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12 May 2009

A Shot in the Dark



So, I just spent the last two hours sewing together a hand which had gone through a glass window. It wasn't the first time this drunken patient had done this. It was their third.

As I did so, I listened to the exchange between my patient and their spouse. They got married when they were 18 and she was pregnant. They had a son. They separated a year later when she says she stopped loving him romantically. He now lives with his girlfriend and their daughter. She lives with her boyfriend of 9 years.

They see each other daily because of their shared child. She says she loves him, and that they are still "family." She says they won't get divorced because he won't divorce her, and it would cost her too much money to divorce him. So, they live this way and everyone is in agreement and happy. If only he would stop drinking and punching things harder than his hand.

Wow. As for me, I am on my last shift before heading out to a national conference. I put up the gun picture because during the prior two shifts I had not one, but two patients shot in the arm that had broken bones. Both patients were "walking down the street minding my own business" when shots rang out. Both had what looked to be entrance and exit wounds with no severe damage. Both had broken bones that needed setting. Both could have been brothers. Both handled things in very different ways.

The first patient I can only describe as "a real jerk." The kind of patient that cusses out everyone, moves around screaming for pain medication while you are trying to do an exam, and who finally settles down when security gets called and stands outside the door. He told the police that showed up where they could "(*^&!" themselves. He tried to sass the nurse who showed him and told him in no uncertain terms who the boss was now. We cleaned out his wounds and splinted his arm. He was admitted and taken to the OR that morning. He's now got a metal rod where his radius bone used to be.

The second patient was very polite; asked questions about taking care of his wounds. Asked about his medications and how he should take his antibiotics. He was concerned about how his mother was going to take the news and if he should worry her or not. He needed cleaning and a cast. His bone will heal without surgery. He said "thank you" as I was giving him his follow-up instructions.

So now I am counting down the last 2 hours before the end of my shift. A couple of more hours, and I will be on a plane. Hopefully, that hand is the last torn flesh I will see until next week. Pics, etc. when I get back!

4 comments:

Julie said...

The luck I had this week the jerk would have been my admit, LOL. And he would have gotten an infection and had to stay in longer then normal. Have fun.

a corgi said...

have a good conference Veronica! I look forward to pictures.

interesting about the 2 patients; such a contrast on class and crass; such a shame Mr.Crass acted like that; embarrassing for him for sure.

never a dull moment for you; I'm sure its interesting to listen to people talk and tell their life stories as you are stitching them up; I'm convinced if you are quiet and listen and ask a question or two or show interest, peopel are always willing to talk and tell their stories even to complete strangers

safe travels!

betty

Claudia's thoughts said...

We hear all the time "I was minding my business when some dude...."

Sometime I want to tell them TMI, I really do not care to hear the nonsense you have to tell me.

Jeanie said...

It certainly takes all kinds to make a world Veronica. The trouble is some people are totally blind to their faults and will never change.
I hope you enjoy the conference and get some tie off to sight see too.
Take care
Hugs
Jeanie xx