Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Arnold's Nerve

(This is the nerve in the external ear canal that causes you to cough when it is stimulated with a Q-tip, car key or other foreign body) I am in the ER waiting to take a case up to the or for an active bleed desperately wondering what I can use to scratch the itch in my ear.

The ER is such an interesting place in the middle of the night. I often thought that anyone who the judge gives community service to should be forced to serve it in the ERs third shift. You get to see such a diverse picture of the community and see what is really going on in the world. There is the beligerant drunk with the facial lacerations spitting on the nurses in the first room, the 90 y/o lady with shortness of breath asking to go out to smoke, the drug addict in acute opiate withdrawl, several fractures, a stab wound to the chest and the r/o MI's. In the peds hall there are the acute asthma exacerbations in children who parents smell of pot who demand that their children get scripts for codeine, the newborns with FUOs lined up for their spinal taps. Outside, the EMTs and Police are resting waiting for another call and catching a cup of coffee. There is the smell of old vomit, rubbing alcohol and blood that has made it through the gi tract wafting though the halls when the ambulance bay doors open. Occaisionally the radio alert will go off and report that another ambulance is enroute nonemergent with a patient with uncontrolled fever of 98 degrees or someother taxpayer wasting adventure while the ALS Unit is flying in with a patient in asystole.

The or calls and is ready, the blood is coming from the blood bank, off we go through the double doors to the elevator. Suddenly its quiet except for the sounds of respiratory bagging the patient. Doors open right into the OR corridor and straight into the room. My ear still itches.

6 comments:

SeaSpray said...

Interesting post. I worked in a small community hospital- so didn't have the high numbers in patient volume as in a larger facility but certainly 3rd shift gets the more chaotic stuff.

So does 3-11, particularly Friday and Saturday nites.

Throckmorton said...

I hear you! Before med school I worked the 3-11 on the weekends, I hate to say it convinced me that I did not want to be an ER doc but it sure made me repsect those who did!

SeaSpray said...

We had an ER doc who also worked out of an NYC hospital and worked with us but had decided to move back home to Texas. To quote her she said, "I'm going back to the Friday night gun and rifle club!" :)

SeaSpray said...

P.S. I find it interesting how docs and nurses are drawn into different specialties/areas.

The ER docs I know didn't want anything to do with private practice and are more than happy to leave work behind when they finish a shift. Some of them have other professional involvements but over all they like the freedom.

I guess tho if you are in private practice - it is great to call the shots, but then you better be good at business management. That's nothing I am actually familiar with other then what I have learned through the collective knowledge shared in the blogosphere.

SeaSpray said...

Another P.S. or P.P.S. -Thanks for the blogroll. You write some good stuff here. :)

Chrysalis Angel said...

You haven't written in some time. I hope you haven't given up your writing. I also hope you are well, and life being busy, is the only thing keeping you from more posts.