Sunday, May 31, 2015

Week 26: "Oh no, now he has to ask his mom to help him in the bathroom!"

It's astounding how many people trip and fall everyday and end up in the emergency room because of it.

We are also only one of 3 hospitals in the not so large town, so I can only imagine how many other people head to the ER with their cuts/bruises/broken bones on a daily basis.

Growing up with an ER doctor dad, I never had to go to the hospital. I was a fairly wild kid. I've been bucked off of horses, run over by three horses, fallen from things.....but I always managed never to hurt myself so bad that I needed stitches or broke a bone. (The thought of breaking a bone is so scary to me.)

Even if I had needed stitches, they would have probably been done on our kitchen counter. Any ache we had was treated with Ibuprofen. Really anything. My dad is a very experienced doctor and had he seen any severe issues, I'm sure even he would have brought me to the hospital. I managed to get through life with Ibuprofen.

The one time I twisted my ankle while at the gym, I proceeded to walk on it and even rode my bike home. My roommate at the time called three upperclassman to tell them to call me and talk some sense into me. I didn't see the need to go to the emergency room. I wouldn't have had I been in America. So I elevated my foot, put some ice on it and took some Ibuprofen (of course). After the third call, I gave in and said I would go if someone drove me (since my ankle was the size of my calf at this point). And so, for the first time in my life, I was an actual patient.

Having experienced the patient side of being in the ER, I try to see to it that the patients get seen and tended to (as much as is possible with my non-existing amount of power in that place).

We had quite a few broken bones and falls this week. I felt like a high percentage of patients were kids or teenagers. I guess that makes sense, since they are the ones falling off of things and getting hurt in recess. The other larger portion of patients were many senior citizens that fell. Some fell so unfortunately, that they had a big open wound on the middle of their forehead.

The little ones that came in to the ER mostly had little open wounds on their face from falling. The teenagers were usually the ones that hurt themselves in recess....mostly because they were playing soccer.

One guy really took the crown in not getting injured half ass. He was playing soccer during recess and was running really fast and tried to stop himself before hitting the wall. He did so holding his hands in front of him ready to slow his impact. Well, by doing so, he managed to break both of his wrists! He was in such pain and the wrists were visibly deformed. One of my first thoughts was, "Oh no, now he has to ask his mom to help him in the bathroom!" One wrist broken: yea, I'll feel a bit sorry for you but you'll get over it. Both wrists broken: I can't stop feeling bad for you (until those casts come off, then I have to feel bad for someone else. You're good now.)

The ER is always an unpredictable place; which is one of the things I love about it. We had periods of times this week where we had so much to do and the clipboards with new patients overflowed our slot and at other times we had absolutely no patient to tend too. I definitely prefer the busier times. Unfortunately, I can't really do much to lighten the load of patients when it gets that busy because a doctor will always have to look at the patient as well and then its almost double the work. I do as much as I can (write release notes, print them and put them in envelopes, run papers around the ER so the doctor can continue working).

I was told to go in and see one patient on my own. The clipboard said it was a patient with tingling sensations in his knee. After talking to the patient and physically examining him, I was pretty sure his femoral artery or maybe even higher was basically shut. His foot was cold and pale compared to the other and I couldn't feel his foot pulses. I informed the doctor of my findings and she came and tried to find the pulses using Doppler sonography. No luck. So we called the vascular surgeons to take a look and treat the patient. It was fun going into the patients room on my own and seeing what I could find out and how much I could find on my own through physical examination without a bunch of fancy machines. In the end, my prediction was right and that felt pretty good too.

I'm really enjoying my time in the ER. Luckily, multiple doctors asked me if I wanted to go into the OR as well or stay in the ER. I told them I was very happy working in the ER. I've really seen enough knee and hip replacements.

Four more weeks of ER for me!

Stay healthy!


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