Back in the first few weeks I was working in the ER I had a patient who really stuck out in my mind. She was there with her mother and they came in because the girl (19 with a two year old at home already) had been pregnant and told her mom she had a miscarriage and her mother didn’t believe her. They were there for hours that night, they went so far as to send her for an ultrasound and everything, though I can’t remember why now. What really stuck out in my mind was this girl’s attitude. She was one of those people that you have to just really clench your teeth in their presence so you don’t bitch slap them. As that would be unprofessional in the work environment. She was EXTREMELY rude in that syrupy sweet kind of way that just makes it that much worse. She was borderline combative with care (in the “My mom is making me be here so you’re not REALLY going to make me get undressed and submit to bloodwork” kind of way) and I just got the general sense she was rubbing it in to her mother, who was frankly no nicer than she was. I distinctly remember thinking “If she was my child, I would beat her for having that rude gloating attitude of being in the ER because you had a miscarriage at 19”.
A few days later I was there when the same girl came in by ambulance with her aunt and boyfriend because she was having severe abdominal pain. She had retained “products of conception” that ended up needing to be removed via emergency surgery. The first time I walked into her room I nearly walked right back out because she showed up wearing nothing but a lingerie top and at first I thought she was in the middle of changing her clothes. Not so. Once again refusing to change into a hospital gown and refusing to cover her boobs up with even a sheet. Her family was once again extremely rude. And the girl rang the call bell every 5 minutes. We had to move her to a bed in the hallway that night because we were so busy and I remember vomiting a little in my mouth when I walked by and her boyfriend was bent over telling her how sexy she was. There’s a time and a place for that folks.
So guess who showed up this week a sobbing mess via ambulance again? About two hours before my quitting time…
I feel it’s pertinent to the story to inform you she showed up in tight jeans, large gold-hoop earrings, and a mid-rift showing halter top. She was there with excessive abdominal pain again. She somehow managed to immediately piss off the triage nurse because after she put her in a room she came into the nurses station spilling profanity out of her mouth. Told us the girl had decided after her emergency surgery that the antibiotics she was prescribed just weren’t important and though maybe she had an infection because her pain was just off the charts. I’m paraphrasing of course. She gave the nurse this whole long story about how she doesn’t have insurance so couldn’t afford to buy her antibiotics and blaaaah blah blah. Don’t worry, we can see she’s got her medical assistance in check. You know there are $4 generic perscriptions now right? But when I went in to collect a urine sample from her her cellphone was ringing. No money to buy antibiotics, but there’s enough to keep that cellphone operational.
She could barely get the words out to me through tears that she couldn’t give a urine specimen because her belly hurts too bad to walk by herself. How much was your belly hurting when you put those tight jeans on today? Don’t you worry, I offered to cath her. 😉 I’m sure it’s already clear to you how much I just despise this girl. So she hobbled over to the bathroom while sobbing and holding my hand but then SQUATTED over the toilet to pee because, “I ain’t sittin’ on no public bathroom” exactly how bad does your belly have to be hurting you before you stop thinking about things like that? or are physically unable to squat I ask you? After I saw she was capable of squatting over the toilet which by the way I can barely coordinate when I’m in tip top condition…. I wasn’t quite so worried about her falling on the way back to bed.
I took her vitals and I said to her nurse: “Don’t worry, her vitals are fine, despite her attitude”. After the doctor saw her he actually said “she just really needs to be smacked”… lol. He was even less sympathetic I think after her urine was positive for marijuana and opiates. I told her nurse “I feel like I’ve met her family enough times now to officially say I don’t like them. This is no longer a first impressions/judgmental kind of situation, I mean at this point I’ve met her mom twice, I’ve met her Aunt and boyfriend, and they’re just not nice people.”
In the two hours she was there before I left I answered her call bell no less than 15 times. Eventually I would just state out loud in the nurses station “nope, not going, I need to meditate” and the LPN said “What does she want? Before I go in there I just want to know what I’m getting myself into” and I said “nothing. honestly.” attention. pain medication. for you to turn the heat up. another blanket. how long will it be. a blanket for my mom. nothing. attention. and repeat. To the point when I went into another patient’s room they asked me if their call bell was broken (their bed was right next to the old nurses station so it buzzed every time this girl hit her call bell) I assured her that no they had not broken anything, it was just one patient. To put this into perspective for all of you, on any given 12 hour shift I might answer 2 call bells. period.
There is no end to this story because my shift was over, but I’ll be very interested to hear whether they sent her on her merry way and told her to use whatever narcotics she is obviously already using, or whether she had an emergency surgery to remove her uterus since her cellphone is more important than her post-op antibiotics.