Friday, April 5, 2013

Who's Taking Care Of This Patient?

Shocking as it may seem, I didn't become a smartass after years of practice in Emergency departments.

I think it happened when my DNA formed me in the womb.

And I'm absolutely certain the hard outer shell formed on Year One Day One of nursing school clinicals.

Flashback with me to 6:54AM, standing inside the patient room of My Very First Patient in Teeny Weeny General Hospital.

Scene: Me, and an empty patient bed, looking recently occupied.

Cue Doctor Godonearth, suffering from male pattern baldness, and a planetary rotation problem that has led him to incorrectly discern the center of the universe to be somewhere between his rectum and his bellybutton.

"Where's Mrs. Calabash??"

"I give up, where?" (And hey, thanks Sgt. Pinkney, wherever you are, for the best all-purpose answer to stupid questions by officious bastards I've ever heard or given, lifetime.)

> noticeably less pleasant, which is saying something < "She's supposed to be on her oxygen!!!"

"Okay, I believe you. What's your point?"
(Even as a fresh-faced larval nurse, I never acquired an ability to tolerate rude obnoxious jackassery, from any civilian, or anyone in the military whose first name wasn't "General". And this guy strikes me as the civvy version of "Captain", tops.)

> now with small wisps of smoke beginning to emanate from ears < "That oxygen isn't PRN, she's supposed to be on it all the time!!"

"Doc, I said I believe you. So what do you want me to do about that?"

"You didn't take her off her 02? And you don't know where she is?"

"Doc, I haven't even seen her. I'm 5 minutes early for my shift, my very first shift, as a nursing student." (Evidently the powder blue dork-ass lunch-lady smock with bilateral giant red medallions of the nursing school in question, worn by no other members of actual staff in recorded history, didn't immediately register with Doctor Godonearth.)

> Now both livid and intolerably obnoxious < "You're not her nurse?? Who's taking care of this patient?!?"

"I give up, who?"
"And by the way, Doc, in here, you're an attending physician, and I'm not even on the medical totem pole heirarchy yet, but out in the parking lot, I've got you by 10 years and 30 pounds, so if I were in your shoes now, I'd seriously consider lowering my voice, and trying a form of address that's not going to involve one of us spending some quality time with a dentist, if you know what I mean..."

> Exit Doctor, in a steaming rage, leaving skidmarks... <

Whereupon after serial histrionic exchanges reminiscent of a headless chicken, with the clerks, support staff, and other nurses, he determined that a registry LVN had assisted the patient to the bathroom, and, her 02 tubing being too short, the patient had removed it in order to use the toilet rather than crapping herself in the bed.

Which was the cue for Doctor Godonearth to begin loudly and unceasingly berating a middle-aged woman in front of the main nursing station on an inpatient med-surg ward at 7AM at a volume normally reserved for marching troops on a parade field.

And one by one, nurses started popping their heads out, and moving to the sound of the fury until at length, Doctor was facing about 27 women, all standing solidly grouped around and behind the LVN he was focused on belittling so egregiously in public.

Until finally, Charge Nurse Battleaxe spoke up from next to the target of the rage, and said, "Okay, you've made your point. Now how about getting your ass the hell off my unit before I have you thrown off it?"

It transpired in clinical notes after the end of my somewhat eventful first day, that the Charge Nurse had gone to the D.O.N. for the hospital, and in fact gotten Doctor Godonearth's privileges yanked at Teeny Weeny Hospital, and gotten him banished in perpetuity, for egregious public jackassery above and beyond the call.

They all allowed that no one would miss him or his bullying, but as everyone was busy getting ready for their change of shift, no one knew what exactly had set him off first thing in the morning.

Yeah, it was a mystery to me too.

Please allow me to introduce myself
I'm a man of wealth and fame
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name

I distinctly remember musing to myself "I think I'm going to like this."


  1. im so glad i happened upon your blog (linked from madness). I almost
    pissed my pants laughing, and thats ALWAYS a good thing!

  2. I found your blog yesterday and have read every post up to this one ao far. I have been laughing so hard that my colleagues habe also vowed to start reading. Love the blog and especially this story; this one is among my favorites.

  3. Welcome.
    Thanks for the kind words.
    I'm happy to have entertained you.