Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I'm Pretty Sure That's Not Correct

I have a trick for keeping a pretty good report with most of my ER patients by responding to the really off the wall shit the way they taught us to talk to psych patients in nursing school.  Basically, no matter what someone says, I just nod with wide eyes like I understand and am taking everything in, and then I basically reword what they just said and ask if I understand correctly.  This is also pretty much how I dealt with all the complaints as a charge nurse, except add "I'm sorry that happened to you" on at the end.  Anyway, I pretty much always manage to listen and act like what people are saying is totally run-of-the-mill and not crazy. 
But the other day,  I'm triaging this girl with a totally unrelated, non-life-threatening complaint when she just mentions in passing, "Oh yeah, and I think I like, died last night." So I kind of look askance at her baby-daddy who's with her, and he's like, "Oh, uh huh, yeah, she like, wasn't waking up, so I called my mom, and she came over, and she did CPR, and she woke up."
I physically could not bring myself to nod.  Like word vomit, I just blurted out, "Um, wait, TIME OUT. So, last night, you DIED, and YOUR girlfriend was just laying there DEAD until however long it took you to call your mom and for her to come to your house, and then after being dead for 15 minutes, you just woke up, but didn't think it necessary to seek medical attention for this until nearly 24 hours later while being seen for something completely different and less serious?"
Both of them just stared at me blankly.  
I mean.  Look, if we're going to have disclaimers to not eat the pellets that come in your shoes or not to try the stunts seen in commercials and warnings not to smoke around gasoline, maybe the TV shows where people get CPR for a bit and then hop up and stroll along their merry way need to put warnings at the bottom of the screen that read DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT HOW CPR ACTUALLY WORKS PLEASE CALL 911 IF YOU HAVE ZERO TRAINING IN CPR.   Because apparently the shoe pellet eaters are out there somewhere, performing CPR on their deep sleeping family members.


  1. That subtle difference between REM and death gets me every time.

  2. That is how I talk to many of my newer ESL patients.
    "No matter what they say, I just nod with wide eyes like I understand and taking everything in, and then I basically reword what they just said and ask if I understand correctly"

  3. Shoe pellets? Since when did shoes come with pellets?

    1. The stuff that sucks up the moisture and keeps the product dry? Comes in little sachets and pops up randomly in several products.

  4. You can't make this sh*t up, lol

  5. Oh my god. I can't stop laughing at the mental image of a patient eating shoe pellets, going to sleep, and then miraculously waking up thanks to some excellent 100 bpm CPR. Because that works. Every time.

  6. I think I've taken care of her cousin. Teenager girl passes out on school bus greater than 24 hours prior to presention. Mom, who is "finally taking charge here" (her words), brings girl in for eval of said passing out and chest pain. Description of passing out sounds like girl was horsing around and got wind knocked out of her when bus went over a large bump. Mom then describes bus driver doing cpr for unknown length of time. Bus driver apparently revives girl, calls prinicpal to inform of situation, and finishes route. Not one person calls 911 because none of those teenagers have a cellphone or anything and the us driver didn't either. Mom didn't feel the need to bring girl in immediately upon hearing what hapened either. And the kicker is the girl states "I was telling them to stop because them pushing on me hurt." Motrin, chest xray, lecture was my workup.

  7. My supervisors keep telling me "you can't fix stupid".

    I keep telling them if they'd let me get a big enough hammer, I could do miracles.

    But special snowflakes like this are why I loooooove e-charting. I type the stories in word for word.
    The thought that eventually, every care-provider they see will be able to access the description of this kind of stuff means they might as well walk up to triage everywhere and start out with "My name is Joe, and I suffer from hyperactive stupidity disorder."

  8. This story was a great way to start the day.