Fun And Games · Life in Da City! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact

My FAVORITE! Things

My FAVORITE! Things

@ When, as part of my assay of History of Present Illness, I ask you how long you have had your (cough, or whatever other symptom motivated you to march you happy butt into my clinic), please, Please, PLEASE do NOT!!! say “a good little while”, or something similarly non responsive to my question. I will simply repeat my question, using the same words, and the same pleasant, inquiring tone, over and over, until you do, indeed, tell me “2 hours” or “2 days’ or “2 weeks” or “2 months” or “2 years”. Simply so you know, IDGAF how long you have had this symptom, on the other hand, it does have some implications for what plan of care I ought to consider in order to, ya know, actually benefit you.

@ Similarly, for the love of Crom, do NOT tell me, in response to my question, “What have you done for (your symptom)?”, that you have “taken over the counter”. Should any of you in “the studio audience” desire to understand just how unhelpful this is, please spend a few minutes on only one freaking aisle of any drug store you wish, and attempt to catalog the dozens of freaking allergy meds therein. By way of illustration, if you have used a nasal steroid, that would be helpful for me to know, since, should that have been unhelpful, I will be required to up my game.

If OTOH, you simply took The Multi Symptom Dreck You Saw Advertised On The TeeWee Last Night, well, I can then recommend some, oh, gee, I dunno…EFFECTIVE OTC medications, instead.

@ I love it when Joe-Bob goes to (St. Elsewhere) yesterday, does NOT pick up his prescribed medications, and swings by my clinic. Because “I’m not any better”.

@ When I direct you to call your family doctor and arrange followup, and you reply, “They always tell me to go to walk in!”

So, you’re telling me that WALK IN prescribes your blood pressure meds, your psych meds, as well as your diabetic meds?

All this is news to me.

@ When I ask, as my review of symptoms, “Have you felt as if you had a fever?”, and you reply, “I don’t have a thermometer”. (how did folks FEEL feverish, before the invention of the precise thermometer by Farenheit in 1714?) Or, alternately, “your nurse just took my temperature, and said I do not have a fever.” (which, of course [a] I already freaking knew, having reviewed the vitals and nursing notes before I walked in the door, as well as [b] NOT answering my freaking question!)

Life in Da City! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact · Pre Planning Your Scene

If Only I had Gone to School For This, Or Something!

There has been a spate of RSV going around, lately. RSV, or Respiratory Syncytial Virus, is contagious, via airborne droplets. In small children, it can lead to hospitalize-level-illness, whereas in adults it generally causes “a cold”. The reason younger children can get so ill, is that should the virus elicit swelling of the smaller airways, children, having narrower airways, cannot tolerate as much swelling as adults and older kids, before their ability to move air is compromised. We can test for RSV in the office.

So, from time to time parents bring in their kids, reporting cough, or lack of interest in feeding, or runny nose. Occasionally such a child will test positive for RSV. Occasionally such a child has alarming vital signs. One such child arrived, and the MA truncated her intake, once she noticed retractions and diminished oxygen level in this infant. She trotted out, figuratively grabbed me, and brought me in to see the child.

I saw, myself, the retractions. Retractions occur when the effort of breathing in, is increased to the point that the skin between the ribs, or below the ribs, draws in from that effort. NOT NORMAL!

We administered a nebulizer (“mist”) treatment of a bronchodilator. Subsequently, the retractions had not particularly improved, nor did the oxygenation of this child. I directed the mother that she needed to take her child to the emergency department. She responded that her ride was not present, and there would be a delay as the ride returned.

I recommended EMS at that point. The child appeared to be stable, presently, but I was uninterested in determining how long that would take to go downhill.

The mother responded, “No, I want to wait for my ride.”

It appeared that I had not successfully identified to her the ways that significant delay could make things go horribly wrong. And, waiting for her ride promised to present a significant delay.

Mother was not impressed. Her ride (eventually!) arrived, and everybody went to emergency. Finally.

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.

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!”

Life in Da City! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact

The Sunshine Rule, Revisited

As you may recall, my go-to principle is that everybody brings sunshine into my life. Sometimes, that is when a soul arrives……

So, TINS©, TIWFDASL© one sunny Saturday morning, and my very first child of Ghawd rolled his eyes when I asked, “do you have any allergies to medication?”, which is part of my Mark I-Mod Ø interview question set.

My inattentive friend responded, “Of course I have allergies! My nose has been stuffy and runny for a week!”

I tried it, once more. “Do you have any MEDICATION allergies?”

“I dunno”

(sigh) “Are you taking any prescription medication?”

“Yeah….”

“Can you tell me what medication you are taking?”

“Nope. Cannot remember.” (eye roll)

I concluded that further interview would waste my time and annoy this gentleman, further. And so, a surly exam followed.

COMMENTARY: Simply so you know, IDGAF what you are allergic to, nor do I care what medication you are/are not taking, despite your physician’s goading, instruction, entreaties, or hectoring.

I *DO* care, very much, that I do *NOT* prescribe prescribe a medication that will cause your immune system to turn you into a fireball. Similarly, I really, really do *NOT* want to prescribe a medication that, in concert with whatever the (expletive) you are, indeed, taking, will perhaps form a binary explosive in your bloodstream. Because you could not/would not tell me whatever else you are, indeed, taking.

So, to me, this sort of thing is kind of important. Please, try to keep up.

Life in Da City! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact

Random Thoughts, Part VII

EROTIC STORY SITES ON THE WEB, ARE *NOT* GOOD SOURCES FOR ADVICE ON HOW TO LIVE YOUR LIFE.

A young lady came in to the clinic, and related that her visit today was occasioned by the fact that “My girlfriend’s boyfriend told her that he had (GC/chlamydia/herpes/syphilis/aids/hepatitis/the fuglies), and I slept with him, too.”

I was unclear on the timeline. “*After* you knew?”

She was not. “Yep!”

Sigh. Another round of “test for everything”, and pray that it all comes back negative.

LET’S FOCUS ON THE IMMEDIATE PROBLEM, SHALL WE?

So, TINS© (This Is No Shit), TIWFDASL© (There I Was, Fighting Disease And Saving Lives), and Jim Bob wandered in. In the course of his registration, as well as his rooming, he revealed difficulties voiding. Indeed, my MA related that, once she had requested that he provide a sample of urine so that I might use it to determine what sort of “urine problem” he had, he responded that “I can’t pee”.

In my clinic, there is no catheterization capability. In my not inconsiderable emergency experience, both as RN as well as provider, such a soul requires a catheter, both in order to obtain the urine sample that will guide further care, as well as to decompress the ailing soul’s urinary bladder, as such a condition can become very uncomfortable. Which ignores potential damage to one’s kidneys.

I told my MA that Mr. Cannotpee would have to go to emergency, where, indeed, they had both the ability to place a catheter, as well as labs and imaging to determine what might have caused this problem.

She returned moments later, reporting that he had considered the prospect of a urinary catheter, and thought that he might be maybe able to produce a little bit of urine, perhaps.

His sample was inconsistent with inability to urinate. My appraisal was that IDGAF about this guy’s pharmacologic mis-steps. His stupid life choices that might be revealed by a urine drug screen, a screen that I had no interest in performing let alone contemplating the results of, were his kharma and would impact his life.

And, good luck with that!

LIGHTING UP MY LIFE

Another day, another Child of Ghawd. Soul reports a rash, kinda-sorta itchy, started here, now here, and here, and here. No exposure to suspect plants, no new cosmetics/detergents/soaps/shampoos.

There is a thing, known as a “Wood’s Lamp”, which produces light in the near-UV portion of the spectrum, accompanied by some visible violet (surprising enough!) light. Some itchy rashes will fluoresce (glow, generally a pale yellow-green, occasionally a pale, “coral” red/pink) under illumination from a Wood’s Lamp, and in such cases, it is a dermatophyte that is causing your rash. Treatment is an antifungal, such as clotrimazole (you may recognize the brand as “Lotrimin AF”), or selenium sulfide (the active ingredient in the anti dandruff shampoo, “Selsun Blue”).

This individual described trying multiple creams, lotions, and sprays, none of which effected any improvement. I attempted to elicit a duration of use, and was told, “It just didn’t work!”

Alrighty, then!

For those in the studio audience who do not already know this, dermatophytes are slow growing organisms, and therefore they find themselves in that portion of their growth and reproductive cycle wherein they are vulnerable to treatment, at relative long intervals. For this reason, treatment is relatively prolonged compared with, for example, a boil or other skin infection from a bacterium like staph or strep.

Sigh. I directed my patient to employ Selsun Blue as a body wash, and to continue it for a couple of weeks.

This person looked me dead in the eye, and asked, “Aren’t you going to do anything for my rash? Shouldn’t I use a cream or something?”

Sigh, again. Repeat, verbatim, the care instructions I finished providing, oh, like TWO FREAKING MINUTES AGO. In English. To a native English speaking patient.

Fun With Suits! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact

My resume is on Indeed. Read it!

The other day, I received an emailed solicitation to work as a locums. I *have* worked as a locums, and it worked out OK for me at that time. By way of scene setting, I have worked ED and urgent care as a PA, NOT as a neonatal provider of any stripe.

(paraphrased) “Hello from Erewhon Locums Company! With our national reputation for placing the right provider, in the right position, we are looking for a provider to fill the opportunity described below!

Job Highlights: 

  • Location: (some other state)
  • Specialty: Locum Nurse Practitioner
  • 7/18/2021 – Ongoing
  • Will Wait for (some other state) License / BC
  • Schedule includes day and night hours. Usual shifts 8am-5 pm, 5pm-8am or 24 hours- a combination could be required based on needs of service. Weekends and holidays required as needed. No call required.
  • Procedures Required: Intubation, umbilical lines, PICC placement, lumbar puncture, reservoir taps, thoracentesis, exchange transfusion
  • EMR System: (Infernal EMR)

Why Erewhon Locums?

  • $1,000 referral bonus opportunity
  • Personal travel and housing concierge 
  • Dedicated support specialist for payroll 
  • Experienced credentialing team 

My e mailed reply:

Well, yes, it is a great match, aside from the fact that I’m a PA, not an NP, that I am no sort of neonatal practitioner, none of the procedures listed is in my skillset, and that I will not work in (other state) for any amount of money that you are likely to pay me. 

But, other than that, yeah. Great fit. 

Duty · Life in Da City! · Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact · Protect and Serve

Two More Tales

Once upon a time, Da City was “The Arsenal of Democracy”, heavily industrialized, and a place where a reasonably hard working high school graduate could graduate, and, within a year, have a solidly middle class lifestyle working in a factory. One auto company had established an industrial complex just outside Da City, and on an island in this complex, had established forges, stamping plants, and coking ovens. Even across the river, the smell had to be experienced to be believed.

I worked with one guy, back on EMS, who had worked, pre-fire department, for one of the private ambulance services. They had caught a run for some emergency or another on this island, and, this being the days of 24 hour shifts, my friend fell asleep, letting his partner, who was driving, take care of things.

He related, “I was awakened when the ambulance stopped. I looked out, at the gas flaring off, and the chemical smell of sulfur heavy in the air. The area aroiund us looked like a hellish war torn moonscape, and I thought, “Oh my f@@king Ghawd! He’s wrecked the ambulance, I’ve died, and this is Hell!”

Another story, from a slightly later time, had me working with Doug and Rob, at a house in the far western area of Da City. We were dispatched to an assault, and met the cops on the scene. Upon entering the house, a gentleman (looking to be something like 6 feet and some change tall, probably running probably 220 pounds) reported that the woman of the house, who, herself, looked to be like 5 feet 2 inches, maybe 120 pounds, had assaulted him, striking him with her fists. He reported that he needed to be “checked out” due to his (non evident) injuries. She interjected that she had not assaulted him, he had, rather, assaulted her (and inflicting no perceptible injury in that process). He responded, loudly, and it was on. The Great West Side Debating Society Quarterly Meeting began.

While “the adults” were yelling etc, I noticed, in corner of the next room a perhaps 5-7 yo little girl, crouched in corner, mouth open, fists clenched as in a silent scream. While cops refereed “the adults”, I crouched down in front of child, attempting to verbally soothe her. One female officer noticed, and came over. I introduced the officer to the child, “This is my friend, Officer Evans. She would like to talk to you for a while. Is that OK? She, and the rest of her friends will keep you safe.”

We disengaged, everybody signed no transport forms, we went in service. As Rob finished the trip sheets, he paused, and commented, “You know, I think we may have just witnessed a watershed moment in that little girl’s life.”

Bastard. I fear that he was right.

Pains in my Fifth Point of Contact

Cletus and the sick note

Perhaps you have heard of The Cornosvirus, aka The Wuhan novel Coronavirus, aka the WuFlu, aka The CCP Pox, aka The Shanghai Sniffles. Now known, PC-ly, as C.O.V.I.D. (sounds like a Bond villain, don’t it?). So, TINS©, TIWFDASL©, and Cletus, trivially ill, wandered in, requesting a test for the Coronavirus as well as a return to work note (he related that he had called off sick for a couple of days, and, and needed a doctor note in order to return to work). He related that he had run out of paid time off, and needed to return to work.

The next day, my registrar hunted me down, and presented me with the dilemma: his employer had called, asking what to do about Cletus. Cletus had evidently informed his employer that he, Cletus, had been tested for the WuFlu, and they (the employer) were asking what to do about Cletus returning to work?

“My note stated that he was medically released to return to work, once he had a negative coronavirus test result in hand.”

My registrar returned, “But his result won’t be reported for another 4-5 days.”

“Yep. And, once he has that negative result in hand, he can return to work.”

“I told them that. They are on hold, still asking me what to do about Cletus.”

“Lemme talk to them!”

I picked up, announced myself, and asked what I could do for them?

“We don’t know what to do about Cletus, since he does not have his test result, but your note says that he can return to work.”

“Ma’am, my recommendation is that you follow your organization policy regarding employees who have been tested for coronavirus, and pending results.”

“But, he doesn’t look sick, and we don’t know of any exposure to C.O.V.I.D.!”

“Uh-huh. So, what do you folks do about any other employee who has been tested for coronavirus, and does not have results yet?”

“They have to quarantine at home, until ten days or a negative test report.”

“Perhaps it would be a good idea to follow your organization’s policy in this regard.”