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18 November 2008

Monday Night Fights, Um, Football

I think at some point I remember mentioning that, as part of our residency training, we learn to work at "mass gathering" events. I had a chance earlier in the year to go to the Bills vs. Raiders game, and yesterday I worked the Bills vs. Browns game where I probably spent about 75% of my time sewing up drunk fans or fans involved in altercations with drunk fans.

It's strange, but I don't mind it. I like to suture. It's almost like artistry. You take something that's torn, or cut or shredded and try to put it back together. Of course, the majority of the suturing occurred on people's faces which leads to the added pressure of making sure that cosmetically suitable results are achieved. And, it doesn't matter that the majority of my patients were so sloshed they wouldn't have noticed if I sewed their top lip to their bottom eyelid; my own pride and perfectionistic attitude wouldn't allow me to accept anything but my best.

Now, having said that, it's a challenge to work on someone who's heavily intoxicated while remembering my Hippocratic oath. If you've never had stitches on your face, or seen someone getting them, it's a pretty intimate situation. Especially when I had two patients needing sutures inside of their mouths because they had cut the inside of their lips.

Beer breath is nauseating. Stale beer breath with cigarette tobacco overtones even worse. Of course, the fun patient of the night was the majorly drunk patient in handcuffs who was jumping and fighting
the two sheriff's deputies who had him under arrest. The patient needed just one stitch. On his lip.

Ever try to wash a cat? Yeah, the two sheriffs holding him down looked something like that. To top it off, we didn't have a suture kit, and I was using what I had available... a suture removal kit. So, here I was trying to hold the needle with a pair of scissors and getting a stitch into a moving target.

The sheriffs managed to hold his head but couldn't keep him from talking. I guess I didn't think about the possibility of him spitting or kicking out. He managed to stop talking long enough for me to swoop in, throw the stitch, step back and then take another step forward as I quickly tied my knots and then cut the stitch. No lidocaine for him, but given his blood alcohol level, I don't think he even noticed.

OK, that's it for tonight. I need to write about my last patients at Suburban before starting back at the excitement that is ECMC. Grand Rounds tomorrow, so I should have some time to write... cheers! Of course, always in moderation... :)


erarein63 said...

OMG, sounds like my Fri/Sat nights after the ASU games, lol, but inside the ER. And we were so freakin busy last night. The board didn't stop scrolling until about 0330. Yikes! Well you sound artful and talented. The sewing is one of the things that has kept me from wanting to pursue NP. **Sigh* That and the homework, ha ha. Have a good one! De ;)

cw2smom said...

Ick! I can't imagine having to smell that cig/alchol breath up close in personal! But, I guess it's part of the job, huh! I always said that one reason I promoted to Sergeant in my line of work was to keep from having to put my hands in inmate armpits while searching them! YUCK! Such is the life in certain exciting professions! I love reading about your days as a doctor! It's interesting to find out that you have to do such work at "mass" events! I bet it's good training! Take care, Lisa

cw2smom said...

Should have read...Up Close and Personal!!! Sorry! It's been a long day! Not as long as yours, I'm sure, but long enough! :)

Jeanie said...

Well..I think you are a saint! If they are not already available, I reckon someone should invent impregnated, perfumed to your choice,face masks. I'm sure there would be a run on them for such occassions as you so cleverly describe Veronica.
Well done you for your 'stiching up gymnastics' on your drunk patient. Good for you and a by the sounds of it.. a class job well done! Lol!
Keep up the good work.
Jeanie xxx

Claudia's thoughts said...

My husbands (ER RN) worst day in the ED was the evening of the Jimmy Buffet concert. The concert was a few blocks from the hospital (level 1 Trauma Center) and the drunks started to show up before the concert.. It was about 95 F outside and they were falling and vomiting and had no idea how dehydrated they were. They were so mad that they had missed the concert.....He said, he would NEVER sign up to work when "Than Parrot Guy" had another concery. He looks for when Jimmy is in town and does not sign up. LOL