Tempus Fugit

Time Flies…

   Mar 14

Short and Concentrated.

Happily savouring the crema of my tasty beverage in Newfarm today when my phone rings.

It’s the boss.  That is the head of department.  Would I be able to come in and work a half shift this evening….two staff down and the floor is ‘diabolical’ and the boxes are overflowing.
(For the uninitiated, the floor refers to the main area of the emergency department, and the boxes refer to the triage category boxes).

Having nothing better to do, and needing some extra dosh I agreed.

Whilst driving to work I noticed the moon looking rather full…. a poor prognostic indicator.  Last full moon I worked was suboptimal with patients climbing over bedrails and landing on their heads.

On arrival I passed the ambulance bay where a ventilated patient was being loaded into an ambulance as another patient was wheeled into the department.  I was non-plussed to see harrowed staff hurrying left right and centre.  I was even more crestfallen when the corridor was stacked two deep with patients stretching down towards the x-ray department.

Extra staff had begun to arrive, exhausted staff from the morning remained on to do overtime.  Several category ones (imminent impending death) and category twos (if you don’t get to me bloody soon I’ll be knocking on heaven’s door) had meant that the category threes (shit mate, there’s something wrong that probably should be seen to today) and category fours (I really should go and see a GP in the next week or two but I am too much of a cheapskate to make an appointment and pay the gap) had piled up and were piled in precarious towers heading skyward.  Today was obviously a day when the category fives (FOOMERs – Fuck Off Out Of My Emergency Room – that is, you don’t need to be seen today) were not going to be seen any time before hell froze over.

All the monitored beds were blocked with HDU (high dependency unit) patients awaiting processing by the frazzled medical registrars.  There were several stable chest pains shafted to the corridors. The frenzied bustle was punctuated by howling kids, demented frail GOMERES (read the House of God by Samuel Shem if you want to know what that is) calling out to long lost husbands.

A drunken, maudlin female known to the mental health service kept security busy by pulling a knife out of her pants.  Her nearly full bottle of vodka stood like a totem beside the triage boxes hidden out of her sight less she decide to drink herself into even more of an oblivion.

Xrays on xray boxes illuminated the walls with eerie glows – pulmonary oedemas, bowel obstructions and comminuted fractures announced their presence to any passerby who cared to glance their way.

Machines that go bing …. went bing. Phones rang.

In the resus bay, a central line was being inserted…. in the procedure room the smell of congealed blood pervades the air as a gruff bloke with a somewhat rather large laceration to his thigh is sutured up.

In the centre of the floor – the fishbowl…we all sat in the relative sanctuary of the writeup area – as though barracaded from the encroaching hubbub.  The green glow of the HBCIS terminals, the pretty colours of the Auslab pathology results – green for good, yellow for ‘uh-oh’ and red for ‘holy fuck’, the squiggles of the telemetry (and streams of rhythm strip paper recording for posterity arrhythmias and ectopics) beamed from the banks of computers standing between us and them.

The writeup table was festooned with patients’ charts, path pads, xray forms, referral letters, ECGs, coffeecups and (thankfully) the omnipresent bowls of lollies that keep us all going.

Knowing I was being paid double time and knowing I only had to work for half a shift – that is five hours… I attacked the cat 3′s with a vigour and energy that I had not seen in myself before.  Three chest pains and a talfibular ligament strain later I had reached 11pm without even realising time had passed.

I wish all shifts were so quick.  I think if I were to be paid double time and only had to be working half the number of hours I would be so much more efficient and enthusiastic.

Fortunately I guess, it’s not always this busy.  What alarms me is that it is not a full full moon until Wednesday.  What the fuck am I to expect when I goto work then?

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One Comment

  1. Kym says:

    holy crap. that is intense! thank god you are actually trained in this….

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