Monday, April 23, 2007


I am here to tell you that the people who go on the Jerry Springer show are real. They are not actors. Just because they are throwing punches and marrying first cousins doesn’t mean this mess is scripted. Just because it all seems so over the top as to be laughable doesn’t mean it isn’t really happening. What makes me so sure of my position? Simple. Twelve hours in our ER yesterday = the Springer audience is alive and encroaching on our reality. I can only hope it’s our reality and we aren’t really living in theirs.

All of us on days started off on a high note since the snake incident had happened on night shift. Some yahoo had gotten bitten by a snake. In the middle of the night, god knows how. He came in to get his hand looked at and to make sure it wasn’t a poisonous snake. So when the ER doc asked him to describe the snake, the man reached into his bag, pulled out a MOVING pillowcase and said “hell, I don’t know what kind of snake it is. You look at it”. Seems he had caught the snake, put it into a pillowcase, whacked it against the side of his truck to stun it and come on in. That was one ticked off rat snake and one very fast moving ER doc. Poor doc is from New York City. Never even knew what hit her.

The layout of our unit is a big square with rooms and patient bays all along the perimeter. The middle of the square is a big work station where all the nurses and docs hang out and try to get something productive done. You need to try to visualize this as a playing board to fully get the impact of yesterday. Ready? Big square, rooms along the edges, work station in the middle. Let’s start our day, shall we?

Enter patient #1 who is escorted in by our fine men in blue and handcuffed to a stretcher. Massive alcohol ingestion + paranoid schizophrenia + LSD = one cop permanently placed outside of this patients door. Take your little plastic cop marker out of your game kit and place outside room. Depending on this patient’s minute by minute status occasionally move all your cop markers to his room. Every now and then a nurse with a loaded hypodermic would go into the room flanked by two cops running interference and attempt to land a sedative shot somewhere helpful. Eventually he had “improved” to the point where he paced the room incessantly, dragging the bed he was handcuffed to with him and shouting all the while.

Patient #2 also came in with a wave of blue uniforms. Blood alcohol level off the charts at ten in the morning and decided it would be a beautiful day for a bicycle ride. Maybe he ran out of supplies, who knows. Unhelmeted (of course) head + concrete curb = big old head lac bleeding everywhere and a belligerent patient who kept telling us his name was F*!$ You. Take another one of your cop markers and place outside his door.

Patients #3 and 4 came in together, also escorted by…Guess who? Some kind of family argument turned physical and this brother and sister act found themselves injured and arrested. They had to be separated, so place them at opposite corners of the square and put a little cop marker next to each of them. You aren’t running out of cop markers are you?

Patient #5 was a young, heavily tattooed woman with abdominal pain, who actually came in without a police escort. She was pretty anxious, but very cooperative. There were family members who came in later, a young man and the patient’s small baby. The baby pooped his diaper and the guy never thought to change it, so now we have the sense of smell involvement as well. Even after the guy and the baby left, the aroma lingered. Imagine that whole corner with a stink bomb marker in it.

Patient #6 was another young woman who had been sick for a month and was just miserable. She also had family with her, a young woman and that woman’s baby. The patient was very anxious about a domestic situation at home and needed to get out of the hospital as soon as possible to lock her boyfriend out of the house. I took this woman’s history. Bipolar, Anxiety Disorder, Explosive Anger Disorder. I asked what meds she was taking for these and she said none, because they don’t work. I took a big step back from the bed and kept writing. She actually was very easy to deal with, except for the fact that her whole body never stopped shaking. Her friend left the room for a minute and when she came back she was really upset about something I couldn’t follow, but it seemed to have something to do with her baby. The patient was discharged and got ready to leave, carrying on a heated conversation with her friend the entire time.

They left the room and walked down the cop lined hall toward the door. I was right behind them and it looked like they were having trouble finding the exit door, because the friend opened the door to the stink bomb room instead. I thought it was an accident until the friend started yelling at the tattooed woman, and come to find out that the friend’s baby’s father is the tattooed woman’s fiancĂ© who had been visiting with her own baby by another man. Are you following this? It came to blows as all the cops left their respective posts and rushed to break it up. Move all your cop markers at high speed to the stink bomb room. I give the tattooed woman props for throwing a great punch while hindered by an IV and a bag of fluids. On the other hand, the friend was holding her baby while she swung with the other fist, so maybe it was a fair fight. Those aren’t skills you run into every day, you know what I mean?

The day wasn’t even over yet, but you get the gist. We kept looking for the hidden cameras that would prove we were being Punked or something, but we never found them. It would have been a great day for a crime spree, since we had at least half the force with us for the better part of the day.

I’m still glad we missed the snake. They’ve never had a snake on Springer, have they?


m@ said...

So what did they do with the snake?

my two cents said...

Somehow I get the feeling you would be ok with a dull moment.