Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Float To The Emergency Room

Saturday night was my turn to work in the emergency room because there were only a few patients on my home unit. I can’t remember the last time I worked there so it was with some apprehension that I showed up at the ER. The night started out slow as I only had to watch one patient who was rather quiet. By 10:30 p.m. others started to show up – a manic woman who talked and laughed loudly, and a doctor from another part of California. Let me just make clear that these were psych patients that I had to watch. I escorted the woman via hospital van to another building at about 1:30 a.m. On the way out of the parking lot after dropping off the patient, what do I see but 3 raccoons foraging for food near the gate! I don’t recall ever having seen a raccoon before in my life but this night more than made up for that by seeing three of them together. That seemed to make an already unusual night even more unusual. Upon returning to the ER, the doctor had been transferred to another unit and my next patient was just being wheeled in a guerney by paramedics. Speaking of mother natures’ creatures like the raccoons I saw just minutes before, this woman was drunk as a skunk. She was brought in the ER because she fell on her face after a bout of drinking. She had a bloody forehead and her nose was slightly swollen. With the x-ray technician, I escorted the patient for a CT scan of her head. She had a bump on her forehead and the scan confirmed a broken nose. This woman was very loud and complained incessantly of pain in her face, neck, back, legs. You name a body part and she probably would have complained on any of that too. Shortly after, a handcuffed man was brought in by 2 police officers. I don’t know the circumstances of his case. All I know was that the cops confiscated his guns. I didn’t ask the patient about what happened as I didn’t want him to be incensed. He was already in a bad situation as it was. Fortunately, he was pretty cooperative and quiet. He spent a few hours watching Law and Order on the TNT network. I could probably have given him a quiz on the show and he would have given me all correct answers. Poor guy had to report to work at 8 a.m. but couldn’t leave because the police put him on a 5150 hold.
Based on the patients I had to watch, the night in the ER wasn’t so bad at all except I didn’t get my 30 minute break until 6:15 in the morning. All I could do was walk to the corner doughnut shop to buy an apple fritter (one of my guilty pleasures that I rarely partake of any more), then return to the ER to wait out the end of my shift at 7:30. Except it didn’t turn out that way. The nursing supervisor called me at 7:05 to let me know that the person who would relieve me of my duties would be late because there was a staffing snafu. Well, I didn’t have too much choice but wait. Fortunately, he arrived at about 7:40 a.m. and soon I was on my way home. Which brings me to the last unusual sight of my day: a man running on the center stripe of a street I was driving on. I think that was even crazier than all the psych patients I had to watch all night.

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