Tuesday, July 11, 2006

jack of all trades

Just some random things, from recent shifts:
  • I disconnected and flushed out an IV in a dude's frickin' external jugular vein.
It turns out you look extra-hard for air bubbles when you're eight centimeters away from the brain. I know, I know: like all veins, the jugular goes toward the heart and therefore away from the brain. In the moment, though, you sort of question everything, and imagine this could be the one guy in 10,000,000 who has some weird anatomical variation, and it might actually be in the artery. And if you've seen enough made-for-cable movies, you know: you can totally kill a dude like that.
  • I got to be an auxilliary foot-rest for a paraplegic patient.
This takes a little explaining. See, the patient came in via ambulance, so his own chair wasn't there. The transport company sent a guy with the lamest chair evah, one with no foot-rests at all. So rather than the patient suffering the indignity (and possible injury) of having his feet tucked under and dragging, I just walked backwards in front of him, looking for all the world like a mobile shoe-shine boy.

It was hella stupid, from the point of view of "send the right equipment, ya losers." The patient was annoyed that I had to deal with it, and I was annoyed that the patient had to deal with it. We concentrated our mutual hate on the dude who brought the chair, and that was sort of cathartic. I like to think he, in turn, learned a valuable lesson about life, and therefore everyone wins. If not, then screw the company he works for. Bahhhh.
  • I was a carpenter.
I love how we have all this high-tech stuff, and when somebody needs to go home with a cane, we grab one from the Ortho closet, and adjust it to size. Ahhh, but why should that be strange, you ask? Well, they're regular, old-school, wooden canes. Which means we grab the cane, then grab the hand saw hanging right there, and we go on in to see the patient.

Which means you have a choice; you can talk to the patient beforehand and tell them what you're doing, or you can be evil and just stroll into the room with this SAW in your hand. I was my usual gracious self, so the patient had been forewarned. I entered the room and said, "yep -- that leg will have to come off," but he just laughed. Sometimes I am way too easy on people.

UPDATE 7/11: Two canes in two days. I guess my job is merely that odd. There's nothing special about busting out the saw at all.

I do find it kind of charming that someone took a marker to the wide part of the sawblade, and in big block letters wrote "ORTHO." As if we would use it anywhere else. Even better, though, is that a second person's handwriting added "Cane Saw" nearby. I am fighting the temptation to write on the other side, "AMPUTATION SAW" or "OL' RUSTY."

No comments: