“Wake up, Eli,” I whisper, tapping his collarbone. “I need to re-check your blood pressure.”
“Aw, come on, doll,” he snickers. “A man can’t snore if he’s dead. Ain’t that good enough?”
“No, sir,” I reply. “I need numbers.”
It’s two a.m. I’m seven hours into a sixteen-hour shift in the emergency department of a busy city hospital, running five rooms in the “sick but stable” section with Dr. Watts. (We’ve worked together for several years; the staff calls us Batman and Robin.)
Eli and I are on our third hour. He came in with chest pain. Luckily, his EKG is normal, and his pain has been relieved with a “white slider” (Maalox and viscous lidocaine). He’s being admitted for observation, but there are no beds available upstairs.
Two of my other rooms are also occupied.
Glen, a college student, dislocated his shoulder playing rugby: “We were just horsing around.”
Dr. Watts has explained the shoulder reduction (relocation) procedure to him; all we need is an x-ray.
Belle, just two years old, is crying and tugging her ear. She fought like an animal when I took her rectal temperature. For this, I was grateful: Nothing scares me more …