Monday, November 14, 2011

Changing Faces

She walked into the ER's waiting room, her belly protruding from her third pregnancy, only to find an overwhelming number of people standing around, hoping to either be the next called to be taken back into the ER treatment area or, at a minimum, to cop the next available waiting chair.

Tugging a four year-old with one hand while pressing an active two year-old to her chest with the other, the young mother asked a security guard where she should sign-in to be seen. He pointed at the circular desk that sat in the middle of the room, behind which sat two nurses and a technician. Noticing the snaking line of people formed at their counter, she scowled to herself and dragged her gravid belly and two kids to join its end. After standing in the stagnant line for just a few minutes, frustrated, she marched to the left of the line to its front and sat her two year-old on the counter, letting go of her four year-old's hand.

The nurse, startled at the abrupt interruption during her triaging, asked her current client to please wait before focusing on the mother.

"May I help you?" the nurse asked the mother.

"Yeah," the mother answered, "my baby here got a fever two hours ago and I want her looked at. And as long as you all are looking at her, I want my son and me both looked at, too, since we'll probably get what she got." The nurse looked at the baby, sitting on the counter, cooing and slobbering over a lollipop given to her by her mother. The nurse felt the baby's forehead, feeling its coolness, and reassured the mother that they would attend to her and her children as soon as possible. "We'll get your histories and take your vital signs as soon as we take care of these people before you."

The mother obviously didn't want to wait. "You mean I have to go back in line and wait? Can't you see I'm pregnant with two kids hanging off me?" she yelled at the nurse while looking down, noticing her four year-old son missing. "Yes, maam, it does. Everyone before you has been patiently waiting their turn as well. We will be with you as soon as possible, though. If you would like a wheelchair to sit in while you're waiting, we can provide you with one."

"Screw that," the mother said to the offer, before screaming her missing son's name at the top of her lung, adding a few expletives that the entire waiting area heard. Her son came running from the back corner of the room and grabbed his mother's pant leg as she swatted his head. "Who the hell do you think you are," she said, "scaring me like that."

She retook her original position in line, the whole time grumbling and cursing into her iPhone to receptive ears. "Yeah, they making me wait on purpose. She don't like me." She was making a scene, surely, with her crescendos of frustration and anger very evident. Slowly she worked her way to the front of the line where nurse #2 was ready to help her.

"What can I do for you, maam?" the nurse asked her, paper and pen in hand, ready to write. The technician held the thermometer, ready to take one of three temperatures of this family. "You can help me by doing your god-damn job quicker," the mother answered snidely.

The nurse smartly ignored the comment, staring at the mother until the mother continued. "My baby here had a fever start maybe two hours ago and I want her seen. I want me and my son here to be seen, too, since we are gonna get what she's got."

The nurse and technician took the history of all three before doing brief exams and obtaining vital signs. The three were quite stable and none of them had a fever register. "How did you take your daughter's temperature at home?" the nurse asked, curious. "I don't have no thermometer at home," the mother said, "she was just burning up when I felt her."

The nurse reassured the mother that she and her two children appeared okay, and requested the mother have a seat in the waiting room until an available treatment room became available. "What?" the mother yelled, "you mean I have to go back to that waiting room?" "Unfortunately, yes, it does. I'm sorry for your wait today," the nurse answered. "How long is the wait out there?" the mother asked, adding a few more expletives. The nurse explained to the mother that the current wait was about three hours, but could be longer if life-threatening patients presented that needed to be immediately treated. The nurse then had the technician get the mother some formula, some diapers, and some snacks and juice to help with the wait. The mother, pissed at the world, stomped away from the triage area shaking her head.

Soon, the mother was on the phone again, cursing and bitching at an exaggerated level for the entire waiting room's benefit, leaving her four year-old unsupervised and running around the ER, swatting other young children. "Yeah, they making me wait even though I told them I was in a hurry." A waiting patient graciously gave up his seat to her, for which she said "About time" instead of offering her thanks.

During her wait, several patients signed in and were immediately taken to the back ER treatment area, skipping the wait. The mother complained. It was explained to her that patients in urgent need of treatment, such as those with intractable pain or having a stroke or heart attack, were immediately treated for possible life-saving illnesses. "I don't care about that," she said after her multiple complaints, "me and my kids need some life-saving treatment, too."

After a nearly three-hour predicted wait, this family's turn arrived to be taken to the next available treatment room. While being escorted down the hallway, the mother was very vocal in her her complaints, loud enough for all to hear, despite passing room after filled-room and cot after filled-cot in the hallways. Although she bore witness to the crazy atmosphere, this mother was bitter and defiant about being made to wait.

My physician assistant and I both agreed to attend to this family, dividing up the work between us, trying to make it a quick process. We had been given a "heads-up" by the nursing staff, both in the triage area as well as the treatment room's assigned nurse, as to the mother's disposition and lack of understanding on our busy day. Their stories supported their words. In fact, after this family was placed in their treatment room, we were told by the nurse that the mother made her wait until she finished her phone conversation, holding her index finger up to the nurse and refusing to talk until she was finished. "Why did you wait?" both the PA and I asked.

"That's nothing," the nurse added, "she also wanted two extra pillows after I adjusted the cot for her." Anyone who works in an ER knows how rare an extra pillow is, let alone two. "And," the nurse continued, "she is now demanding turkey sandwiches and pudding and juice for all of them." To placate them further, the nurse also got several blankets for them to cover with if they needed. However, this act of kindness wasn't good enough. "Hey," the mother yelled at the nurse as she was leaving the room, "these blankets aren't warm like they were the last time I was here. Take these back and get me some warm ones."

We treated the family. As suspected, the mother and four year-old son were both healthy with no abnormal findings. The two year-old had some mild nasal congestion and was otherwise as stable as the others.

After the PA and I explained the results of our exam to the mother, she demanded antibiotics for the three of them. We refused, explaining the overuse of antibiotics and their lack of need in their cases. "Then," the mother said, "I at least want a prescription for Tylenol so I don't have to pay for it."

My kids recently had URI symptoms and I knew for a fact that Equate brand acetaminophen was $2.86 a bottle. She, however, assured us that she couldn't afford that. I looked at the mother's gold necklaces, at her and her kids' designer clothes, at her iPhone and cigarettes hanging out of her designer purse, at her perfectly manicured nails, and finally at her eternal scowl while looking back at us. "And," she said, adding good measure, "I need someone to find us a ride home."

They found their own ride home. As for the Tylenol, I told the PA I didn't want to know what decision he made on writing the prescription. That decision alone, whether yes or no, could be examined by countless arguments as to the good and bad of our current medical climate.

Medicine is changing. Emergency departments are changing. In the decade-and-a-half that I have been an active, practicing ER physician, the changes have been astounding. Some good-astounding. Others frustratingly-astounding. Besides the current political and legal climates that exist, I feel firsthand the change in the attitudes of our patients and of our staff. The departments are being overwhelmed with non-emergent cases, and this is frustrating all that seem to be involved.

Is there an answer? Yes? No? Do you have one?

I was a people-person, enjoying the company of my fellow mankind. I am, admittedly, not enjoying their company as much. Instead, I am seeing more negative aspects and disheartening perspectives of humanity that are becoming more accepted by our community. I am seeing, too, the migration of great nurses and doctors away from our chosen field. Is this part of their reasons? Am I the next? I sometimes struggle to remember the great reasons I chose to pursue this career in medicine. Hopefully, with harder, more intense looking into myself, the good will be more in evidence. My father says that, at 81, he has never had a day in the forestry industry that he hasn't driven to work with a smile on his face. Most days I feel this way, too.

I only wish it could be every day.

As always, big thanks for reading... To my readers who have emailed their concerns by my lack of appearances on here, I thank you with much gratitude for your concerns. The family and I are well. To the nurses and technicians who endure triage and similar stories as above, thank you for all you do. 

40 comments:

Rick said...

Wow. Still, though..it's docs like you that make medical students like me work harder and harder toward that EM residency.

Thanks.

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

seems like that entitlement attitude is everywhere these days. did we bring it on ourselves with too many "good intention" handouts? my answer is yes, a resounding yes in fact. this all goes back to johnson and the great society plan of his. sorry doc, no answers for you but a big thank you anyway...

hugs, bee
xoxoxoxoxoox

emmy said...

Wow, poor kids. And I'm sorry you had to put up with her. That is awful.

Liz said...

doc--

don't lose faith. don't give up your emotional investment in your work.

i was a school social worker for four years. i dealt with families that had that sense of entitlement-at one frustrating moment, for example, i found out a child whose parent had recieved christmas assistance had also been given an i-phone. at the same time, i also assisted moms and dads who cried with thankfulness when they discussed how touched they were to receive a turkey for the holidays.

now i'm in a tough financial spot-- really tough-- and i am SO grateful for those individuals who have a compassionate attitude towards me and my family, rather than that jaded sense that we are out to screw the system. you are kind to people because that is who YOU are- not because of who they are. you treat your patients with love and respect because that is what you are called to do!

seeing how you behave towards that woman says something to those around you about who you are, and enhances the likelihood that they too will maintain a respectful attitude.

doctors that care make more than a life or death difference-- they also make a hope or despair difference.

much love,

liz

Cal said...

Glad to be reading your writing once again!
Sorry about the stuff you have to endure ... Really, I think I would find it unbearable. But thank you for soldering on, and making someone's day a better one too, as no doubt you do.

kristi said...

I work with people over the phone everyday. They get more and more brazen everyday. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

I was once in the ER with suspected heart attack (it wasn't)and there was a guy there for chapped lips. They made him wait over 8 hours and he stayed. Some people!

Ianto Jones said...

I am a frequent reader of a great many medi-blogs, and of all of them, yours continues to be one of the most people-positive. It is comforting and refreshing. I can certainly understand the frustration that medical professionals experience, just as you've described here.

And as a lifelong CSR/Tech agent, I at least have _some_ reference for constant interaction with the general population.

But just as I always took comfort in the positive interaction (like walking an 86-yo grandmother through setting up her own DSL installation, so she could stay in closer contact with her family), I know that the few who are legitimately grateful for your efforts (whether dangerously ill, or just frightened and in pain).

My family and I pretty much know better than to go to the ER; there area very few things that are actually life-threatening. Even a badly-sprained wrist was iced and wrapped, and to our GP in the morning (we knew it could've been worse than we thought, but - apart from stronger pain meds (and ibu seemed more likely to help anyhow, and without the gastro complications of opioids), there was nothing they'd do that we couldn't do at home 'til business hours...and since it would've rightly been a several-hours wait at the ER b/c it wasn't dangerous, we decided not to waste resources by going in...)


The only visits we've had in the past several years were for intractable gastric pain (rule-out appendicitis that ended with a lap-choly instead), and for what turned out to be a fairly severe case of community-acquired pneumonia and resulted in a three-day admission...and I can't tell you how positive that experience was; everyone was *so* kind and considerate.
My partner has some learning disabilities and I'm in a powerchair; they broke policy and let me stay overnight with her even though she wasn't a child, to alleviate her terror.
(And no, I didn't ask them to feed me; I ate the cereal bars and such from our pack while I also acted as a PCA for her, taking some of the work off of the nurses...I fed her, bathed her, made sure she had water, etc...)

Anyhow. Just wanted to put one out there re: some of us *do* fully appreciate you and your co-workers.
And there *are* kind, decent people out here, even those of us with no funds who need public ERs. And no, we don't have iPhones or fancy clothes. The largest expense we have besides rent, is that we're desperately trying to focus on better food (more fresh veg and fruit).

If you want to talk about actual crime in this world, it's that *healthy* food costs like three times as much as the McD dollar menu, or bulk-packs of frozen burritos at the dollar store...right alongside the sugar-cereal that has two out of five first ingredients as high-fructose corn syrup and refined sugar...while the healthier cereal is also twice as much.

Sorry for the mini-rant at the end; not on topic for your post or this response, but I thought your readers were an appropriate audience for that...

Take care, and all the best to you and your family!

MMM, RN said...

It's true Doc, don't lose faith. That story is all to familiar. Being a Christian while treating these patients is quite challenging at times for me. It's not my job to judge, it's my job to love, but I tend to be a "TOUGH LOVE" kind of nurse. The thing I have learned is that I am not going to change them and they need to know I am here to help, but am not here to condone their condescending behavior or entitled personality. But seriously, don't lose faith. Good always overcomes bad! Praying for you!

Katie said...

Good to see around, Jim!

I don't really know what else to say... except the Baby Ruths are on their way. ;-) (Bonus points for rhyming sentences, right?)

<>< Katie

rlbates said...

Good to see you writing again, Dr Jim. Glad there are still docs like you practicing.

Shash said...

We make a mistake by saying that we can't turn people away from the ER. Maybe we still have to look at them but does it have to be in the ER?

Can't we put the minor problems on a slide that shoots them down to a facility that deals with less urgent health issues. Or should we drop a sledgehammer on their foot so they really have a problem and then ask them "Which ear hurts again?"

Anonymous said...

Would the hospital get in trouble if another patient in the waiting room told this miserable woman off?

A knot was forming in my stomach reading this story.

Kristen G.

Nate D said...

Hey Dr. Jim,
Just wanted to let you know that I'm happy to see you posting again, although sad that you're feeling so down-trodden.
I certainly understand the sentiment though, having spent 8 years working in EMS before going to medical school. Now I'm in the middle of interview season for my emergency medicine residency. I actually referenced you and your blog in my personal statement and have been able to discuss it at a couple of interviews.
Before coming to medical school I could feel a lot of burn out in my co-workers and could even feel it rubbing off on me. I was afraid that it simply was not possible to work in emergency medicine for any length of time without becoming jaded and cynical to the point of needing to leave the ED. I did, and still do, read blogs from a number of other EM bloggers and have seen this happen to some of them. When I found your blog it gave me back hope that there is a way to be an excellent emergency physician, care for our patients and still appreciate their humanity and find joy in a sometimes very difficult field to find it in.
I certainly hope that you can hang on to your empathy and amazing attitude and continue to be an example to those of us just beginning our careers!

Thanks for all you've helped teach me!
Nate.

FDMedic said...

Thanks for writing, doc.

That was a crappy experience for all the staff involved. In my time in EMS, I've tried to detach myself from the frequent fliers and free riders, focusing instead on the people who genuinely need my help, emergent or not. The little old lady needing a lift assist, the five year old with a broken arm and distraught parents - those are the grateful patients that I look forward to assisting. And that's what keeps me going to school to become a better healthcare provider.

Hang in there, doc.

Anonymous said...

The problem in the ER is that it's not just THIS woman. We get several of these patiens each and every shift to some degree. I've only worked in the ER for just over two years and I feel that this job has sucked my soul from me. I'm close to leaving the ER for good.

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Dr Jim, so good to see you pop into my window. Hope all is well in DrJim-Landia; hard to keep smiling in the face of an adventure like the one you described today. If people with your characteristics quit the field, we will be left with hardened practitioners who have little compassion left to give.

Between the “entitled to” and the drug-seekers your job is thankless. May I take this opportunity to say from the bottom of my heart “I appreciate all you do and all you stand for in this field. Also for what you have in you to teach the next generation of Emergency Physicians, I thank you."

littlepretendnurse said...

Hey Doc! Great to "see" you again. I have counted you family in my prayers many times these last weeks. Glad to know you are all well.

I too have had similar feelings of late. It has really gotten to me recently when patients tell me how to be a nurse. Tell me how to practice the craft I have been doing for nine years now. I even explained to one patient twice (on two separate admissions) that he really should be nice to the nurse who controls the narc box. Luckily for me he thought I was joking. I wasn't.

Keep the faith Doc. Remember those reasons we started down this path. They are coming fewer and farther between but maybe that will make them all the sweeter when they do appear.

God bless with many prayers and thoughts headed your way.

kate-monster said...

I was chatting with a friend who is in the middle of an EM residency program and he articulated that he feels, more often than not, entirely unappreciated for the services he provides at work. As the partner to an emerg doc and seeing how hard he works, I sincerely hope he is wrong. I wish every person could see how thoughtful my partner is about patients, their care, and his constant pursuit of always doing the best he can at his job. I think if people knew better what you do, they would have a far greater appreciation and respect for their constant availability to emergent healthcare.

On the flip side, my fiance recently cared for a woman in her first trimester of pregnancy who had been nauseous round the clock for weeks and was at her wits end. During her visit he controlled her nausea, performed the first ultrasound of her baby and he said he's rarely seen a person so happy in the emerg as she. Sometimes it's the little things too that make people so thankful of the care that is available.

Keep on keepin' on and thanks for another post, I always look forward to them :)

kate

Mr Mobius said...

I would have took great satisfaction in telling them that as their kid did not present with a fever, there is no clinical indication to prescribe it, and as such you WILL NOT be giving her tylenol but she is free to go pay for it herself. A patient requesting a drug is not a reason to prescribe a drug, so I would have took great satisfaction in refusing her request.

Sometimes got to be cruel to be kind. It might make her less likely to come for a trivial thing, but hopefully she'd have enough sense to come if something truly serious happened to her child.

Beezy said...

Glad you’re back Doc. In a couple years hopefully I'll be hustling in an ED somewhere. I often worry how jaded I will become with humanity If i were to encounter this attitude day in and day out. I’ve decided to view it as a ministry. And in ministry sometimes it will be uncomfortable. Hopefully I will be able to handle it with as much grace as you do... and then erase the bad taste in my mouth with a nice handful of banana laffy taffy. Thanks for inspiring us med students

Me said...

Glad you're back. You've been missed.

Eclectic Bohemian said...

Yes, as one poster already put it..."seems like that entitlement attitude is everywhere these days."

ERdoc, you were much more calm than I would have been. First, had I been her nurse and she "told" me to wait by holding up her finger while on the phone...pfffft! I would've politely said "I'll come back when you're not so busy on the phone." People who shamelessly waste everyone's time like that aggravate the hell out of me. (Not to mention taking up a coveted ED bed)

I would have also given her a speech on the dangers of overuse of antibiotics. (Not likely that she would have listened)

I would have made her visit to the ED as UNpleasant as possible. (i.e. She would have been there for HOURS) I know some places will push people like that through asap. Not me. If it takes an obscene amount of time for them to get through the process, maybe they'll think twice before dragging in with a NON-emergency.

AtYourCervix said...

If it makes you feel any better (probably not), we have patients like this on labor and delivery all the flipping time. They come in via EMS (aka the free taxi service), and are almost always discharged with some minor diagnosis (or none at all), and have to walk the "walk of shame" out of the unit ---- to find their own way home.

Sarah said...

I almost cried reading all the comments. To echo everyone- thank you for what you are doing. It is a ministry. It also reminds me to give a heartfelt thanks anytime I may encounter the ER (heaven forbid!). I agree with Empress Bee- the sense of entitlement is a monster that the government helped create, likely unknowingly. Unfortunately I don't have an answer, although I think reform to the EMTALA laws are definitely in order.
And perhaps better access to general practitioners for those on Medicaid? I know MCD payment sucks. So don't ask me how to get the practitioners :)

I definitely would NOT have given the Tylenol prescription.

SeaSpray said...

Frustrating, angering and disheartening - knowing people act like that ...and think it is alright to do so.

Mostly sad for her and her children because she doesn't realize how gratitude and kindness is uplifting. Appreciation for even the little things. And her children ...what are they learning?

I couldn't help but wonder what happened to her in her life ..or did not happen. is this a generational behavior or societal loss of values?

I think you all handled it well and can only imagine the looks and conversations beyond what you wrote for the post. And the temptation to retaliate. But ..you took the high road.

Probably won't get a good press ganey either.

I feel sad and worried when I hear doctor and nurses quitting the profession.

And I feel the same when I see how much life with values -respect for others and property, good manners, compassion, kindness, etc has deteriorated. And ridiculous lawsuits.

I'd love to have a phone with Internet but cannot justify it since our current financial situation dictates paying the bills and I'm not working yet - although hope to me and am looking. Close, but no cigar. Even when I do land a job ...it will be a while before I could indulge in such luxury. And my cell phone now is as cheap and no frills as possible with sprint, no texting and only 200 minutes which I never use up. You don't miss what you never had. :)

Jim what you have going for you ...is that you are upbeat, appreciative, have faith,a sense of humor, and more. On the inane days with patients like that ...try to remember WHY you do it and the lives YOU *HAVE* made a difference with. We need good doctors. Thank you for all that you do! :)

Remember Andy Griffith, lassie, leave it to beaver and shows that had values. I know people put them down and say real mothers aren't Donna Reed and I am glad for all the things that have improved in society. But ...i also do think there was something to be said for teaching morals and values.

I remember as a little girl ...taking the "Davey and Goliath" show soooo seriously and wanting to do things right because of what I learned. :) And there are good modern shows and I am no prude or not up for a good laugh with adult sophistication. But, for young people still in formative years ...it is so important to instill good values. And I disagree with no absolutes. They need to learn the basic right and wrong with consequences.

And what CAN we all do as a society? Sometimes I feel like what was right is now wrong and vice versa. Too much regulation interfering with everyday common sense. Sorry so long. :)

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, these days, patients like this are a dime a dozen. They waste the time of everybody in the ER and even more importantly take the resources away from people who really need help.
The amount of entitlement patients feel in the US is unbelievable and is one of the major reasons why I quite practicing medicine. This was the first story I've read on your blog so I don't know what kind of places you have practiced but I highly recommend treating patients in a 3rd world country. They will line up for days to see you and even if you can't do a thing for him will thank you for your time and your attempt to try and help them. It's what medicine used to be and should be.

Anonymous said...

People say you teach people how to treat you. Giving her extra stuff, just re'enforces her belief that she will get more if she yells more. You should have treated her to the minimum. All you did was make her worse by positive reenforcement.

Anonymous said...

I love reading your blog. I started reading medi-blogs after a life threatening experience in an er. A nurse gave me morphine even though I had specifically told them that I had an anaphylactic shock reaction to it. Things worked out fine in the end, but there were some miserable days in the middle. It turned out that the nurse simply hadn't believed me. I started to read medi blogs to figure out what was going on that would lead to such a situation. That was when I became aware of the culture of drug seeking and entitlement which is sapping the life out of ER's. I guess the question that I don't understand is this -- why do people assume that they will get free food and transport from a hospital. I understand if they play the system and call an ambulance that they will get a free ride there. However, why do hospitals give the patients who turn out not to have a reason for their visit, cab rides home?

Honestly, I think that one solution, which I understand is being or has been implemented in Portlad, OR would require that all ER's share info. I think that might help with the drug seeking, but not with the food and taxi service seekers, unless everyone agreed not to do that.

Thanks for trying to treat everyone like human beings. It does make a difference. In my own situation, it turned out that because I am a middle age woman, who has to take several drugs for severe lung disease, that I fell into some stereotype for drug seeking (prescription drug abuse assumed because I listed allergies to numerous drugs - which I am in fact allergic too.) So keep the faith, and know that there are people out there who appreciate that you do keep the faith.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree with the entitlement attitude in EMS. I made a career change as I realized the cynicism I felt at work was affecting my life. I now work in a different area and it is much better. However, I had 2 bouts of Septic Shock that I am very grateful for the life saving tx. that an ER Doc provided, so here's a big Thank You to the field!

ButDoctorIHatePink said...

Now that Wal-Mart is opening up small clinics, maybe some of those patients will go there instead of the ER.

I know I waited too long to go to the ER recently (I was septic and had c-diff colitis - it was a holiday weekend and my doctor told me to go to ER - I actually asked if I could wait until Sunday morning when I thought it would be quieter). Mainly, I tried to put it off because I didn't want to triage behind people with colds, and I didn't feel healthy enough to sit there and wait. (Obviously, I had no idea how sick I was, and I spent two days in intensive care and seven on the ward - no waiting). It's sad that so many people use the ER as their primary care system as it makes those of us who need it not want to go.

It's a good thing I don't work where you do, as I'd have had security go talk to that woman about her profane talk and the comfort of other people who had to wait too.

I work in a school and I see a lot of entitlement. Some parents want everything free, and yet their children are carrying iPhones and wearing designer shoes. They can't, however, seem to pay their art fee, for a field trip, or for their gym clothes, so it either comes out of a teacher's pockets or a very meager school budget. They take away from kids who really need it, which is sad.

You have to treat these people, and we have to give them what they request for free, and lots of people know how to game the system. That doesn't mean we have to make it easy for them. I personally will not allow anybody to swear at me. I hope that nurse did not get that woman warm blankets while somebody else truly sick was waiting for pain meds or other help.....

Just try to keep the truly sick patients who need you in mind. I was one and I am so grateful to the men and woman who took care of me, and saved my life and did it with compassion. Without people like you, people like me would be dead.

Margaret said...

All right darn it! Where ARE you?!

Anonymous said...

Jim! We miss you! Come back!

Anonymous said...

I hope everything is well with you. I miss your blogs.

CT tech said...

Hope everything is o.k. with you and your family.

Nurse and Hospital Stories said...

"I only wish it could be every day."

I'm also wishing for it too,that I will have a smile on my face everyday of my work days, eh. People are good at heart they say but there are also individuals that are really bad and use good people for their own benefits. Sad, but the reality.

Thanks for the share,
Peny@nursing shoes

G-31 Toastmasters said...

Unfortunately, rude people are everywhere. :-(
I hope you continue your career without letting the rude-ies get you down. I hope you continue to write. I hope your smile stays easily generated. Spring is coming. Crocuses, Daffodils, Spring peepers, turtles.... The end of winter is in sight. May Spring bring you new joys and new smiles.

katie said...

thank you thank you thank you! i'm an ER nurse, just found your blog. this happens every single day in my county hospital. thank you for resisting cynicism and digging a little deeper.

A.M. said...

Just discovered your blog. Maybe you need to change it up a bit...I work part-time in a county hospital ER where we see TONS of entitlement behavior like this every day. Literally, probably half of my patients on any given shift are like this lady.

There is no way I could work there full-time; I would lose all my compassion. So I spend most of my working time in the pediatric critical care unit. Reeeally helps bring your compassion back to take care of defenseless children, who are 1000x tougher than adults and pretty much never rate their pain 10/10 or drug-seek or even know that there is a system to be gamed. Taking care of precious kids like that restores the soul that gets sucked out of me in the ER.

Maybe a PRN job in an different area, as a supplement to your ER work, is in order. :)

G-31 Toastmasters said...

I re-read this. i remembered the last time I was in the ER (for me, not my kid ir kids). i had some wicked abdominal pain. movement was awful. when triaged i said my pain was "worse than swearing-level but not bad enough for crying". it's hard to quantify pain. anyway, belly exam made me raise the pain to "past swaring, now crying". worst pain of my life? not by far. i said "i have migraines so bad I can't stop puking, and I had an induced early labor for pre-eclampsia with only a Tylenol and a cup of tea. this pain is nowhere like that.". i waited my turn, i waited for the CT machine to be available, I waited for an ultrasound tech to come in. i asked for a tylenol. i tried to sleep. eventually someone convinced me to accept some tramadol, and then I slept. the ER doc said I was the most patient person in the whole place. all i was trying to do was stay polite even if the pain was past the swearing & crying stage. it all boils down to manners, I believe. i am not Miss Manners by any means, but I do know Please & Thank You. I work with Kindergarten students and I'm a stickler for the bare minimum of please & thank you. they can treat me like a slave ("Tie my shoe!"), but I am not. so i feel perfectly within bounds to shame them a bit ("was there a please in there? or was it a demand?") If no other adult in their little lives will teach them the importance of AT LEAST please & thank you, then I will make it part of MY JOB (for a pittance) to ensure at least 40 Kindergarten students know those words. anyway, rudeness is cultural and so is courtesy. i hope you encounter courteous people today and drive home with a smile. blessings on you & your family. (Now I have to battle with recaptcha on my ohine to try to send this to you.... recaptcha is my kryptonite)