Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A Weekend In The Pit

I've come to the conclusion that summer isn't really a healthy season for anyone. Maybe it's all that vacation time with people relaxing and letting their guard down. Maybe it's that more of us are outside, either indulging in recreational pursuits or catching up on home maintenance. Maybe it's that it's so blessed hot.

Whatever the cause, all you have to do is look at your local ER waiting room to know that it would be a good time to lock yourself in your house with a gallon of decaf ice tea and blasting air conditioning. Make sure to check both your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors first for complete peace of mind. Looking very carefully, ease yourself down on the sofa, checking for misplaced point up pencils on the way. Gingerly pick up the remote or a soft edged book and don't move. Do not do anything, as a matter of fact. Don't eat. Don't smoke. Don't (for the love of god) roughhouse with your kids. Forget sports of any sort. Don't get frisky with your loved one. Just sit. For the rest of the summer. Got it?

As always a weekend in The Pit is an adventure like no other. The Pit is what we affectionately call the ER. Maybe not so affectionately, now that I think about it. Either way it's The Pit. In pretty much any hospital you go to. ERs are always on the ground floor, for the easiest access. In the bowels of the hospital, so to speak. This leads to many other nicknames, as I'm sure you can imagine, all equally descriptive and accurate. I like The Pit. I think it sums it up pretty well.

Per usual were all the routine calls. We had a lot of LOL/FDGBs this weekend. (Translation: little old lady / fall down go boom). The occasional LOM. (Little old man). Quite a few human vs. yard equipment. (Final tally: humans 0/yard equipment 6). Lots of SOB's. (Shortness of breath). Lots of other SOBs. (I'm getting there, trust me). Quite a few inhumanly intoxicated individuals either sleeping it off or wondering why they were cuffed to the bed when they woke up. Lots of MVCs (motor vehicle collisions). A sexual assualt. (Who changed her mind about being examined when her boyfried arrived. Hmmm). A whole slew of frequent fliers who felt the need to come in for the sixteenth time in three months looking for a) company or b) drugs. (And the overwhelming majority is...B! Who would have guessed?)

Of course there were also the mental health folks, like the patient who "coughed a rock" out of his nose and thought it was part of his brain. The lady who tore out her IV and made a run for the door, trailing blood, because she had a "hot flash" and needed to get outside (where it was 105). My patient who checked out AMA (against medical advice) because he said he would be dangerous if he spent one more minute in the ER. (Hell, I know how he feels). At shift change I looked at the board and saw that he was back in the waiting room for Round Two. I left by the other door. Very quietly.

Some Dude had a busy weekend as well. One guy woke up in a car covered in blood and insisted he had been just fine when he had fallen asleep the night before. Then there was the frat boy who had been jumped outside a nightclub for "no (deleted) reason" except for that other guy's wife in the backseat of his car. I could go on, but I won't. (I'm aware that I already have).

The ones that really got us were the drownings. One that came across the EMS scanner as a Code Blue (person is either dead or rapidly getting there) at the recreational lake near here, CPR in progress. But for twenty minutes, during CPR and transport we didn't know if they were an adult or a kid, and everyone, from ER doc to unit secretary, huddled around the radio openly pleading with it not to be a kid. It wasn't a kid, it was a grown man (with kids), who came in intubated and unresponsive. This is not a happy ending story. Then there was the kid who fell in a swimming pool at a private party and was not found for a couple of minutes. These are the times you really believe in fate or karma or a higher power or whatever you want to call it. This party was full of off duty paramedics and cops and they pulled the kid out and revived him on the spot. Flew him out to the nearest Children's Hospital and he's already home. I may not ever swim again and my kids had better not ask if they can go to the pool today.

It's official. Summer needs to end. Now.


Jen said...

You're almost there, summer's almost over. Doesn't it end earlier in Kansas than in south Georgia? I know I've said it before, but your Google Image Search skills are supreme.

laurie said...

great, vivid post. what a job you have. when do you have time to pee?

my older brother drowned. (don't worry, your post didn't traumatize me; it was many years ago.) we all stay away from lakes now in the summer.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

jen - Kansas is weird. It's like on Labor Day someone turns the heat off and it's Fall. I'm ready. Google Images - gotta love it!

laurie - Thank you for telling me I didn't traumatize you. I had a bad moment there. I'd stay away from lakes, too.
pee? what's that??

Dumdad said...

I think I'll just stay under my duvet until it's all over....

auntie barbie said...

You really are a saint. Where do you pull all that patience and caring from????? I make it a habit to never go to an ER at night or on the weekend. When I fractured my knee on a Friday night I actually waited until 7 AM the next morning to go to the ER so I wouldn't have to wait or be surrounded by the other patients.

Winter is no better here in MI than summer, ice fishing, snowmobiles, skiing, snow shoveling, ect.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

dumdad - the duvet is an excellent idea. Just stay hydrated.

auntie barbie - I promise you that I don't have a drop of saint blood in me. Not one. Why do you think I bitch so much??

Jo Beaufoix said...

RC I could not do your job.

And the drowning thing was so sad. that poor family.

I was going to write that I'm planning on spending the rest of the summer under the duvet with Dumdad, then I realized that would sound rude, so I'm going to spend it in a padded room with air conditioning, bottled water and a game of snap

Hopefully we'll be safe there.

Nobody's ever died of a papercut have they??

Pixel Pi said...

I identify so much, since I'm a ER transcriptionist who types up all this stuff after you deal with it. I can't take the face-to-face (aka blood and other bodily stuff) so I just spell big words, translate resident-speak into English, and type real fast. And yes, the ones that die are the worst. Especially the kids.