Friday, April 23, 2010

Differentials of Disorganized Thinking in the Elderly

The charge nurse tells me that she is going to be bringing me an odd, but otherwise lovely patient presenting with some mild complain which could potentially be serious. I get the said patient into a room, I do the workup, she gets seen by a doctor – the usual stuff. But I begin to notice that there is something that’s just not quite right. The patient is extremely cooperative and polite but the stories just don’t add up. A conversation about health history quickly turns into one about the time the patient tried to kill 20 prison guards to rescue her favourite radio from being dismantled by giant cacti shaped monsters and how if I look hard enough at the old man in the suture room, he looks like Jesus (despite the old man being Sikh). Utterly confused (and somewhat frightened), I decide that further blood work would likely be necessary and an order for a urine tox screen wouldn’t be a bad idea. When the patient (surprisingly) lets me draw more blood and willingly gives a urine sample, I didn’t know if I should be thankful that getting samples was such a peaceful affair (even though the patient tried to fit herself under the stretcher when I was finished getting the blood samples) or if I should have reached for oars to paddle through shit creek if the patient decided to go postal. Looking back, I should not have tried so hard to convince my favourite doctor to order a head CT but rather, I should have expected grandma to be having an awesome acid trip as the police showed up to charge her with possession and dealing of cocaine – again.

Monday, April 19, 2010

When Nurses Get Sick

Sick Nurse – Guys, I think I’m going to have to throw in the towel and go home. I just threw up again and I’m beginning to spike a fever.

Charge nurse – Sure thing hon. I’ll pull one of the float nurses to cover your area. Feel better soon.

Patient’s family member at nursing station – What kind of nonsense is this? We get sick, we come to the hospital. You get sick, you go home!

Sick Nurse – I prefer bowing to the porcelain gods in my own bathroom.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Bet They Didn’t Teach That in Med School

At around 2330, a man walks into a fairly dead department and tells the triage nurse that he has a burn on his chest that he would like to have seen by a doctor. He gets triaged to me so I do the usual chart set up, help him get changed into a hospital gown and start my assessment. Turns out, he was waxing his chest. However, he didn’t realize that the wax was hot enough to not only stick to his hair but literally start cooking the skin underneath the hair. He could not pull the wax strip off because he would tear out a piece of chest as well as the hair so he came in for help. The staff doctor was speechless and stumped and said he would be right back. I told him not to worry his pretty little head off about it and get me some mineral oil instead. The wax was oil soluble so I kept dabbing mineral oil onto it and dissolving it piece by piece until all of it melted away. When the staff doctor asked me how I knew what to do, I shrugged it off - not out of humility - but because I wasn’t about to tell him that I’ve had my legs waxed for more than a decade with the same stuff. The man then got a little dressing, some unconventional discharge teaching and a card to my auntie’s salon!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Too Much Facetime

To say that the past 10 days or so have been insane is an understatement. Common sense abandons me as I get offered overtime and I agree to work a lot more than what’s considered healthy. Although yesterday’s payday was great, I’m not going to be taking on so many shifts for quite a while. For one thing, I really need my downtime to unwind and get myself back on track. I also need a break from my colleagues. This is not to say that I don’t like the people that I work with (because for the most part, I know how lucky I am to have such a supportive team) but after spending almost 10 days with the same group of people, I am in dire need of solitude. I work in a department that has a lot of youngish staff who are die hard partiers and I find myself frequently declining invitations to drinks and clubbing. Having exhausted my partying days a long time ago and not being much of a drinker, I’m starting to feel stressed out by frequently having to defend why I just want to stay on my favourite couch reading a good book. Since I live quite far from where I work, I have to commute and after 12 hours, it pretty much drains the last bit of my resolve to maintain an alert level of consciousness. Commuting on my days off feels like a special sort of nightmare. Lastly, I also like to catch up with friends and family who don’t work with me. This is not to say that I never accept an invitation for a night out here and there, but I feel like I need some distance between my coworkers and other aspects of my (mostly boring) life without coming off as a snob.

What say you readers? Is this an unjustified rant from a social recluse or do I have a point?