Friday, September 28, 2007

We charge extra for crazy.

While usually families come in a big package of crazy, on occasion I will come across a perfectly normal patient with a family that makes me use every tiny bit of self control to 1) not start yelling 2) not make fun of them, to their face and 3) not start laughing, again, to their face. Number 3 is usually the hardest and I am still working on that one.

In this story, my patient, Lindsay, came in for a labor check. She was taken to her room and I came in and put her on the monitor. She seems very sweet and while I can tell she is uncomfortable, she is handling herself well. At this point, I hadn't paid too much attention to her mother in the corner but as soon as she spoke up, I knew I was in for a long day.

I really wish I had an audio clip, because nothing I could type would really give the true impression of what we were dealing with but just try and picture that girl on Intervention that can barely spell her name at the beginning of the episode and frequently stumbles into walls. She is starts rambling about how she knows her daughter is really in labor this time, how she was really screaming earlier and something is wrong because she isn't screaming now, what's my name, that's her little girl, what's that monitor, please start screaming sweetie, something is wrong, her vaginal discharge looks different this time (what the hell?), please help her.

Yeah, that's what I was thinking. She really did me in when she got in her daughters face and told her she needed to scream and really act like she's in pain. This caused Lindsay, who was just two seconds ago sitting in bed calmly, to start screaming like she is being mauled by a Pitt Bull.

Now I need to step out of the room for a moment to take a few deep breaths of my own. I go up to the desk to fill out her out-patient orders and start praying she isn't really in labor. I wasn't out of her room for a full five minutes but that was all it took for a lovely surprise on my return. Her water broke. Damn, what are the odds? I go ahead and start her IV (with her mother screaming and literally trying to crawl up the wall in the background) and get her admitted.

Early into the morning, mom decides she needs to go out for a "smoke break". I take this opportunity to calm Lindsay down and have a talk with her about people who might be causing her anxiety in her room (i.e. we can kick them out for you). Unfortunately for me, and the rest of the floor, she wanted her mom there and we spent the rest of the day alternating between ear piercing screams and peace and quite while her mom was out "smoking".

Finally, everyone had had enough and her doctor decides to let her get her epidural early. I boot the mom out of the room based on her reaction to me starting the IV earlier in the day. She was probably thankful for the opportunity to go smoke some more crack and I was glad for a few moments of quiet. The anesthesiologist comes in and gets started and I am feeling rather proud that I have managed to keep myself together for points 1, 2 and 3 mentioned above.

About halfway through the procedure, the door flies open (there is a sign on the door saying an epidural is in progress and please check at the nurses station) and her sister runs in, looking like she has some sort of drug induced mental disability, screaming, "SISTER!" with tears running down her face. All three of us look up and there is dead silence while everyone looks confused. I walk over to escort the sister out the door and point her towards the waiting room. "SISS-TER! SISS-TER!" she screams as I am backing her out the door. She is literally bawling, red faced and then reaches out dramatically with one hand and a final "SISS-TER!" before I manage to get the door shut.

That was it, I looked up and made eye contact with the anesthesiologist and we both lost it in a fit of hysterical giggles.


Rachel said...

OMG thats hilarious!!! I work in Emerg.....I wonder if we can charge extra for crazy too??? I'd be a millionaire!

MarsBar said...

ROFL! We should be able to charge extra for EACH crazy person in the room, patient or family member.

I think it is only fair.