Monday, May 21, 2007

Dementia and Degrees

Sorry to dash hopes right off the bat, but Jerry Springer was not to be found in our ER yesterday. I had high hopes, but it just wasn't meant to be. The closest situation I had was an elderly man with chest pain, who also happened to have dementia. He kept shouting at me to keep my hands off his nuts, no matter where I was touching him. It wasn't his nuts, believe me. We don't typically assess nuts for chest pain. And he just kept on hollering at the top of his lungs about his "nuts", evidently his favorite word. Of course he was in the bay, where all the other patients could hear him. And the other nurses. And the doctors. And the paramedics and the lab techs and the cops. I'll be living that one down for a while. All the males were covering their crotches and pretending to shake in fear every time they saw me walk by. Just keep repeating - I love my job, I love my job. "What did you do at work today, honey?" "Oh, I watched three paramedics all grab their nuts in unison - just for me." Sigh.

In a lot of ways yesterday was kind of a sad day. We had a huge stadium in town filled with family and friends who had come to watch a loved one graduate. They came to celebrate achievement and to spend quality time together, not to end up in our fine department. Just one more example of the randomness that is my job. We had a lot of people collapse in the heat and a fair amount of stupid frat boy tricks. I think some of these guys consider a high blood alcohol level more of an accomplishment than a GPA. Some of the people who collapsed were just overheated, and some had substantial medical issues that they never even knew about. Until yesterday. In a bed surrounded by your dressed up, ready to celebrate family. A lot of plans changed pretty quickly. I'll take a demented old guy carrying on a conversation with his nuts any day over a spanking new grad anxiously hovering over granny on a heart monitor.

It's easier to comment on the absurd than the stuff that really makes you want to cry.

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