Tuesday, June 28, 2005

"Now there is some blood involved."

This week I'm working for the first time in the part of the ER where the true emergency patients are seen, like serious car accidents, overdoses, or acute heart problems. Wisely, new staff don't get to work there right away as it can be fast-paced and procedures are a bit more complicated. Also, the bosses don't want you fainting when somebody comes in bloody and missing a bit of their calf from, oh say, a boat propellor slicing it off.

Thankfully, that's not a problem for me. One time I was registering a patient who'd fallen and lacerated his scalp. Head wounds bleed copiously, even when they're not that serious, and this guy's face and hands were covered in dried blood. He was in good spirits and as he signed forms, all I could think about was how special effects guys would kill for that level of garish realism.

It's not for everyone, but I enjoy seeking the variety of patients that come in and am intensely curious to see how treatment is done in the various cases. I'd be totally bummed if my plans to be a trauma/ER nurse were derailed because I was paralyzed by the sight of a close-range gunshot wound rather than galvanized into action.

I've never considered myself an adrenaline junky. I'm not into extreme sports, I don't drive fast, and I've never taunted a large predator with a chair or my buttocks. Now I realize I've just gone a nerdier route to that high. Consuming large amounts of caffeine, rapid-fire high school debate, low-stakes poker, public speaking, spazzing out to a great band, political campaigns, and now, the ER.

Despite my age (we won't get into details, but I'm significantly older than my classmates), I feel like young whippersnapper when I get excited about something, as my friends will agree (with a sigh and a rolling of eyes). I'm pleased that I get that "aw yeah!" feeling about my future vocation.

Speaking of getting the juices flowing, today I saw a Liston bone cutter, though not in action.

Guys, doesn't that make your balls suck up into your body cavity a little bit? Ladies, I have no idea what the correlative experience is, please enlighten me.

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  1. Not sure I can adequately explain, but the feeling I get looking at that instrument is most closely associated with The Speculum. Only not as much so...

  2. Um, I dunno, the sudden desire to sew my vagina shut with fishing wire?

  3. Ah yes, thank you for sharing.

  4. I'm too busy feeling woozy from reading about the boat propeller calf injury to think about the bone cutter.

    I guess it's a good thing I don't waterski anymore.

    - carole

  5. I think it's pretty, but I'm a weirdo.

  6. i agree with jen re: The Speculum. it also reminds me of my dizzying trip to the c-section suite right before the operation. i was super curious about what was going on in there, though i'd been given some antianxiety meds in my IV and was starting to feel woozy (i had preeclampsia--the section wasn't an emergency, but it wasn't exactly elective, either). anyway, i looked over at the table along the wall where all the equipment was, and it kind of freaked me out, specifically the tools used to hold open something like my abdomen to make room for baby. i just concentrated on not passing out from the spinal--missed on the first two passes due to my back tattoo--and when that took effect, it felt like i was being dipped into warm wax from my toes up. the last semi-coherent thought i had as they lowered me onto the operating table was, "my ass is so big i'm going to fall right off of this thing and die."

    thus ends the longest-ever comment ever.

  7. Yay for medical tales of blood and instrumentation.

    Colleen, have you seen Dead Ringers? I think you might like it.