

"Nurses are like a loaf of French bread. The crustier, the better."

David said...

As a floor nurse we are maids, waitresses and servants, that is what patients think these days anyway. There is a call light can you get me another pillow, or I need more ice. Forget that post-op patient in pain I want my lunch warmed up, or I will tell the patient advocate.
It is really hard not to snap at people sometimes.

StorytellERdoc said...

I, too, laughed at the crusty comment. Maha, as long as you are serving the public, I'll take a double quarter pounder, large fries, and a diet coke. Oh yeah, supersize that please. And, what the hell, two apple pies. Thank you.

Have a great weekend, my friend!

Albinoblackbear said...

On of the awesome crustacean nurses I used to work with liked to tell people "this ain't a one hour photo lab or a drive through window".

I think once you get over 50 you can say what you want and not have to worry about getting fired. :)

I feel bad for new moms who have babies at home but other than that. Meh. What is the worst pet thing that is going to happen? They're going to eat your favorite loafers and shit in your closet after they destroy your 3 ft. jade plant. Life for everyone goes on.

And if they are a cat they might ignore you for a little longer than usual when you get home.

:)

I just tell people that I haven't eaten or been let out to pee for more than 10h either and I'm fine. (It actually works sometimes...)

midwest woman said...

funny you posted this...discharged someone whose wife was all in a tizz because they had to wait 30 minutes for the renal doc to come in (admit dx arf) because their diabetic rabbit needed his urine checked for suagr in case he needed a shot.
SMH....