Great Patient Conversations

nurse: “Have you had any surgeries?”
patient: “Apricot!”
everyone in hearing distance: “Wha?!”
pause: (pauses)
nurse: (in her infinite wisdom) “Can you show me where the surgery was?”
patient: (points)
nurse: “Oh! Your appendix!”
everyone in hearing distance: (stifles giggles)

me: “We’re going to move you over to this bed, okay?”
patient: “I’m gay?!”
me: “What? Oh, no…”

Google search term of the week, perhaps century: “society for the promotion of hubcaps.” You know what a philanthropist I am, especially when hubcaps are concerned. They really need all the help they can get. Support your local hubcap! All four of them! When you see a stray or abandoned one on the road, pick it up. Put them to good use.

Oh yeah, this weekend we had yet another kid who swallowed a coin that didn't quite make it all the way down. Kids!

Ow, my apricot!

Pics and missed calls

The best call of the week was not even my call. If it had come out 5 minutes earlier, it would have been my call, but alas. It was a motorcycle versus car, and the trauma team was activated at our local hospital almost as soon as the ambulance was on scene. Partial leg amputation. We were at the hospital when it came in, and I got to do what anyone else wanted to do: see it. Ooh, it was gross! The patient was taken to a level 1 trauma center about 10 minutes later, although I don’t think there was any hope of saving the leg.

Things were a little slow otherwise, but on almost every call I had a student with me. Still weird, but pretty sweet! Oddly, I’ve enjoyed giving away the few trade secrets I have to new people.

Finally after many dreary days, I went back out on the water today. Since I came back from Maryland, it seems, it has been raining and miserable. Pisgah and I had a nice paddle and it felt really good to enjoy the sun again.

Also, finally, I’ve added pictures from the end of summer.

Some more kayak spots. I think I’ll retire from taking pictures of lakes, they all look the same, unless I catch a sweet sunset or something like that.

Also, some of New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts, that I’ve taken during my travels of the last few months.


Odd choices and butter knives

Twice now we’ve been called to the same corner for psych problems. We’ve arrived to find a lady in her late 50s-60s flanked by six or seven police officers. No matter what, this is a curious situation.

The first time this happened 2 weeks ago, the lady looked harmless, but had probably consumed some alcohol containing beverages. There were bike police, at least 3 police cars, one with a very friendly dog in it, and the paddy wagon. One of the cops said to me “Good luck with this one.” My partner went up to the patient.

partner: “Come on, let’s go.”
patient: (refuses)
cop who warned me: “You can either go to the hospital, or go to jail!!”
patient: “Well then, I guess I’m going to jail!”
everyone: (incredulously) “What?!

When people are given this choice, no one, and I mean no one chooses jail. I mean, why would you? Going to the hospital can sometimes be a get out of jail free card, as you are probably crazy. We were all justifiably shocked, but at this point, my partner and I slowly backed away before she changed her mind.

The second time we were called to this particular corner was almost exactly a week later. This patient was not only in her 60s, but walking with a walker! She was definitely heard before she was seen, as she was screaming her head off about random things. Again, bike police, paddy wagon, and a slew of other police cars. An officer leaned down to me:

cop: “Good luck with this one.”
me: (this sounds familiar)
cop: “Yeah, she pulled a knife on us earlier.”
me: “, you mean like that one?”
patient: (had pulled a butter knife out of her purse and began waving it wildly at the surrounding officers)
cop: “dammit!”
cops: (wrested the knife from the lady, took her purse away, and smiled sheepishly at us)
patient: “That’s okay, I’ve got more at home!!”

We finally got her in the ambo after she determined that we were not communists and my partner buckled her in safely. The patient continued to shout randomly, expletives and otherwise such as “Poland!” and later “Slavery!!” She also told us the wrong name, and said that she was “22!!!” when we asked how old she was. Thank God I was driving because I was totally caught in the giggle loop. I’m glad she didn’t stab me, because if I had been stabbed with a butter knife by a 60 year old lady using a walker, I could have never told the story.

She didn’t make any more threatening gestures and we left her in the capable hands of the hospital security officers.

If we go back to that corner for another out of control retiree, I’m going to be freaked out!


Directly after my night shift last week, I flew down to visit my boyfriend. I’m pretty sure this trip is in the running for ‘greatest surprise pulled off ever in the history of surprises.’ My family knew, his family knew, and he was left completely in the dark, hilarious! His mom and I were in cahoots, and she convinced him that his father had a coworker coming over for dinner. Perfect motivation for him to clean his room, and leave his clinical on time. Predictably, he called me when he left his clinical, and I talked to him as he drove home, unbeknownst to him, closer to me. When he arrived, he said he’d better go as this coworker was there. Okay, I said, covering my excitement with mock disappointment.
Within minutes he realized that the coworker was me, and I was greeted with a probably 10 second open mouthed stare while we all laughed at his expense. Ah…

It was so hard to keep that secret! I feel weird disclosing it even now as it was shrouded in such secrecy.

Well, after the surprise we had an awesome week. We went on a hike, to the movies, to a couple parties. It didn’t really matter what we did, it only mattered that we were together. The surrealness of being his girlfriend is fading, and the nice is shining through.

I can be best described as content, even with the distance between us...for now. They say good things come to those who wait and I’ve never believed that more than I do now.

Also, I looked at jewelry, found my favorite place in the airport, decided my claddagh ring looks good from this angle, and became unequivocally happy.

Highlights of the Night Shift.

Last weeks shift is pretty much a blur, but more on that later.

Car accident with nasal injury. Unbelted, no airbag, a sharp stop, a pole, and something I’m not sure of caused our patient to have cut his nose from bridge to tip. The bleeding was more or less controlled before we arrived, we checked it out, took a collective yikes! and covered it back up.

Wacky cardiac rhythm. It was so wacky that I actually sent it to the hospital using the wonders of technology before we got there. I was dead excited that they received it successfully. The doc pulled me aside to inquire, and I showed him all the 12 leads I had taken and he came to the conclusion that he didn’t know what to call it. It was like a sinus beat, then a couplet of sinus beats (that looked different from the first) followed by a pause of about 5 seconds. Then the pattern would continue. Sometimes with sinus beats, sometimes with possibly atrial beats, and sometimes with ventricular beats. That’s confusing! Well, either way, the patient was virtually asymptomatic which was sweet, and we resolved her chest tightness with a nitro and some oxygen.

Car accident with a record seven refusals! It was a difficult scene to reconstruct, but my patient had had her license for what I believe to be another record of two days! She was very sweet anyway and her fault or not, I felt terrible for her situation.

We also got new computers installed in the trucks. They have great potential for coolness and handiness, I’ll keep you posted on them. Currently, they’re not programmed so that computer makes a good table, and our other computer makes a good lamp.

Highlights of the Day Shift.

The wino in the woods. The patient was passed out pretty far off the road. It really looked like a shady scene from law and order, but it quickly lost that luster after the cop pulled a huge, now nearly empty bottle of wine from her purse.

The woman who ran her suv into the side of a building. Not too much damage to either, but I had a difficult time holding in my laughter.

When I squished, crushed, damaged, injured, messed up my finger in the cot. It was my fault for having my finger there, but man did it hurt! To illustrate the seriousness of the situation, I jumped up and down in front of our patient and her family, put ice on it, and recently even put a band aid on it. Serious stuff. Unfortunately, it has hurt more in the last couple days than it did a week ago.

The call for the bus accident. Bus accidents usually go in a couple directions: really annoying, and really annoying. Well, this one wasn’t so bad. Apparently, the ‘incident’ occurred about 30 minutes before we were called. All of the passengers except two were rescued by another bus, and when I got there, stepped on the bus and saw only two passengers, I wanted to jump for joy. The driver was forced to come to a short stop, and everyone was thrown around a little. Out patent hurt her knee, no biggie, except that her companion had a lot of groceries which needed to go somewhere. They sorted it out with the bus people (who I’m sure were willing to compensate for the groceries in exchange for not suing them.)

Also, CHF, sick people, and crazies as always.