There were no patients to be seen when I walked down the hallway to get a cup of coffee. But when I returned to the nurses’ station, Heather, one of the regular night nurses, was holding a chart and looking at me, quizzically. “You have to see this guy,” she said. “I don’t have a clue what’s going on.”
Sometimes you end up working a holiday because you are too lazy to check the calendar. Believe it or not that’s just how I ended up working on my last birthday. Thank goodness it wasn’t my wife’s birthday. But when I entered the ER last night and saw all the hearts hanging on the walls, I realized I’d blown it again.
It was my turn to work New Year’s Eve and I was hoping against hope that bad weather, the down economy and fate in general would combine to make it a slow night. I would have settled for even a slow start to the night. But it was not to be. The jammed parking lot was my first clue and it was cause for a deep preparatory sigh and an additional squirt of stomach acid as I trudged through the ambulance doors.
“Hmmm,” I said, half snorting, half sighing as I scanned my email in-box. “It looks like now every insurance policy is going to have to cover psych admissions.”
I’m proud of the fact that I’m self sufficient in the emergency
department. And it irritates the fire out of me to see prima donnas
(read surgeons) come into the department and require the entire staff to
follow them around to do little things they could do for themselves. I
guess you could say that I was trained well by a charge nurse by the
name of Beatrix where I did my residency.