Fun And Games Off Duty · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important!

KITTEN TAILS, PART II

With regard to the three kittens, Momma Kitty, and their transition from feral cats to indoor cats, well, as you may expect, it was a bit of a tale. TDW-Mark II had determined that the kittens were in another of our window wells, and, judging that they had been weaned, figured that we ought to bring them in, before Momma Kitty drove them off to seek their own fortunes, elsewhere. So, my wife removed the window from one of the window wells, reached out and grabbed Kitten Number One, and placed this kitten into a pet carrier that she had staged nearby.

She reached for Kitten Number Two, and placed that cat into the carrier as well.

So far, so good.

It wasn’t until she reached Kitten Number Three, that it all went wrong. This cat developed into an avatar of Shiva, Destroyer Of Worlds: Bantamweight Division. Exploding into a whirlwind of fangs and claws, Number Three escaped TDW’s clutches, and caromed, cue ball like, about the basement.

And, it was on! TDW attempted to corner the kitten, only to discover that in some kitten academy they teach moves only seen in Kung-Fu movies. Number Three levitated, twirled, and spun away, !!JUST!! out of reach, only to come to rest (relatively speaking) beneath some appliance or another. Once, she had figured out how to access the kitten, she (the kitten) would bolt away, leaping, gazelle like, over another appliance, and then jet around like some furry bottle rocket.

Fortunately, kittens do not have tremendous stores of energy, and therefore, after more swearing and running around (on everybody’s part), Number Three slowed down, just enough, for TDW to throw a towel over her, and wrestle her (the cat) into the carrier.

We settled the kittens into the upstairs bathroom. We figured that accustoming the kittens to our presence would Do Good Things such as reduce the furry superball impressions that they enacted for our benefit, each time we attempted to handle them.

THAT took some time to show any effect. One of the kittens, subsequently named Olivia (due to her peaceful- think olive branch-disposition), rather quickly noticed the humans=food correlation, and even would purr when cuddled, and petted, in TDW-Mark II’s lap. Her twin, named Henrietta (after the chickenhawk character in the Foghorn Leghorn cartoons), soon followed suit, purring up a storm when she was petted and cradled in TDW’s (or my) lap. This, in keeping with her namesake, followed Henrietta’s looking at us, and emitting a kittenish snarl, as if to remind us, “I’m Bad!”

The third kitten, due to her exploding into a whirlwind of fangs and claws whenever one of us approached her, was named “Dynamite”. Dynamite slowly warmed up to us, even, eventually, sleeping on our bed.

That, however, followed our gradually introducing the kittens to the rest of the Cat Farm. We would place them in a wire travel crate, and then settle the crate (and kittens) into one corner of the dining room, where TDW-Mark II and I commonly spend our time. There, we could supervise and, occasionally, referee, the developing acquaintance of the kittens with the rest of the menagerie.

One of the older cats decided that he would wander over to say hello (or whatever cats say in such circumstances). He plopped his large self down near the wire, and spent time looking at the kittens, occasionally reaching in their direction with one paw.

Henrietta, true to her namesake, remonstrated with him, snarling with all the kittenish gravitas that she could muster. Which is to say, nearly silently, and not so very intimidating.

After several days of this, we opened the door of the crate, allowing them (the kittens) to wander. The older cat, Max, appeared to take upon himself the role of mentor/uncle, as, for example, Henrietta would burst into loud purring whenever she had the opportunity to curl up next to Max. He (Max) would play with the kittens, occasionally cuffing them as if to underscore his point of, say, “you are playing too rough!”

Fun And Games Off Duty · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important!

Kitten Tails

So, TINS, TIW, NOT FDASL, at home. As it turns out, I am a cat lover. Indeed, my Darling Daughter has wondered out loud “…Dad? Are we going to have to arrange an intervention?” We had three cats, early in the spring. Then a stray, known around our house as Momma Kitty, decided that our window well would be a nice place to deliver, and nurture, her litter. I learned this as she was in the midst of moving her litter from one window well to another, and appeared to have left one kitten behind.

I came to this realization as I heard plaintive meowing from the window well. I investigated and found one forlorn NOT weaned little kitten, and no mother in evidence. I scooped this furball up, and contacted our vet, he of the “Wrecks” story .

Once Furball had been examined, our vet advised that this kitten, well shy of being weaned, needed to be fostered, and likely our local Humane Society could hook us up.

We contacted them, they accepted the kitten, and promised to let us know once he was weaned and adoptable.

Weeks later, Momma Kitty wandered up on our porch, in company of three other kittens. TDW-Mark II noted that they appeared to hole up beneath our porch, and her observations suggested that they were accessible. She, as well, had observed the kittens eating from the dry food we had been placing for Momma Kitty, suggesting that they were weaned, or nearly so.

After an adventure that I might describe later, TDW-Mark II had retrieved all three kittens, although Momma Kitty escaped our clutches.

We had the kittens vaccinated, and quarantined them for a while, both to he;lp assure that they would not transmit unknown Dread Cat Disease to out three incumbent cats, as well as provide an opportunity to try to socialize them to life as housecats.

As they matured, we arranged for two of them to be neutered, and have their front claws removed. It seems that TDW-Mark II does not like her furniture shredded. Well, to be honest, neither do I.

We brought our two post op cats home, and observed them carefully. A couple of days later, one of the cats appeared to be bleeding. Closer inspection appeared to show that one of her paws had a skin flap, and this appeared to be the source of the sluggish bleeding.

Out came the medic bag, and I attempted to dress and bandage the wound.

It turns out that your average cat is not a fan of the entire wound cleaning/dressing/bandaging thing. Bad News: the entire experience is reminiscent of wrestling with a tiny fur coat full of razor blades. Good News: Olivia The Cat (for it was Olivia who was bleeding post operatively) is a very, very placid cat. Yeah, she let me know that she had hind claws and fangs, but she never once broke my skin. She would occasionally take my hand or fingers in her mouth, teeth resting on me, but hardly any pressure. Her hind feet, claws extended, would contact my other hand, and push me away, but with a gentle pressure, not with a rapid or forceful motion.

With the able assistance of TDW-Mark II, Olivia was dressed and bandaged, and I carried her to our bed, laying on top of the covers, cat cradled beside me, holding the bleeding limb elevated somewhat. She began to purr, and lay with me for nearly 40 minutes before she had Cat! Things! To! Do!, and got up, galumping around the house.

Me? I had work in the morning, and went to bed. TDW-Mark II informed me the next morning that Olivia had untangled her bandage, and slipped the entire mess down her leg, just like a sock balling up around your instep in boots on a wet, cold wintry day. So, TDW-Mark II re dressed the wound, and rebandaged it, this time using veterinary Co-Ban.

This was a much more satisfactory arrangement (well, for us at least….), and lasted until our vet could unravel things and provide some expert analysis of affairs.

A day later, Olivia returned home, and we all lived happily ever after. (well, THAT’S my story, and I’m sticking to it!)

Duty · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Sometimes You Get to Think That You Have Accomplished Something!

Fighting Disease, And Saving Lives

Gather ’round, boys and girls, and let Uncle Stretcher Ape regale you with another tale of FDASL.

So, the other week, I meandered into work, safely early (or so I thought). I was just about to drop my lunch, backpack, and coat, when the overhead page alerted: “Code Alert to walk in!”

Well, that was odd. I grabbed my stethoscope, and walked out of the office, simply to be certain that I was, indeed, in the walk in. Yep, I certainly was.

One of the MAs, looking excited, directed me to the room adjacent to where I was standing.

I entered to find a flaccid child, eyes literally rolled up into her head, as the MA at the bedside was busily obtaining vital signs. She gave me hurried report: child had arrived looking unsteady, reception had twigged, promptly to my FAVORITE “vital sign”: (“Dude Don’t Look Right”), summoned the MA staff, and, well, then things got exciting.

The child, as soon as she had been laid down, had gone unresponsive, per the report I got. I auscultated, verifying presence of air movement and heart beat. Finding a radial pulse, I went to the registrar, and asked, “Where is my bus?”

She smiled, knowing how I think, and replied, “I’ve called the ambulance already”

“Outstanding!” was my reply, and I returned to the room.

As I turned around, I noticed my physician supervisor, as well as my pediatric supervisor. I gave them a brief synopsis of what I knew, and what my plan was (“get her off to ED, as soon as humanly possible”, if I recall correctly).

Soon, EMS arrived. I gave them report, as best I could, and they packed her up and skedaddled (No, that is not strictly speaking a medical term. But, it worked for me!)

I subsequently spoke with the registrar who had first contacted mom and child. She had determined, indeed, that this child very much did not look right, and had promptly summoned assistance.

The first MA to respond, had promptly identified that this was way, Way, WAY beyond our level of care, and had initiated calling EMS, RFN (Right Freaking Now), as well as the “Code Alert”.

Good call.

So, a couple of days later, my physician supervisor, along with the administrator, passed through for a weekly review of our quality indicators. Winding up their pitch, they asked if we had anything to call to their attention. Yep, I did.

I praised the registrar who correctly, and promptly made the triage call. I praised the MA who had responded, and initiated the “Code Alert”, as well as the EMS call, properly, promptly, and effectively. I wound up by stating that they deserved praise for responding appropriately and calmly in a crisis.

This is to illustrate, again, quiet people who, taking pride in what they do, strive to improve, attend to duty, and take care of business. As Heinlein said, “Take a look around you. There never were enough bosses to check up on all that work. From Independence Hall to the Grand Coulee Dam, these things were built level and square by craftsmen who were honest in their bones.” (https://thisibelieve.org/essay/16630/)

I work with these folks. I rely on their intelligence, their judgment, their engagement with what they do. As Eaton Rapids Joe noted, “You get more of what you recognize”.

Duty · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Protect and Serve

HALLOWEEN

A long, long time ago, in a county very far away, I was an ER nurse working nights. Indeed, this was so very long ago, that The Plaintiff had not, yet, become The Plaintiff.

It so happened that one Halloween I found myself working. At that time, in that county, we had a dispatch radio in the nurses’ station. After all, in a small hospital, in a very rural county, if you have advance notice of ill tidings, well, sometimes you can gather your selves, and more effectively address the particular ill tidings that are brought to your door.

My shift started at 1900 hours, and day shift had hardly departed when the tones went off dispatching the firefighters, rescue, and sheriff’s department from a couple of townships over. The nature of the call chilled my blood: child pedestrian, pedestrian vs auto on one of the local two lane state highways.

In rural The Un Named Flyover State, traffic on our state highways commonly travels at around 60 mph. Now, KE=1/2 MV2. That means that a, oh, say, 3000 pound vehicle at 60 mph runs around 361,040 foot pounds of energy. (By comparison, a 30-06 bullet runs around 3,133 foot pounds, and will kill any large game animal on the North American continent). When this strikes a, say, 80 pound child who abruptly darts out from between parked cars, well, it is catastrophic.

And, it was, indeed, catastrophic. Responding to the call, mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, sons, daughters: the entirety of the emergency response apparatus in that corner of our county: hell, from couple of surrounding counties, as well: responded, praying, hoping, that somehow they could mitigate this disaster.

It seemed as though the medics spent seconds on the scene. It likely seemed like hours to the horrified family. One second, this child was running along, gleeful and excited at Halloween, eagerly anticipating All! The Candy! that would soon be spread out on the living room floor, and a second later, he was unconscious, broken, in the road.

The county and State Police ran interference, shutting down the expressway to speed the ambulance along it’s way. Our local city cops closed the cross streets, and the medics screamed into our parking lot, where we waited, alerted by the phone call from dispatch.

There were an amazing number of personnel in and about our ER that night. Every floor in the hospital detailed someone to either help, or stand by to see how they could help. The lab was there, cardiopulmonary, and that is not to mention the firefighters from our town, and our cops, in the parking lot, waiting to see if they, too, could help.

The ER doc was not about to half step, and employed every tool at his disposal. But, sometimes Death wins, and we can do nothing to forestall His victory.

We nurses cleaned the child up as best we could, tucking him in with clean linens, and a clean fresh gown. We tried our best to make him appear simply asleep.

The family came into the resuscitation room, and wailed their grief. In that setting, there is really nothing that you can do, nothing of any substance. We stood by, silent witnesses to their heartbreak.

Eventually, they had wept themselves dry. Neighbors assisted the parents from the room, to drive them back home. Later, they would have to plan his funeral, put away his toys, clothing, and things, and come to terms with the forever loss of their little boy.

Halloween would never ever be the same for that family.

A couple of hours later, TDW-Mark I (subsequently The Plaintiff) stopped by. She had taken our two kids then aged 6 and 3, Trick-or-Treating, and they were so darned cute, it finished me. I swept them up into a hug, and likely puzzled them by weeping. Truth be told, I suspect that TDW was surprised, herself. Until one of my partners told her the story of earlier in the night.

Duty · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Sometimes You Get to Think That You Have Accomplished Something!

If You Take Care Of Your People, Your People Will Take Care Of Business

A long, long time ago, in a city so very far away, I was an afternoon shift nursing house supervisor. In the course of my shifts, I would receive call offs from midnights, and attempt to discern that point at which nights would be short, and I would have to attempt to backfill their staffing.

One such evening, I had determined that nights would, indeed, be short. I started on the unit that was short, and called up. The first nurse I spoke with was the recipient of my stock spiel.

“Ms. Smith, golly, have I got an opportunity for you!”

She was amusedly skeptical. “Oh, you do? What sort of opportunity might that be, Mr. McFee?”

“Ma’am, I have the opportunity for you to make eight hours of time and a half, right this very night! What a deal!”

“What might I have to do, to earn this time and a half?”

“Why, simply keep your same assignment, and ride home in the morning glowing in the satisfaction that comes from a job well done!”

“Suppose I don’t have a ride home in the morning? I carpooled with Ms. Diaz, and she is completely uninterested in OT.”

I had an answer to that problem. “In that case, I’ll trot up there with a cab voucher for you!”

She was surprised. “Can you do that?”

“It certainly appears that I can, as I have the cab voucher right here in front of me!”

“But, I did not bring anything to eat later!”

“No problem. What would you like? We have KFC, pizza, Burger Biggie, and others not so far away.”

“But, I did not bring any money!”

“Who asked you for money? You’re working over, I will be sure that you eat, and have a way home. Any other concerns?”

“But, who is going to pay for the food?”

“Not you. Beyond that, not your problem!”

She sighed. “OK, let me call my husband. I’ll get to keep my assignment tonight?”

“Yep! I will so advise the night supervisor!”

“Thank you, Mr. McFee!”

“Ms. Smith, you are welcome. Thank you for being flexible!”

I caught up with the security supervisor, and asked him if one of his officers could make a chow run. I handed him a $20 dollar bill, asked for my change and the receipt, once Ms. Smith had her food.

The next day, I took my receipt to my boss, explained how I had negotiated coverage for night shift, and presented the receipt. She wrote out a petty cash voucher, and sent me to the cashier to get reimbursed.

Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact

Cross Country Adventure

So, TINS, I was NOT FDASL. Rather, youngest brother and I were driving a rental truck full of my mother’s earthly possessions back to The Un-Named Maternal State. She had died, and we were consolidating her possessions so as to end paying rental on a storage locker, once we had each kept a few items as keep sakes.

In any event, we had departed early in the afternoon, and therefore were NOT going to make the trip in one go. Gotta admit, the allure of driving through the night, well, had faded with the years. Neither of us were thirty, anymore.

As it started to get to about midnight, Youngest Brother had searched for, found, and reserved a room at a hotel something on the order of 1/3 of our way There. This hotel was described as “near the airport of (fairly large city)”. Now, I have flown a time or several, and have some expectation, expectation that I feel is not unreasonable, that there would be, ya know, SIGNS, announcing the presence of something as large as, oh, gosh, I don’t know, AN AIRPORT. Signs, no less, on the adjacent interstate highway.

Notwithstanding my expectations, I managed to drive a considerable distance past (fairly large city), and began to wonder out loud where the freaking airport, and, with it, our hotel, might be. Youngest Brother did a bit of internet searching, as well as phone map application searching, before he announced that I had managed to drive past it.

Score, ME!

So, we reversed course, and drove back, finally observing a sign announcing the airport, set way, way, way back off the side of the highway, obscured by shrubbery. We only saw it, because, unlighted, another vehicle’s headlights momentarily illuminated it.

I guess that these folks believe that if you do not know how to get tyhere, already, you don’t belong there in the first place!

Once we arrived, Youngest Brother entered, and registered us, obtaining a pair of key cards. We trundled our crap up the elevator, and found the room. This hotel used proximity key cards, and (I supposed) placing the key adjacent to the door locking mechanism would trigger the door to unlock, and we would stumble into sleepy time bliss.

Or not. The lock blinked a persistent red, and there was no whirring as of, say, unlocking, to be heard.

Youngest brother returned to the desk, there to explain the problem to the clerk and elicit a replacement, functioning, key card. He returned to report the following.

He told the clerk that the cards did not function at our lock.

The clerk asked him, deadpan, “Did the light turn green?”

Brother’s answer: “Nope!” (while thinking, ‘Of course it turned green, you idiot. The door popped open, and right now my brother and I are sitting on the sofa, eating our dinner!’)

I suggested an alternative answer. “Yeah, it turned green. And I looked all around, and never did see the butler who is supposed to open the door, turn down my sheets, and unpack my luggage! What sort of low rent establishment are you running here, anyhow?”

We did, in fact, receive a new set of keys, which worked.

Fun And Games · Fun And Games Off Duty · guns · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important!

THE WISDOM ASSOCIATED WITH HINDSIGHT!

So, the other day, My Best Man and I went to the range together. He had recently acquired a Garand that he had not yet shot, so, by way of introduction, I brought mine, along with some other guns that merited airing out. A good time was had by all, as range time = good times. “Group therapy”, so to speak.

My friend is a bit of a raconteur, so the stories never end. He told several tales regarding the CEO of his employer, and these stories revealed a soul steeped in the tradition of leading from the front, and taking care of your people = taking care of business, which equals, in our line of work, taking care of patients. Well. Taking care of them, well.

From him, with our history, these were tales of high, high praise, indeed. (He is the originator of the observation that “Little Mary Sunshine is *NOT* a force multiplier!”)

Eventually, we had shot everything that we had brought along to shoot, and noted that it had clouded up, with occasional rumbles of thunder to draw our attention. Therefore, we safed the weapons, packed up the ammunition, cased the firearms, and paraded to our vehicles.

Once everything was settled into our vehicles, well, the skies opened. We were at my conservation club range, and so I got the opportunity to exit my vehicle, unlock the gate, open the gate, exit the gate, and relock the gate. This, of course, required that I exit my nice, warm, dry truck, wade through the slough that our driveway had become (soaking my feet in the process. I *HATE* cold, wet feet!), fiddle with the lock, fiddle some more with it as I fail to correctly recall the combination, fiddle with the damned thing YET AGAIN, finally opening it. In the downpour.

As my partner exited the gate, I ran to my own truck, entered it, and realized that I had a poncho therein. I donned the poncho, and attempted to close my door.

As it developed, my truck will *NOT* exit park, and move, until the driver’s door is secured. That required me to remove the poncho from the door, and attempt, several times, to close the damned thing. Finally succeeding, I moved my truck through the gate, and re entered the cataract in order to re lock the gate.

It occurred to me, right about then, that donning my poncho (as well as, oh, I dunno, FREAKING BRINGING MY FREAKING FIRE BOOTS) might have gone a long way towards allowing me to open the gate, close the gate, lock the gate, and then return to my vehicle, without being, you might say, soaked to my damned skin.

Ah, the wisdom associated with hindsight!

Duty · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Life in Da City! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact · Protect and Serve · Sometimes You Get to Think That You Have Accomplished Something!

Sometimes, The Pucker Could Squeeze Diamonds

So, TINS, TIWFDASL at an urgent care out in Flyover Country. It was a typical afternoon, featuring a parade of sniffles, coughs, and poison ivy. Our clinic was on the south side of the road, east of Middling Sized City, and the Big Time Big Deal Hospital And Trauma Center. In other words, to get the the BTBDHATC, one would exit our driveway, and turn west (that is, LEFT!)

Abruptly, the registrar summoned me. My MA and I walked over, to behold a limp toddler. Very Not Good!

The MA escorted the male carrying the child to an exam room, and began to collect vitals. I examined the child, discovering a heartbeat (Crom be Praised!) and spontaneous respirations. The registrar collected demographic information, and I asked the adult what had happened, prior to arrival.

“Well, he started shaking, and then he stopped. He just wouldn’t wake up, so I brought him here.”

Well, the “wouldn’t wake up” part was still descriptive of the child, and I noted that I would have to call an ambulance immediately, because this could have several causes, none of them good. Indeed, “floppy child” is right up there in my Triage Catalogue Of Very Bad Things.

The adult male paused at this. “I don’t want to send him by ambulance. I’ll take him myself!”

I was surprised. I noted, “So, you *DO* realize that several of the things that caused this, could reappear, and he could stop breathing or his heart could stop. EMS is trained and equipped to deal with those things, should they occur. You, while driving, are not, right?”

He persisted. “I’ll drive him myself”.

We directed him to go there immediately, with no delay nor detour. We explicitly directed him to exit our driveway, TURN FREAKING LEFT (that is, west), and not stop until at the ED.

He stated that he understood, and would do so.

He scooped the child up, and exited the building. I sat down to chart, as well as call BTBDHATC, in order to provide them with forewarning of the sick, sick, sick child coming their way. That is, until my registrar called me, excitedly, to report that this sunovabitch had turned EAST! (exactly away from the hospital) upon exiting our driveway.

WTAF!

I had the clerk print a face sheet, and called emergency dispatch. I related the above information to dispatch, along with my concern that a critically ill child was *NOT* being taken to the ED. I provided the street address we had received, as well as the contact information.

I next called the child protective services emergency number, to report the above. I was assigned a report number, which I charted, and my own name and contact information was taken.

Several hours later I received a telephone call, from a gentleman asserting he was from CPS. I asked him to confirm the report number, the child’s date of birth, name and address of our record. He did confirm all these details.

He queried me about the particulars of the child’s presentation. I supplied the requested information. I asked how the child was. The worker paused, and said, “Well, I am not allowed to provide information regarding an ongoing investigation, particularly one where the child in question has been hospitalized. I’m sorry. “

My response? “Yeah, it’s too bad you couldn’t tell me if the child had been hospitalized or anything. I understand. Thank you.”

Fun With Suits! · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact · Pre Planning Your Scene

Interview Skills

A long, long time ago, in a Galaxy not so very far away, TWWWBTP (The Woman Who Would become The Plaintiff) had graduated LPN school, and was starting her LPN-to-RN studies, and I was seeking a change of employment. I was looking to add ICU to my resume, since the grad school I had my sights on required it. This one hospital was recruiting, and proclaiming that nurses who accepted positions in their ICU, would receive a $10,000 sign on bonus.

I investigated, and learned that one half of this bonus would be paid upon completion of one year of employment, and the second half would be forthcoming after completion of the second year of employment. Sounded good to me, and so I arranged an interview.

Since TWWWBTP, at that point TDW-Mark I, thought that it would be problematic should I accept a job requiring me to drive halfway across the state, as this position would, perhaps she should investigate employment (and schooling) opportunities there, as well.

Sounded good to me.

On the appointed day, she and I arrived for our interviews. I learned of the position, and they told me, “You do know, don’t you, that we require a two year commitment from nurses in order to qualify for this bonus, right?”

I acknowledged that I did, indeed, comprehend this aspect of the arrangement, and stated, “Yep, I expect that I can wait two years before going to grad school!”

They acknowledged my comment, and we proceeded.

So, we concluded our interview, TDW-Mark I and I, and we sat in the lobby, awaiting their offer(s). We were summoned, and received the news: TDW-Mark I was offered a PART TIME, LPN job. As for me, well, I did not receive an offer. They informed me, “We are looking for nurses who want to come here, and settle down here, in our community. With your grad school plans, well, you do not appear to be a good fit for that sort of longevity.”

Cool story. We drove home, TDW-Mark I composing her “Thanks but no thanks” letter in her head, and I remarked, “Ya know, honey, I believe that I have figured out what I did wrong!”

She replied, with some side-eye, “Oh, really? What was that? Other than being truthful about your higher education plans, I mean?”

“Well, you see, I should have walked in there, paused just inside the door, and, James T. Kirk like, spread my arms in an all encompassing gesture, slowly turned, taken in a deep breath, and declaimed, “I…I..feel, I feel as if I have come….HOME! I….I want my children…to grow, TALL, under these…these Blue ! Skies!…I want to spend my days….Breathing! This! Clean! Air! I…I want…my..bones, to rest…to, REST…beneath …these green hills! I…I feel as if…I am…at..HOME!”

I looked over at my bride. She smiled, and responded, “So, you are telling me that you should have lied your ass off, right?”

“Of course, right!”

Duty · Having A Good Partner Is Very Important! · Sometimes You Get to Think That You Have Accomplished Something!

Above and Beyond

So, TINS©, TIWFDASL©…. Well, OK: REALLLLYYYYY!, I was holding up the counter, and awaiting my next patient, when one of the registrars came up and informed me, “Reltney, I’ve got this sick lady out in the drive up, and I really think you need to see her! Like, right now!”

To set the stage, my urgent care has (surprisingly!) urgent care patients, as well as folks who arrange to be tested for Da Rona. This latter group makes their appointment, drives up, telephones in to announce their arrival, and my registrar gowns up, registers them (now, THAT is a surprise, amirite?), and one of the MAs gowns up, strolls out, tests them, and hands a sheet of instructions (prominently featuring the admonition to quarantine for ten days, or until negative results are forthcoming) to the patient.

This particular soul had not made it past the whole “registrar registers them…” part. This particular registrar, let us call her Eloise, has been doing this for several months. She is one of those quiet, efficient, takes-care-of-business folks that make things in general, and our agency in particular, run. She is not a nurse, not an MA, may not have any “medical training” whatsoever.

Nonetheless, Eloise had appropriately identified that this patient, nominally here for coronavirus testing, was way, way, way sicker than (a) coronavirus testing was gonna help in a clinically relevant timeframe, as well as (b) way, way, way, way! too sick to be driving around. So, she came and got me.

I went to the patient, shortly afterwards followed by an MA who had overheard Eloise’s pronouncement. I was impressed by the fact that this woman reported chest pain, nausea. left sided neck pain, left sided jaw pain, as well as being unable to tell me her allergies, or medications, or medical history, and could not state the name of her boyfriend (whom she wanted called to retrieve her vehicle) as I shortly had determined that this nice lady was going to shortly be the recipient of over 50 years of pre hospital emergency care wisdom and experience, as well as diesel therapy. (ambulances nowadays generally run on diesel).

I told Eloise to get an ambulance, and the MA hopped in, to clear a room for this patient. Eloise evidently had delegated that task, as she returned promptly with a wheelchair, and I noted another MA on the phone to dispatch, as Mrs. Chestpain was wheeled in.

As I assessed this soul, engaging in conversation all the while, it struck me that her ability to track the conversation was deteriorating before my eyes. Not a good thing.

Soon EMS arrived, packed her up, and set about their own part of her care.

I called report to the local ED, explaining the above.

I then went in search of Eloise’s supervisor. I informed this worthy that, in my opinion, Eloise had saved this woman’s life. Had she not had her head in the encounter, had she not noted “chick don’t look right” (the fundamental item of nursing assessment), had she not sought me out and had she not compellingly made her case that this was a SICK person, well, Mrs. Chestpain might have driven off, to die from (her heart attack)(her stroke)(a collision from her impaired ability to navigate), or (all three).

For some reason, I had occasion to speak to my physician supervisor around that time. I repeated the foregoing story, as well as the foregoing analysis, to her.

“Well, you know, Reltney, you also saved her life!”

“Ma’am,” I responded, “I have dozens of years of schooling, decades of emergency and clinical experience to enable me to do that sort of thing: it’s kind of what you are paying me for! Eloise, on the other hand, has none of those things. You are congratulating me for doing my job. I’m applauding Eloise for thinking outside of the box, outside of her job description, and acting effectively to get this woman the help she desperately required. Thank you, but Eloise went above and beyond her job. She is what made everything else happen.”

As a side note, here’s what the preceding paragraph looks like, when your cat helps you:

“Ma’am,” I responded, “I have dozens of years of schooling, decades of emergency and clinical experience to enable me to do that sort of thing: it’s kind of what you are paying me for! Eloise, on the other hand, has none of those things. You are congratulating me for doing my job. I’m applauding Eloise for thinking outside of the box, outside of her job description, and acting effectively to get this woman the help she desperately required. Thank you, but Eloise went above and beyond her job. She is what made everything else happen.”pppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp

Thanks, Kitty. i do believe that I have this under control.