I love my hospital ID badge (even though it says I'm an EMT student). It opens almost everything, and it's on one of those retractable ID holders with the string for extra fun. I can wave it at doors, staff elevators, children, refrigerators, supply closets, the elderly, and at the parking garage. It's great fun to walk down the hall unlocking all the doors with just a wave of the ID badge. And it's so easy, just wave and snap!....But I digress.
Last night was my first ER clinical. It was pretty cool. I did about four 12 lead EKGs, all unremarkable, took a ton of vitals, and showed a strong 100% IV success rate (1/1 counts, right?) I also got to watch a spinal tap. Now, there's an unnatural procedure. I was glad I was wearing a mask, especially when I realized my mouth was hanging open. I looked from the patient to the cerebrospinal fluid and back again thinking: "That's your CSF! That's not supposed to be out here!" Later, after a couple of failed IV attempts by an unnamed student, and the charge nurse, I watched an ultrasound IV placement, which was pretty cool too. On the same veinless patient (whose tongue was swollen to at least twice its normal size) the ear nose and throat doc put a bronchoscope down her throat (via nares) to monitor the swelling there. This was almost torturous to watch, but he let us sneak a peek, which made it worthwhile. So, all in all, I enjoyed the ER shift. After envisioning burned out nurses bossing us around forcing us to do foleys, walking into a nice ED to eventually get to know some good people, and practice skills was a relief.
Oh! I almost forgot, the drunk and disorderly people. How could I forget these vitamin 'A' and 'H' deficient people? (A and H refer to a sedative and an antipsychotic med, respectively.) Both patients could be heard before they were seen, but one was making an unusual noise. The sound of his teeth grinding together resembled that of a cricket, and was just as loud. I found this so disturbing, I wanted to believe he had a cricket in his pocket and it was not his teeth constantly grinding, ew! The other student there had just been assigned to get a glucose stick on him. As he gathered the equipment, the patient was seen walking across the nurse station and out the door. (he was later brought back, and settled down for his long drug induced winters’ nap.) The other patient was a fiery million year old lady who insisted upon calling every unsuspecting person into her room to try and help her out of bed (she was being mechanically held there). I told her that what was keeping her in the bed was a very complicated device that I didn't have the expertise to figure out. One of the techs sat at the computer telling her she was researching how to help her. This patient mercifully took a little nap for a while, too.
My next ER shift isn't until sometime next month but this weekend I have two city shifts, I'll keep you posted.