Friday, December 02, 2005

I'm Not Sure What To Call This

I am at work, which is rather slow, which is good, because I am working on a stomach bug of some sort and prefer not to stand up. Sitting is good. Lying down is better. The nurses keep offering to give me an IV, but so far I am making out OK with flat Coke in a styrofoam cup; at least, I haven't yet given in to the urge to curl up like a limp shrimp beneath my desk.

Also, preceeding paragraph to the contrary, it's hard to work up a good case of the poor-me's in an ER. The last patient I saw was here for an emergency med refill because she just left her abusive husband and can't go back home for her pills. Her social worker from the shelter, who looked about twelve, was with her, and they were going to go to the drugstore after their ER visit, and then back to the shelter so she (the patient, not the social worker) could sleep. She said she couldn't think what else to do, and the social worker and I agreed, loudly, that sleep was a good idea. She said she was going to have to start all over from scratch, that she had nothing. She said when she was last in the ER she'd had an injury she told the doctor was from falling down the stairs, but that in fact her husband had been the cause. She said she was upset and felt guilty that she'd lied to the doctor.

I told her that the doctor would have understood, that I understood, that ER staff encounters these kinds of problems on an unfortunate daily basis and that no-one, me included, would blame her for either the injury or her presentation of it to the doctor. I filled her scripts and sat on my little rolling stool for a while, listening to her, and then shepherded her out with the social worker. I could hear her tearfully telling her story again to the receptionist outside the ER. That's supposed to be one of the markers for PTSD: obsessively reliving the traumatic experience over and over.

I just looked over at my computer where the patients are listed and saw another one: a child in for "possible abuse."

Now it's a little later. There's been a code--a lady came in with back pain which turned out to be an abdominal aortic aneurysm, which ruptured while she was on the way to CT. There's been another bleed, this one in someone's head; he got transferred to the University. I saw a teenager, seven months pregnant, in because her drug-addicted mother beat her up. Her father's just gotten out of jail after twelve years--I didn't ask for what. She lives with her grandmother, who is debilitated and requires constant care. She hasn't lived with her mother since she was eight, when her mother walked out on her and her nine year old brother, leaving them to look after themselves for two weeks in a strange city. She says yes, she thinks it would be nice to have someone to talk to.

I don't have anything to say about all this, because anything I say will sound pompous and stupid. But I want to record it. Also I want to go home and watch the movie of the play "Wit," with Emma Thompson. I'm stammering away here, but "Wit" addresses everything I'm talking about with grace and elegance and urbanity. Plus, it's mordantly, relentlessly funny, in the way only a play about ovarian cancer and John Donne's Holy Sonnets can be.

Why is it that the more earnest I get, the shorter my sentences become?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Bihari,
I love you.
You are the best.
Always-got-your-back (at least psychically) in WV

6:25 PM  
Blogger SER said...

I am commenting with a request: please blog about the hematoma that the Rabbit gave you last night at the supper club. Heh!

8:41 AM  

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