So I'm spending my first (very enlightening) night in triage last night in first look (where we first ask the patient about their complaint and see if they can wait to be seen or triaged) when this woman walks up to the door and asks if I can bring out a stretcher. A stretcher? Nope. I tell the lady I can bring out a wheelchair. She tells me that her mom is in such terrible sickle cell pain that she can't even sit up in the chair. Once she figures out that's all we have, her mom manages to make it from the sitting position in her daugher's SUV to a sitting position in our wheelchair, and we wheel her to the check-in desk where she refuses to write her own information, because it was too painful, although she was able to answer her cell phone on the way in. In the middle of collecting their information, when they start to realize that they won't immediately be swept straight into a room and may even be forced to sit in the waiting room without getting Dilaudid on arrival, the lady pulls out this gem-
"I can't wait in this waiting room. I'm in the witness protection program, and someone might recognize me."
WOW. Lucky for them we had our third triage room open, so they got to wait their turn in there with their identity uncompromised, sitting in the wheelchair. But hey, you can't blame them for trying.*
*Not in any way to sound calloused toward sickle cell pain, I'm actually calloused against patients who don't get that we're not just blowing off their pain, but that people who are bleeding and trying to stop breathing go first! "Witness protection" or not.