Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Stories from the ER

Okay...so, I'm totally lying. I don't really have any stories from the ER (I'm an OB nurse for Pete's sake!!)...but, I do have plenty of thoughts about the ER!

For those of you just tuning in, ER stands for "Emergency Room"...as in the place you go for emergencies. Emergency being the key word. But more on that later.

I've had plenty of nursing friends tell me gobs of ER stories, and, I guess, I do have one to share, well, okay, maybe a couple.

A float nurse told me of the patient who came in with a headache. No crazy, off the wall, headache. Just your typical day to day headache.

She asks, "Well, what did you take for it?"

Patient responds, "Well, nothing."

Wowza...perhaps one should try a bit of Tylenol prior to making the ER decision, no?

And the drunk stories?? They just never end! (Aside by me...did you know they used to administer IV alcohol to stop labor?! Crazy!)

In our hospital, if you are pregnant, you come to the us...the OB unit. There is a constant push and pull between us and the ER. We once had a lady come to our floor (and I'm totally not kidding) holding her arm grimacing in pain. She told us, she went to the ER, they saw she was pregnant and automatically sent her to us. "I broke my arm!" She told us. So, we called the ER, and promptly got her back down to them...where they fixed her broken arm (in perhaps, oh, I dunno...6 hours??!!).

But, when it really comes down to the nitty gritty, things get interesting. Take for example...the "unknowingly" pregnant teen (this has happened a few times...and gosh, how do you not know you're preggo? Those ladies must have some really active bowels to pass off all that movement!!) who presents with abdominal pain...and (this is where it gets funny)...a vaginal mass.


Um...that vaginal mass would be a HEAD, dearest Md! And then? Mass hysteria (hee, hee--that's punny!!)!! (Actually, the latest was "her bladder may be falling out"...I kid you not. And, the charge nurse had overridden the MD and called up to us to tell us of this "prolapsed bladder" which she suspected was actually a bag of water and a baby head--it was.)

So, they keep the deliveries and send us the hangnails...I just don't get it. (And so help me God, if you come to the ER with a hangnail, I will jump through this computer screen and squeeze that finger as hard as I can!!).

But, really. I'm surprised at what people go to the ER for...and at the weirdest times.

"How long have you had this sliver in your finger, sir?"

"Oh, 'bout two weeks."

"So, what made you decide to finally do something about it at 2 am?"

Okay, so that's a little exaggerated, but probably not too far off base!!

Remember this post?

Ugh...I nearly died from that experience. Never, in seven hundred billion years would I have taken him to the ER that day. EVER.

To me ER = life and death (or horribly excruciating pain).

As in:

Chest pain? Yes!

Need stitches? Yes!!

Hangnail? No!!

Cold? No!!

Missing limb? Yes (well, that is if it traumatically went missing...now, if one day you woke up with a missing limb, mysteriously, well, then, my friend, you've got bigger problems than the ER can handle!)!

Can't breathe? Yes!!

Suicidal? Yes!!

Delivering a baby? Yes!!

Swine flu? No!! (And for Pete's sake! Stay home and get well, don't spread it! Drink chicken broth or Gatorade or something! Take to your bed with a good book or some great movies or, heck, your laptop for blogging!!)

Ingrown toenails? No!!

Okay, I think you get the picture!

But, just for good measure...



  1. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this post!! It reminds me of my fav blogs of all times, from L&D nurses, hilarious!!

  2. I totally agree with this post! I am not a nurse, but just having been in the the ER (with gaping wounds), I have witnessed some questionable things myself.
    Once with my oldest, who required stitches in his chin - we were sitting in the lobby (had been there about an hour at this point) when they brought in a child bleeding profusely and rushed them right in. The lady next to me starts yelling "WE WERE HERE FIRST!". I thought, do you not know how this works?!?

  3. Man...I totally agree with you. I was one in the ER for an anaphalytic reaction and this guy comes charging in there saying his stomach hurts. Well apparently he was experiancing indigestion and not something more serious...the things you see when you are in the ER!

  4. My brother's a doctor and had an ER stint. One of his most memorable 'emergency' patients was an older woman who came in with some complaints. When Paul asked how long she'd had the symptoms, she replied, "Twenty years!"


  5. Is there any way to spread the definition of ER around to EVERYONE. Why don't they get it? Why do we have to wait 6 hours while they get they hangnail checked?! Maybe they should have a valet or something outside the ER doors to make sure people's heads are screwed on tight!

  6. I avoid the ER at all costs...

    But, I was pleasantly surprised when they wisked my son right back. The waiting room was full (probably with people
    who had no real emergency) and I figured we would be waiting a while (like we had to with stitches!)

    Apparently, a really mangled,
    broken arm = trauma room.


    They ought to have a triage station that gives out Mylanta and Tylenol.

  7. I love that!!! How about my SIL who goes to the ER for Strep throat or kidney stones?? How 'bout you lay off the Dr.Pepper, huh? Or the same SIL who called 911 for an ambulance b/c she decided to quite smoking using the patch and thought she should wear two since she smoked so much, and she was feeling dizzy!! Yep, she called the ambulance to come take her to the ER cause she felt a little dizzy!!! Drama Queen - and perhaps one of the many reasons our healthcare costs what it does!!!!

  8. haha!

    Can we post this at all the ER's around the country?

    Blessings & Aloha!

    (I really am trying to just read and not comment til the end...but....)

    (oh, love how you think on your Jumping Synapses post!... my hubby's always wondering when I jump from one to another and yet another....)


I love comments! And, I welcome your thoughts that aren't in agreement with mine...as long as they are respectful!


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