A Wacky Day in the ER

Filed in Living by on July 7, 2016 3 Comments

Emergency SignI volunteer one day a week in the emergency room of our local hospital. Today was particularly interesting, so I thought I’d share it with you.

When I arrive at my station at the front desk, the first thing I do is check the computer screen to see what type of patients we currently have. Among the information provided is each patient’s gender, age and primary complaint. Today I found these patients to be among the group:

Male, age 52, primary complaint: wants to walk in front of a car

This was odd since in a case like this they usually aren’t so specific, but instead just list the complaint as “suicidal.” Since I have suffered from depression, I figured I was allowed to make a little fun of this poor fella in my mind, so I thought to myself, “Well, if we can’t help him much, let’s at least try to keep him away from the local expressway for a while!”

Female, 19, primary complaint: missed period for 7 weeks, requests pregnancy test

I thought this young lady might want to start thinking about saving for baby shoes.

Male, 89, primary complaint: multiple complaints

I laughed and thought this will be me when I’m 89, God willing. “This hurts, that hurts, this other thing is about to fall off…I have a lot of complaints!”

During my shift we also had a male, only age 61, brought in by ambulance with a heart attack. They were working on him for about an hour, which is not a good sign. A little later I noticed the Chaplain gathering the family members in one of our private family rooms. Also not a good sign.

Then, on my computer screen, the dreaded “black dot” suddenly appeared next to his name.

The family members began to spill out of the private room, sobbing and hugging one another.

Another good man down.

Within a couple of moments, I heard Brahm’s Lullaby playing over the intercom. The hospital plays this well-known song whenever a baby is born in Labor & Delivery. So, just as we lost one soul, we gained another.

Being a finance person, I thought to myself, “Well, at least the local tax collector will be happy that his headcount has remained intact!”

Later in the day the triage nurse I was sitting next to at the front desk left at the end of her shift, and a young nurse I had never met replaced her. She asked about me and I told her a little about myself. Then she asked, “So why do you volunteer?” She said it in a way that expressed that this would probably be the last place she would want to be, especially for no pay.

I replied, “Working in the ER provides me with a front row seat to birth, death, and every crazy thing that happens in between—hell, I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

About the Author ()

TIM MCINTYRE retired in 2004 from his position as president of Applied Systems after facilitating a successful sale of the company. At only forty-six years old, he made the unusual decision to fully retire to pursue other interests and simply enjoy free time. As a hard-driving Type A personality, this turned out to be a significant challenge for the Notre Dame and University of Chicago-educated MBA, CPA, and Certified Cash Manager.

Comments (3)

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  1. Frank says:

    It has it’s moments!!

  2. Ed deMartin says:

    No doubt about it Tim- a sense of humor can be a cure for depression.

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