Thursday, September 4, 2014

Order Up

It still astounds me that the single most important need (aside from narcotics) for individuals in the ER is a meal tray.  I have come to hate the hours between 4:30 and 6:30 PM.  There is no room service available in the ER, unless the patient is a boarder (psych patients who have been there for days, usually).    People are like rabid dogs when it comes to food, "My mother hasn't had a thing to eat all day!!", like it's my fault that mother hasn't wanted to eat, been vomiting, or has been lying around too weak to eat for the weekend because you went away.

Here is a handy guide as to why food is not on my immediate list of important tasks:

1.  If you have come to the emergency room for abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or bleeding out the ass, we are not feeding you.

2.  If your blood pressure is 250/120, and I am trying to lower it by giving various medications, we are still not feeding you.

3.  If you come in with chest pain, we are not feeding you until you are seen by cardiology, which is after an EKG and many hours.  Don't ask.

4.  If you eagerly drink both quarts of the oral contrast (berry or vanilla flavored) for your abdominal CT and declare that it was delicious and hit the spot because you were so hungry, I am not feeding you anything else.

In case you are wondering what kinds of delicious treats and culinary magic we are able to whip up after the real kitchen closes, here is a short list of items we keep in our  ER"s "kitchen".

Apple juice, cranberry juice, orange juice, milk
Gingerale (regular and diet)
Graham crackers
Saltines
Fruit cup
Custard
Peanut butter (individual servings)
Sandwiches (4 each: turkey, veggie, roast beef, ham and cheese)
Popsicles

At BWOM and the med center we had Lorna Doone's and Oreo's, which the nurses mostly ate.  And REAL Coca-Cola.  But not at Pseudocity.

Our refrigerator at Pseudocity is locked, by which I mean both the freezer and refrigerator.  Padlocked.  In order to unlock it, you must reach behind the fridge and find a magnet to unlock the cracker cabinet, then retrieve one of the keys to the padlocks for the fridge.  The ginger ale is under the counter.  It is unlocked.

It takes more concentrated effort to unlock food than narcotics, and takes twice as long.  On the off-shifts when the kitchen is closed, the real food goes quickly in spite of large signs that says "Do not give out sandwiches before 6:30 PM!!".   So does any motivation to make a meal out of crackers and peanut butter for the most part.

We don't have any soup or broth for grandma, or ovaltine or hot chocolate.  We don't even have tea.  And the coffee is just….horrific.

I am not going to feed your children.  The cafeteria is that way.  If it is closed, there are vending machines in the lobby with an array of delicious cereal, flash frozen hamburgers that just need microwaving, and candy.  And Mac's is down the street.


2 comments:

Fibril_late said...

Abso-**inglutely Correct. I'm working with the NPO since Midnight bunch who are here for a Cardiac procedure, and some folks think they will actually collapse in Hunger, if they don't eat for 18+ hours. People! This is frickin' America; we are all carrying extra pounds......enough to keep us safe and alive, even if we're stranded in Buffalo on the freeway buried in SNOW! for 24 hours. Definitely more stressful than waiting around for a Heart Cath!

Kristina Ericksen said...

Interesting read! It's surprising what exactly patients can expect from a hospital visit or stay. Thanks for sharing!