Monday, May 21, 2012
Emergency Room Visits
I was recently reminded that emergency room visits are not the norm for most people. I know this to be true, but it's easy to forget because I go there all the time to work. You severed your finger using a table saw? Yeah, people do that all the time. You think you have a kidney stone and the pain is a 12 out of 10? We have just the thing. Chest pain? We know what to do - happens every day.
Based on my patient's symptoms, I grabbed an EKG machine and rolled it into the room. As I was checking out the electrical activity of his heart, a family member behind me said, "Keepin' the same hairstyle, huh?" I quickly cased the room, but there was no one else in there he could be talking to.
"Are you talking to me?" I said. "Yeah. You wore your hair like that the last time I was in here - with my mom." I didn't recognize the guy, so I asked him when that was. "Oh, you were still training so it was a few years ago...must have been 2007." Hoping she was still alive and well, I asked about his mom. He said she's doing just fine these days (praise the Lord - that could have been awkward).
I was, indeed, in orientation in 2007, but seeing dozens of patients a day, I really only remember a few of them. Several, however, have remembered me. I don't think this is because I'm extra special or anything like that, but because it's out of the ordinary for them to go to the ER. When they do, they often remember the nurse that took care of them.
"Duh!" All you out there are saying, but I need a reminder every once and a while. People come into the ER scared and hurting and there is so much opportunity to have an impact on their lives, whether they remember their nurse years later or not. This guy's comment inspired me to remember that.
"And as you go, preach, saying 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give." Matthew 10:7-8