Friday, February 27, 2009


Phone call tonight:

"Hi, I'd like to come down and get the equipment to draw my mother's blood. She has Alzheimers. I have the paper from the doctor saying what tests she needs so you could look at it and tell me which tubes I need".

um, no.

Phone call from a pharmacist 30 miles away:

"We just wanted to check and see if Dr. R. wrote over the Vicodin prescription. Also, the dosing was a little odd, it says to be taken three times a day".

nope. The doc didn't do it, the patient did. Overwrote "valium 5 mg" and changed it to vicodin 5/500. Local constabulary dispatched to perpetrators residence. NO SOUP FOR YOU.

2nd phone call from a pharmacist, this time local:

" Hey, just wanted to check and see if Dr. P. knew that (anonymous, for HIPPA reasons unless I made the whole thing up) just picked up a 'script for 30 Vicodin from Dr. N when he dropped off the one you wrote for him for 20 Vicodin."

hmmm. Nope, he didn't say he saw his doc today, must have slipped his mind. You can rip that one up and the patient and doc will have a little chat about the importance of being honest with your provider.

Woman complains of painful intercourse x weeks. Has no insurance so comes to the ER, where her care is virtually free courtesy of those of us who pay for her to have this privilege. Has an ultrasound, but doesn't want to wait around for it to be read by the radiologist. Husband certainly has time to ask for a script for narcotics though.

Pedi severe head trauma from last month doing well and headed to rehab.

Sign on closet of one of the nursing units:

Student Nurse Closet

in small handwritten letters just below above sign

"Occupancy 13 student nurses".

Told you it was random.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Home on the Range

We get an ambulance containing the 88 year old gentleman from a local Alzheimer's warehouse. He has had a bloody nose off and on for the last 2 hours; not hypertensive, and not on coumadin, and also not bleeding when he hit the door.

He had quite a pronounced Scottish burr. And was quite delightful.

He was wearing well worn jeans and a really nice pair of Nike shoes, and began quietly and continously singing "Home on the Range" in a lovely sweet (mostly) in tune tenor voice. Over and over and over.

I wanted him to sing "Loch Lomond", but the Brit paramedic reminded me that it is a song about death, so it probably wasn't such a good idea. I didn't mind, really. He was singing pretty quietly as I said and minding his own.

The doc stuck some adrenaline up his nose with a piece of cotton and went about his business, only to come back and find the cotton...gone. He gestured frantically; "I need you to babysit him, I don't know where the cotton is"

"Do you think he swallowed it, aspirated it, or pocketed it?" I asked unhelpfully.

"Dunno. Can you just squeeze his nose for 10 minutes?"


Squeezing his nose for 10 minutes was no hardship for me, but it did keep him from singing "Home on the Range". He had switched to "Let Me Call You Sweetheart".

The gentleman calmly allowed me to squeeze. Every so often he would say (I thought), "I've been a carny all my life". As in carnival, perhaps.

Well. "So what kind of work did you do there?".

"Oh, cars, all sorts of engines".

What I realized was that he had been a mechanic all his life.

The doc comes back after 20 minutes or so, finishes up and my little man was ready for his ambulance ride back to the Alzheimers warehouse. I was sorry to see him go, although he did start to wander around a bit and was fascinated by the blanket warmer in his room.

Oh, and I found the missing piece of cotton on top of the thermostat.
"Home, home on the range....."

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Calgon, Take Them Away

Overanxious parents bring in a 15 year. His hand was caught between the wood stove he was helping to move and the floor leaving him with a few deep abrasions and some swelling on one knuckle worthy of an xray, but it certainly not the "Really bad" injury as advertised. The father responded to my question about tetanus: "Mine is up to date".

Um, for the record I didn't ask. And I don't care, especially since you continue to refer to your son as "princess". One more admonishment for him to "man up" (he was) and I'll give you something to man up about. This was clearly not a very deep gene pool as I was to learn.

Mom returned from the bathroom and announced, "Hey, there's Calgon soap in the bathroom, isn't it supposed to take you away?"

Husband: "Why, isn't that an Italian sandwhich with cheese and sauce?"

Me: "No, that's a CALZONE" ("you moron", my thought bubble screamed)

Husband: "Well, I was in the same state, the both start with 'K', don't they?"

I had to leave the room.

After an xray (negative) I cleaned up the cuts, put on some antibiotic ointment, assured the mom that her son would be able to play baseball and sent them on their way. But not until the brain trust that was dad asked if he would get crutches.
"Um, for a hand injury?"

"No, I just wanted to have them around in case we needed them".