What is wrong with us?
In December 2008 alone, Americans sent 110 BILLION text messages. That amounts to more than 3 billion text messages per day. My thumbs hurt just looking at those numbers.
I’m guessing a good few hundred thousand of those messages were probably sent from our emergency department … and this whole texting thing is getting on my nerves. A LOT.
One guy comes in worried about abdominal pain. I’m trying to get a history from him and his eyes are fixated on his CrackBerry. He repeatedly hesitated answering my questions so that he could read his 27th urgent text message taking precedence over his abdominal pain. I tried to give him the hint a couple of times and repeated the questions when he hesitated with his answers. No clue.
Finally, I asked him “Should I just text you the questions?”
He looked up at me with bewilderment. “Oh. Sorry.”
Then there was a mom who apparently was putting Red Bull in her kid’s sippy cup. He was bouncing all over the room opening drawers, pulling supplies out of the drawers, stepping on the sink pedals, climbing up and down off the bed, back flips, opening and closing the door to the room, that kind of stuff. The mother, who wanted to find out what was causing her severe chest pain, was deep into a textersation and was apparently oblivious to all of her child’s antics. When I asked her questions, she would give me mostly yes or no questions, then would shake her head and change her answers after hitting the “send” button on her phone. She was even reading messages while they had her breasts exposed to do an EKG.
Her kid was annoying me to the point where I told him not to touch things inside the drawers because there were things inside that could hurt him.
His mom pulled him away from the drawers, gave him one evil eye while keeping her other eye glued to her phone, and told him to “stop it.”
Did he stop? Of course not. The sudden yank on his arm just refocused his attention to another object in the room.
He walked over to the garbage can and started stepping on the pedal that opens and closes the lid. I stopped and furled my eyebrows at him. Mom was texting away. Then the kid put his head in the garbage can and stepped on the pedal so the garbage can lid opened and closed on his head. I gritted my teeth. Mom was again oblivious. I was going to tell him to get away from the garbage when he stepped on the pedal and started picking through the contents.
“You probably don’t want to touch the gauze pads with pus and the blood in there. They smell kind of bad and could get you really sick. And that clear thing that looks like a gun in there is called a speculum. It has some really yucky white stuff all over it, too.”
Mom looked up in horror. She slammed her phone shut, yelled the kid’s name, picked him up, and rubbed his hands under the running water.
And here I was thinking that mom wasn’t listening to me.