For some reason, our ER has become “OD Central” lately. It has become the rule rather than the exception to get at least 2 OD’s or suicidal ideations a night here. (I work 7p-7a).
Last week was a real bear: Patient came in, drunken stupor/Tylenol PM OD, had slit both wrists (laterally, not diagonally) with her three year old looking on. Turns out she was bi-polar and was off her meds. Okay, fine. We put a tube down her trachea, hooked her up to a ventilator and she was eventually transferred to another facility. I remember thinking, “that will imprint on her little one!”
During that episode, the EMT’s bring in another OD. This one was alcohol poisoning. And she was a handful: screaming, belligerent and combative. The doc orders an ECG on her.
Here I need to explain that I am the only respiratory therapist on duty after 7 pm, and I not only handle the ER, but ICU, Med-Surg and Rehab.
I go into the room, (still thinking about the other case) and calmly explain that I need to do the ECG, whereupon she shrieks at me that she doesn’t want an ECG, she doesn’t want anything, and she has a choice, dammit!
That was the straw. I yelled back at her that I too had a choice. I could choose whether I cared enough about her to treat her and help her, but that it was hard for me to care about someone when they cared so little about themselves, and I walked out.
The ECG got done by one of the ER nurses and I got “written up” for losing my temper.
This has never happened to me before, and I am better than this. I do care about my patients and want to help them feel better. It just got to me this time.