Mommy Nurse Wife and 25!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Burritos

I am realizing that we workers of the ED see a side of
humanity that most people aren't privileged to
experience. On the last weekend I worked we had about
5 patients who were a bit shy in the hygiene
department. You all know what I'm talking about don't
you?

The patient usually will come in one minute away from
gun point by a family member or friend who insists on
an ED visit. In my experience, this patient also will
arrive via rescue because he is unable to ambulate and
hasn't been out of his bed/recliner/futon for 6+
weeks. This is the patient whom the EMTs will make
what Donnie refers to as a patient burrito; they wrap
the patient and whatever he is wearing/laying in in a
neat little package for the receiving RN. There is
usually a faint odor of something horrible in said
burrito which is usually not fully experienced until
the burrito is unwrapped to apply a johnnie. Once
opened, an emaciated body lays ahead bearing a pair of
slippers, PJ pants, and once white now yellow tee
shirt. The patient has greasy hair which hasn't seen
water or shampoo for months, long yellow fingernails
with some sort of brown substance underneath (if the
patient is demented, you can bet there's some poop
involved), and teeth which are one step away from
complete and total rot. And of course, my least
favorite part, the feet. Once the slippers are off the
week old socks need to come off as well. And with the
sock comes the old skin cloud which in turn leaves a
film of skin flakes on the bed just like a coat of fresh snow.


Every time I have a patient in this condition it makes
me more sad than I can express. Usually these
patients are at home, alone, and unable or unwilling
to care for themselves. Or, they are at home, with
family, but are just not taken care of in the manner in
which a person should. I really don’t know if I feel lucky to see this side of people or if it’s just one of those downfalls of my job. If you work at a normal job like the bank, a school, or a construction site you don’t really bump into someone who has been laying in his poop for 36 hours. So I feel like it is sort ofprivilegeege to take care of these poor souls, I think ignorance is truly bliss in this case.

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