Monday, June 3, 2013

Dear Obnoxious @$$holes

Fortunately, this isn't all of my patients every night.

But it's too damned many of them.

So if this isn't you, let it roll off your back.

But if the shells are landing closer each time, catch a clue before you catch the shrapnel.

So, all you clever @$$holes, the ones who were fed while you were growing up, rather than actually raised, let me undertake to catch you up on the life lessons your dear old ma and pa neglected to pass along to you before you crossed paths with me and my co-workers.

Apparently, you seem to have mistaken the emergency department for your little plantation, and you imagine somehow that you're Boss Hawg. While I'm sure that's a comforting fantasy for you to carry around in your head, let me disabuse you of the notion that reality looks anything like the playground in your mind.

My techs, fellow nurses, and doctors see several hundred folks a day. You might have noticed that when you came in, and saw all those other people waiting, in this area we've cleverly named the Waiting Room. You got put out there because all the beds are full, and you aren't dying any faster than the rest of the human race. You may be sick, injured, or severely inconvenienced, but you're not at imminent risk of dropping dead. Which, judging by your behavior, is really quite a shame, if only life were fair.

But it isn't, which is why that nice little man is having a stroke, and you're not. If you needed a reason to fall to your knees and thank a merciful god for something, consider that I don't have the ability to assign disease to the most deserving.

I realize that waiting in the Waiting Room is a major bummer for you, but let's flash back a few minutes. Remember when you drove up? Did you, perhaps, notice that we don't have a drive-through window? So if that's true, ponder what that fact bodes for your chances of getting whisked right in, and right out.

A second data point for most people, if not yourself, should be the lack of a menu at the window I'm sitting behind. Most particularly in your case, note carefully the complete absence of french fries on the missing menu, or the logo of that famous hamburger grill, Burger King. These twin items notify most folks that you can't have fries with that, and you won't be having things your way here. Pretty much ever, since about, oh...when Warren Harding was president, hereabouts.

Astonishing as the feat may seem to you, about 99% of the other people who came in before you, and yet are waiting quietly until we can see them, figured this all out in about 0 seconds. Maybe you were told by everyone from kindergarten until last week that the rules and procedures don't apply to you, because you're a Special Snowflake. So let me introduce our special super power: we're the blowtorch for Special Snowflakes, and today there's a special on STFU With The Attitude.

You should also be aware of a few things: we all talk to each other. The triage nurse talks to the charge nurse, the doctors, and the nurse whose area we take you to, long before you even get your butt unstuck from the vinyl waiting room cushion on the bench. So all that attitude and sarcasm you came in with has been documented electronically, and verbally shared with everyone who's going to be caring for you. Because it's how we roll, and even HIPPA and the US Government says I can tell your caregivers all about you.

So when you thought you were being cute, and took your little 'tude back outside, we were just typing away, documenting your entire life story, to ensure you get the care you rate.

Let's try a simple association for you: ever notice when you act like you are now, but out in other places, like for instance at an actual restaurant, that your food always seems to taste like spit?
Did you ever wonder why that is?
No? Well, let me clear up that mystery for you.

And if you haven't had that experience, because you'd never act like as big a jackhole out there that you do in here, maybe that should be a lesson to you as well.

Because here's the thing:
Once you get put in a room, the doctor can see you next. Or not.
And order pain meds for you right away. Or not.
And the unit secretary, who's desk you passed by making all those clever comments?
They can process those orders quickly. Or not.
And my co-workers and I can get right on them. Or not,
And I can spare you a lot of waiting and suffering. Or not.
I can even make sure to take care of you before all my other patients. Or not.
Stop me when the light begins to dawn.

So you should realize that I'm not going to do anything to hurt you. In fact, if you're here, you've probably already covered that little task all by yourself. But we're all human. And when I have sick patients, and they add a frothing jackhole to my list of things to do, well, you have no idea how long it can take me to find time for you, and grease your little squeaky wheel. Or not.

So, am I getting through yet?

Some of you like to talk tough. Okay, try that one on and see how it plays.
I dress out at about 225. What skills I've lost in reflexes since my prime years, I can more than make up for in pure orneriness. As annoying as it is, I have to deal with cranky jack@$$#$ just about every night. And about once a week, one or more of them is so certifiably crazy that they end up strapped down in hard restraints. What that means is, while you've doubtless had a few bar fights or parking lot brawls from time to time, I've had about 500. I'm 500-0. (And if you thought you could try that on my 95 pound colleague, you should read up on how inmates think of child molesters, and look around at the other techs, nurses, and doctors working a couple of steps away, and realize we think of each other like family. Especially when we can hear you mouthing off to someone we see as petite little ray of sunshine, half a corridor away.) Maybe at home, spouting off gets you attention. It gets you attention in my house, but not the kind you want. And when I say the magic words, twenty of my closest friends show up to play too. And then security comes. And then the police. And we all stay, and you get to leave.

We don't like it, in fact we really hate it; but we'll go through it if you give us a reason.

But all this can be avoided, and that's your super power: spare us your sarcastic comments, skip the snotty smartass wisecracks, don't raise your voice, and don't be an obnoxious jackass from the moment you get here until you leave. Treat us like professionals who show up every day to help people in trouble, and that's what you'll get.

Treat us like your private whipping bitches, and you'll get something entirely different.
And I promise, it isn't what you thought you were going to get, and it isn't what you wanted when you came here. So cool your jets, give your mouth a rest, and deal with things the way they are, and not how you wish they were in your little fantasy world. Start off by coming in the door acting like a human being, and we won't have any trouble treating you like one.

Or not.

1 comment: