“You will be angry and bitter and hostile today…”
Posted by Amy on March 9, 2007
As I’m walking in to the hospital before every shift, I try to psych myself up. I give myself words of encouragement. I whisper helpful little mantras like, “Today, you’re going to be smart. You’re going to be compassionate. You’re going to be fast and make only good decisions. Today is going to be a good shift”. The guys watching the hidden cameras in the back stairwells probably think I’m nuts.
Some days, I’m a good doctor and some days I’m a nice doctor and some days I’m both. Some days I’m neither. I think today I might have been neither. I definitely wasn’t both. The following things irritated me today (and continue to irritate me, even though I’m at home now, sipping a glass of wine and wearing my favorite blue jeans)….
- My third patient had just been seen and discharged hours before by the overnight doctor. Why are you back? You’re fine. Go home. Stop coming here.
- Nurse Nancy kept calling me and pausing for long periods of time before getting to the point, “Doctor…. (long pause), you know that guy in room 10 …..(pause)…. well he’s wanting some Tylenol….. (pause)……”.
Nancy, please, just speak fast. And concise. And give the man some Tylenol already.
- My bladder stayed full all day. One 20 ounce coffee. Two 32 ounce diet sodas. One bladder. No urine. For 10 hours. Why? Because Mr. So-and-So needs a work note and Mrs. So-and-So doesn’t look so good, and Mr.45-year-old So-and-So’s mother is on the phone and wants to know why her son’s not getting antibiotics for his virus. Etc. etc. etc.
- My patients would not leave. I kept dispo’ing them and they would not leave. AND they’d want to talk to me again about why they would not leave. Note to patient: When I stop by your room and ask if you’re feeling better and you say “yes” and I say that you get to go home now and then I ask if you have any more questions and you say “no” then you cannot decide two minutes later that you do indeed “need to talk to the doctor”. We already did that. You’re already leaving. I’m busy. Please leave.
- My consultants wouldn’t call me back. Mr. Surgeon, I know you’re busy (like me) but please call me back. I’m not stalking you because it’s fun. I’m not calling to ask about your family vacation or see how your golf game is going – I actually need to talk to you. If you are on call, then you are supposed to keep that little pager-thingy on you at all times and when it goes off, you answer it. Easy Shmeasy.
- Everybody has the flu. EVERYBODY. It’s ubiquitous in this town right now. Do you feel achy, feverish, and nauseated with a sore throat, cough, diarrhea and possibly headache? You have the flu. You did not get your flu shot. Perhaps next year you will.
- Mr. Spot reminded me of one of my least favorite patient-isms after I told him that I would be giving him a prescription for pain medication for this 10/10 (it’s always 10/10 pain, isn’t it?) pinky finger pain he got after punching a wall…”Doc, let me tell you about my situation….” which invariably leads to a sob-story about having no money to fill the prescription pain medications that I’m about to give him. Fine. Don’t fill it. Be in pain. OR, pawn your cell phone and your wife’s iPod and cut down on the smokes and you can afford a $5 prescription for Vicodin.
- Upon greeting him in Fast-Track (sort of an urgent care where we see quicker-to-disposition type patients), Mr. Dot’s first question to me was “Let me ask you something, Doc, what do you mean when you say ‘Fast-Track’ because I’ve been here for two hours?”. Well, Mr. Dot, maybe you should take your “rash for a week” and go see your PCP.
- I didn’t get to eat anything all day. Missed breakfast. Missed lunch. Missed snack time. The patients just kept on coming and the last thread of my good work ethic made me keep pounding away, seeing each one, solving the world’s problems one runny nose at a time. Man, I’m hungry.
- Which leads to me to my latest problem – somebody ate my pizza. It was in the refrigerator (at home – we’re at home now, try to keep up) and I was going to eat it after my shift and now it’s gone. Kitty, was that you? Great, now I have to go back out again. Boy, did I want that pizza.
Well, that’s it. No words of wisdom. No heart-warming stories about how fabulous I am or how fantastic my sweet patients are. Not today. It was a crap day full of nonsense and idiocracy and bad moods. I think I better try a little harder with my morning mantra-talking tomorrow.