Non medically fragile adult woman in her mid forties with mother and grandmother in tow, c/o nausea and body aches x5 days. Previously diagnosed with "the flu or something" (actually viral gastroenteritis, according to the paperwork Mom showed me) at Urgent Care.
Whining "My head hurts, my stomach hurts, I feel so bad. They just sent me home and told me to take Tylenol
(the word Tylenol said as if it were the most ridiculous thing she's ever heard)."
It's a busy day, I know it's going to be a long wait for her, so I go ahead and start a line, draw labs, hang a liter. No, I'm not going to go pester a busy doctor for pain and nausea protocols. She can wait.
I pop in every once in a while to check in, recheck vitals, etc.
Grandma asks, in all seriousness "Are there any doctors on duty in the ER?"
Me: "Yes, there are four on right now."
Grandma: "Well, where are they?"
Me, politely and with a smile: "Working. There are a lot of sick people here today, and the doctors are working really hard. It's actually a good thing when you don't have doctors hovering over you. It means you're not the sickest person here. The sickest people here in the Emergency Department are usually people who are actively dying."
It felt. so. good.
Am I bad?
I didn't tell her that they were getting ready to extubate someone over in the next hallway, who would most likely die.
I think I may have been making up a little for yesterday's episode, when a dental pain kept coming out into the hallway to ask what the holdup was. We had just received an infant Code 3 who didn't make it. They had worked on the infant for a long time, and every time I walked anywhere near the room, I could hear the mother's sobs. I just couldn't even look at the dental pain guy without feeling very angry. The best I could muster was to tell him "The doctors see patients according to how sick they are, and we've had a lot of sick people today", with only the most superficial attempt at politeness.
Dental pain ended up leaving very happy, after his nerve block and a take home pack of Vicodin.