Friday, May 28, 2010

Would you go back to work?

Recently I had a patient who was a podiatry student. She'd been in an accident but fortunately a thorough workup showed that she had escaped without any injuries. As she was about to leave she asked for a work excuse. I told her that I'd be happy to write her a note saying that she'd been seen in the emergency department, but I couldn't say that she was impaired -- after all, I'd worked her up and found nothing wrong, and if I had found anything wrong she wouldn't be leaving the ED, she'd be staying for treatment.

Then she said to me, "but I have to go back and take care of patients. You wouldn't go back to work if you were in my situation, would you?" Generally I avoid discussing my personal health experience with patients, but if they ask directly I try to answer honestly. So I said that yes, I wouldn't have a choice, I'd have go back to work and take care of patients. She didn't really believe me and pressed the question. Especially since she was a healthcare student herself, I wanted to level with her. So I told her about how I had just broken my foot two weeks ago. Not only did I not get any time off work, I worked back-to-back 12 hour shifts, hobbling around in an ortho shoe.

She paused, then said, "Sounds like you need a podiatrist." True! Then she turned to her father and said, "Podiatry is a lot nicer than Medicine." I wrote her a note for the rest of the day off.

My foot's feeling much better, by the way, although it doesn't look like I'm going to get time off work to go to my scheduled Orthopedic appointment.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Moving day

We moved into a delightful new apartment in the Mission yesterday. And despite the broken foot and the back strain and the muscle ache, I was able to function at work today.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Winning the Game

One in a great while, we manage to clear the board in the Emergency Department -- that is, discharge every single patient. This is known as winning the game. There are people who have worked in EDs for years and have never been there for the occasion.

Last night we won the game. Totally surreal. We celebrated by turning down the lights and having a party: funk playing over the PA system, the bar code lasers on glucometers for strobe lights, an oxygen tank with a nebulizer for a fog machine, and a Wood's lamp for a black light. It was amazing. Of course, we needed to document the occasion:

Then, about half an hour before the morning shift came on, we were back down to one patient in the department -- mine. "No pressure," said the attending. I ran back to the room, dressed the patient's wound, and we cleared the department again; we were able to sign out an empty board to the oncoming team. Of course, we had to get proof again:

I've never been in the ED for one of these, and I doubt I'll ever see it again twice in one shift. But I'll savor the memories forever....

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