Jeff, the ER Nurse

Upon my many encounters with nurses during my hospital stay, none of them made any lasting impressing such as the first and the last. The first nurse was Jeffry, a tall white man with short hair. He made the most jokes – actually, he made them all.

I arrived at the ER at 6:00AM. Around 7:00 I was taken in to answer some questions and give a urine & blood sample, something WebMD told me would happen. By 8:00, I was already being escorted to ER “room” which I shared with the lady who entered the ER after I did, yet got in before me. I’m sorry, appendicitis trumps gastritis anyday, except on Thursday 23 October 2008.

A doctor came in and introduced himself, checked me out by prodding my belly with his sausage fingers and then slapping my stomach around after I said “OW! It makes my right side hurt!” He crossed his arms and said, “Yup. That’s an appendicitis. We’ll have to give you a CT scan to be certain.” That makes now makes four out of the five tests WebMD said would be given to me to be certain. The third one, if you weren’t paying attention was the prodding.

Jeffry entered later and hooked me up to the machine by strapping in my arm and putting a sticky pulse reader on my index finger. He then asked if there was anything I would like and then left after I shook my head. I was also now in a hospital gown that I hated. By the by, just because an ER is apart of the Children’s Hospital section doesn’t mean that all who go to the ER are children, so please, spare us the cutesy ID bands.

A little while later, Jeff returns with a pitcher of fluid I’m supposed to drink. I start to sit upright and he stopped me and said, “No. No. You stay lying down. You’re just going to open your mouth and I’m gonna pour this all down your throat.”

A look of fear and confusion wiped across my face.

“I’m just kidding,” he said.

After I finished the drink, which was an iodine concoction mixed with a sweet tea, I had to wait an hour before I could take my CT scan. However, a fire drill happened and we couldn’t leave the area. When that passed, the technician came and wheeled me out and took me to the room where I was then told that I had to sign a form that allows them to pump me up with even iodine. I asked what the consent form said.

“Basically,” the guy said, “it’s just stating that you might experience some symptoms if you’re allergic to iodine such as vomiting, nausea, dizziness, constriction of the throat, hives, itching, tightenness in the heart. Worse case scenario, your heart can stop.”

“Oh yeah, you really got me wanting to sign that now.”

Long story short, I freak out when the iodine is injected into me. As I’m being wheeled back to the ER “room,” I make the comment that looking up feels much like watching that one scene in Trainspotting. The guy has no idea what I’m talking about.

When I arrive back in, I now have an IV sticking out of my arm. The iodine had to get in somewhere, right? Jeffry returns, hooks me back up to the machines and then tells me if I’m alright. I replied, “Best ride ever.”

My mother, after Jeff had left, looked at my IV and said there was blood in it. They wouldn’t be able to use it if it had blood in it so they would have to now remove it and put a new one in. When Jeff came back, I asked. He said it was fine. I said okay.

“It’s one of those paranoid things of yours, hu?” he asked.

“No, I wouldn’t even have thought of it if it wasn’t for her,” I replied, pointing to my mother who was with me through the whole process (and because if I was going to be admitted to the hospital, I thought it would be best not to let  her worry in the ER lobby and then find out I’m way the fuck on the otherside of the damn hospital).

“Ah, Mom’s an enabler. You want me to kick her out? I can kick her out. I have that power. Just say the word and I’ll kick her out.”

I laughed.

He repeated his earlier statment that it wasn’t a problem, but mother continued to say that she heard so and so. “Ah, she’s still doing it. Just tell me I can kick her out.”

Mother stopped talking. I could tell she was now trying to figure out if he was serious or not.

“I’m just kidding,” he said. And then to me, “Stand up for your mother. You’re just lying there taking it all in. Tell me something.”

“As I see it, I’m the one with the thing in my arm and you’re the one with the power to put whatever you please into me. I’m gonna just stay neutral.”

A little while passed and an IV of antibotics was placed on me and the ER doctor return to say that it was in fact an appendicitis and I was going to be transferred to a room. I was then wheeled out which Jeff told me, in Spanish, that he wished me well and that he hoped everything would turn out great for me in the end. He then said, I used to say something else, but I was told that wasn’t a correct thing to say. I won’t repeat it because it doesn’t translate well and I don’t know the way to spell several of those spanish slang words.

I survived the first part of my hospital visit and managed not to experience the fifth test that WebMD promised me. Upon one of the many conversations with Jeff, I told him what I had read on WebMD about the things I would be going through. I went through the blood and urine, I said, and I just had the prodding done and soon the CT scan.

“What’s the last one?”

“Rectum.”

He made a face. Shook his head. “No. No. We don’t do that here. Are you crazy?”

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