Monday, October 31, 2005

Tales of the Daft.

Today I spent four hours in emergency with a child whose parents could not be contacted. The injury wasn’t severe, but I took her there to be on the safe side.
The emergency triage, in da hood, on Halloween.

Need I say more?

We were next door to a seventeen year old who swallowed a bullet “on a dare”.
I found out from his father who was chatting with me while we waited for the Doctor.
Dad said that he thought that bullet swallower was probably going to get x-rays, but what Dad was really hoping for was a complete colonic enema. "That ought to make him think twice" says Dad.
From the bullet swallower to the drunk guy with the gash on his forehead, escorted by police who whined on at 11 decibels about how uncomfortable his shoes were, and how long he would have to wait.
“Whhhyyyy can’t they see me nooooooow? Owwww, owwww…my feet are killing me….Hooooow muuuuch looooooonger?”

I struck up conversation with an EMS guy who was behind me in line while I was waiting to register.
He was escorting someone who seemed to be agitated and passively crazy.
I asked EMS Guy if he was looking forward to tonight, and he said, “HA! I’m off at 7. Besides, tonight’s not that bad. It’s the Saturday night before Halloween that people get drunk and kick the crap out of each other”.
He had just told me that, when his charge (a skinny, dirty guy who looked like a walking, talking cadaver) snuck up to him and announced, “I’ve got to get the shit out of my pants. I’m going to the bathroom”.
“Sure”, says the EMS Guy, as though he had said, "I'm going for a coffee".

About 2 seconds after cadaver had walked down the hall toward the bathroom, EMS Guy says, “I’m going to give him another ten seconds and then I’m going to follow him to make sure he doesn’t get on the streetcar.” I asked EMS Guy if that happened a lot and he said that it did. He said that some people use ambulances like taxis. I asked him who paid for that, and he said, “You and I do”.


While watching the nurses, and other employees in the triage…especially Charles, who tried to direct people, and calm people down, and get them coffee or water or juice while they were waiting.
I couldn’t help but admire their patience.
In the four hours that I was in the triage waiting, I saw Charles verbally abused a number of times, and he continued to smile and be pleasant.
He ran to get a wheelchair and pillow for a guy who continuously called him a “fucking asshole”.

How do they do it?

Oh yes…you have to be a special person to work in the emergency triage in the hood.