Front row seats at an autopsy
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- 4 Published Oct 29, '08Don’t you just hate it when someone picks on you just because you’re the smartest and that it cramps their style? They would think of you as a competition or a threat even though you don’t intend to be. Conflicts often arise from this and these narcissistics would sometimes resort to being a rat just to pull you down. In my case, I just let them be most of the time and tread carefully. But sometimes, I try to amuse myself by playing their game then putting one over them. I was a second courser back then when I took up nursing. I didn’t take any special shortened course or curriculum, so I was mixed with first coursers and some other second coursers. Why was I the smartest? I was the only second courser who was also a former medicine student. I already had most of the foundation of health care with some clinical exposure in all departments minus the skills of a nurse. Of course it wasn’t hard for me to stand out, modesty aside. Standing out was just the start…the amusement followed.
During clinical rotations, I was assigned to an infirmary’s ER inside a military camp and got teamed-up with other fellow senior nursing students from another class. Fresh from the classroom and armed with theoretical knowledge waiting to be applied, all looked determined to show their best and be the best. It may not have looked like it, but I also intended to give my best. It’s just that I chose to play it cool and not like most of them who snorted like a bull that’s ready to charge. Rookies, I thought. Then, my attention was caught by this loud geek bragging about how he was the best in his class yada-yada and all that jazz. From here on in, I’ll refer to him as Narcissus. As I have feared, I wasn’t spared, as Narcissus made my atmosphere windy as well. Responding with a polite “Wow” & “Cool”, I was actually hoping that he’s not just full of hot air. I heard that it really gets busy there at the wee hours of the night with ER cases coming in waves. We’d need all the able hands we could get to deliver proper health care. After a while of waiting and enduring the hurricane that’s Narcissus, our clinical instructor arrived to give us the low-down and assign a leader. Aware of my background, she assigned me to be the leader and introduced me to everybody. “So you’re the former med student I heard about.” Narcissus sized me up. And just like that, I won a new friend who’s ready to step on me any way he can to rise up and get noticed. Bring it on! Envy is a cardinal sin, and Narcissus was beyond tempted. If he can’t keep his cool, he should have at least stopped snorting because he’s ruining my ‘do. He was always on my hair. He’s so obvious. Good thing the competition didn’t get dirtier than that. Here’s how the fun part went…
Everybody had their hands full and it was our turn to take patients. Around 11pm, our first ER patient arrived.. The first case was an asthmatic in acute exacerbation. I took the first patient being the leader with the intent of demonstrating how to approach an emergency the calm way. Another patient immediately followed and, of course, Narcissus had to show what he’s got. Excited, he rushed outside where the patient was…with my spirometer.... Sigh, my calm didn’t reach him… Funny, he stopped when he saw the patient. Apparently, the patient was having seizures and got stuck inside the vehicle. What made it freakier was that blood was flowing from the patient’s mouth as well. The patient most probably accidentally bit her tongue. Shocked, it must’ve been the first time Narcissus saw an actual case like this. I left my asthmatic patient on nebulization with my other team mates and rushed to help. Worried that the patient might be injured more if forced out of the vehicle, I just protected the patient’s head until the bout stops while shouting at Narcissus to prepare and administer oxygen. Not budging, it was as if Narcissus was having some kind of seizure as well…absence seizure:smackingf. Another “Hey!” made him snap out of his shocked state. Simply put, he wasn’t ready for that kind of action yet. And he became the laughing stock of the team. I admit he looked funny in a daze with his mouth open:lol_hitti. But I was concerned more on hoping a lesson was learned. With his ego hurt, he chose to insist on the excuse that there were already people helping so he didn’t intervene. For crying out loud, that was the driver and the guard helping, what do they know. His pride must really be too big for him to swallow.
Yada-yakkety-blah…he was really full of it. At least he was good at managing the asthmatics when he was put in charge there. The hot air coming from him probably helped make the air humidified enough:lol_hitti.
I thought, he needed to be taught another lesson. I’m not cruel, so I wanted it subtle but would deliver the message. Also, I was already getting annoyed with the smirk on his face whenever he brags. It has to stop. The next patient gave me an idea. Dead on arrival, the multiple trauma patient was scheduled for autopsy in the institution’s facility. Since my team mates haven’t experienced an autopsy, I suggested that we be allowed to watch the procedure for educational purposes. Well, you can probably guess what happened. The smell of warm blood being pumped out of the cadaver, the saw cutting through the skull exposing the brain, the snapping of ligaments and tendons when the chest was opened widely…every visceral organ was sliced in layers and shown to us revealing some hemorrhagic areas caused by blunt trauma, I almost jokingly replied “A kilo of that please.” like in a wet market; but I felt it was corny. Instead, I turned to my team mates and watched in amusement as their faces turned to a different color every time, particularly Narcissus':lol_hitti. Everybody else left hurriedly while trying to keep themselves from throwing up. But Narcissus decided to stay since I was still there. Tough, eh? Well, not for long. When the great vessels of the heart were severed, warm arterial blood gushed from them…and that was it for Narcissus. “There’s a barf bag in drawer 5!”, I wondered if he heard me while he was fleeing.
My team mates often praised me for being so good at what we do that sometimes they wonder if they can ever be as knowledgeable as I was. I replied, “Actually, seeing as to how enthusiastic you guys are to learn, you could’ve been better than me if we were classmates in med school. You can’t compare yourselves to me at this point in time. Not yet.”
That display of humility went a long way. We became better as a team. I got to help them improve as a health care provider. Each took turns in wearing the leader hat and it was humbling to witness their confidence grow. We graduated and eventually, everybody got their licenses. Although, one thing never changed…yada-yakkety-blah, everywhere he went it got breezy. I was a little glad, though, because clinical rotations might not have been that much fun without the tornado that’s Narcissus.
gingerbreadman0214 joined Aug '08. Age: 36 Posts: 67 Likes: 32; Learn more about gingerbreadman0214 by visiting their allnursesPage
1Oct 30, '08 by jeepgrl944I should have been writing things down from when I first started in healthcare. The stories have seemed to blend in my head and no one event stands out... I do however have a couple of weird morgue stories... nothing to put you on your side... more like you'd be glad it didn't happen to you. Some of the things that did make us howl with laughter may cross over into HIPAA violation - or so one said - they were "reasons for visit" that patients wrote when signing in to ER. Not diagnoses, however, just why they showed up. One of the hardest things I've ever faced in ER is trying to stifle laughter when facing patients who write absurd things.
Anyway, will try to drum up something!