September 23rd, 2004

White Coat

Give me my G-D- Tussinex!

Almost slept in too much today, O Best Beloved; I woke at 0445 after hitting the snooze at 0330. I was only fifteen minutes late for the 0700 shift in Indianapolis. I am so tired now. So sleepy. And I will not have my 200 words written for tomorrow; I will have to submit them between 1600 and 1730 or so. Tomorrow between working and going to a party with the Residency Folks at a charming little biergarten downtown. Angel is coming to be with me. Perhaps it will be better than the last time I was at the charming little biergarten; perhaps they will let us drink decent beer.
Today I arrived at 0715. At 0810 the first patient rolled in: hit in face by someone, either her son's cousin or her ex-boyfriend or both. I don't ask certain questions. In any case, she didn't require much time to see, as it was a quick exam followed by pictures of her facial bones, the application of ice, and a see-you-later. She'd already talked to the police. She was followed by a girl, about 18 weeks pregnant, with abdominal pain. Pelvic room please.
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Got some more story from my patient. She'd been seen at another hospital, three weeks ago, and diagnosed with a urinary tract infection. Uncomfortable in ordinary women, must-treat in a pregnant lady. Preferably before she develops pyelonephritis and endangers baby and mother in one. It is not advisable to do as this young woman did, and opt for a pack of cigarettes instead of a prescription for penicillin. Urine leukocytes: packed. Automatic admission.
Little boy attacked by a windowsill. Standard child-getting-stitches talk. "This is going to hurt." He screamed while I injected marcaine without epi into his chin. He was amazed when it worked. Five stitches, including one corner I was particularly proud of. It should come out neat in the wash. Just a little scar, for the girls.
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There was one bed occupied in the ER when I arrived at 0715. When I left at 1615, there was one bed empty in the hospital. $major_trauma_center was on diversion, we had chest pain patients in any available room, monitored or not, and there were six charts to be seen and ten more in the waiting room.

Broken ribs and digital blocks and who are you going to call when you wake up in the middle of the night and your stomach hurts so badly you cannot breathe?
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