Published May 31, 2003
I'm sure as nurses you have fielded some strange phone calls and enquiries from the bloke who rings up asking how "Gazzar" is but can't tell you Gazzar's real name, what he is in hospital for, or even if he has the right hospital. I have had people ask "Is this the Expensive Scare Unit" --- "Yup! Sure is......"
I suppose the strangest I ever received was about 10 pm at night. The caller was enquiring about a patient, a carnival worked who had been in an accident some 3 weeks previously. I don't know about anyone else but I was taught not to tell relatives over the phone that the patient was deceased in case this caused the person to go into shock. I was supposed to tell them the patient was "fading rapidly" and when they arrived I would tell them the patient had passed away while they were getting to the hospital. I was never in complete concordance with this philosophy but in this cas it was not going to work because the patient had passed away three weeks earlier. I gently communicated this to the caller to be confronted with.
"Why weren't we told?" Well if you haven't bothered to call in three weeks..... well, that is what I thought what I said was "Well, we have had the police looking for relatives....."
"YOU'VE HAD THE POLICE!!!!!" Ten minutes it took to calm the caller down and reassure them the police were only going to let them know what has happened. Finally she is calm but the next question was a doozey
"Where is he now?"
"I don't know"
"Why don't you know - he was one of your patients"
"I don't look after them once they are dead! Ummmm - I suppose he might be in the hospital morgue"
"Can you go and look?
I think about the small old brick building stuck among the trees at the back of the hospital and my answer was both heartfelt and immediate.
"NO!!! - I mean not tonight it'll be locked"
The sad part was as I talked to the woman the relationship she claimed kept getting more and more distant possibly as she realised she may be responsible for burial. Although I spent a good deal of
I had an interesting call. I originally came from Upper Michigan, which is close to the border of Canada. I also came from a 100% Finnish family. Both my mother and father speak finnish, frequently so that we wouldn't understand what they were saying. Of course, that was an incentive to learn what we needed to. So, of course, I picked up a "Finnish Yooper" accent. One time while I was living in LosAngeles, I picked up the nursing unit phone and answered, as usual. The person on the other end said, "Am I talking to a FINNISH nurse!?" I never realized how much of an accent I have! :)
About 10:30 one night working in a busy ER outside of Denver. It was one of those nights where nobody got to sit, eat, pee, ect. and I only answerd the phone because I was sick of hearing it ring.
"#### ER may I help you?"
"Um, yah, umm, what are the symptoms of the Black Plague?"
"Katty, it's for you.":roll:
The usual one I get is, "How's me dad?"
When I ask, "Who's your dad?"
And they reply indignantly, "Fred".
"FRED SMITH!" they say, accompanied by a 'god-you're-stupid- because-you-can't-read-my-mind' type of sigh.
If I had a pound for every time.....etc
gwenith, BSN, RN
Oh! Lor! I certainly have had my fair share. One night at around 2 am I got a coll - "Can I speak to Tom ------ ".
"Err - no it is 2am and unless it is an emergendy like a housefire I do not want to wake him up." (real dragon aren't I?)
"No no I jus' wanna talk to him" (this is very slurred)
"I can take a message and pass it on in the morning" (trying to be a little more helpful
"Jus' tell him I love him" still soft and slurred
not sure I heard - "I'm sorry could you speak up?"
"I can't speak up - my husband is in the room."
Honest!! True story!
One night we were unindated with calls, a harried nurse answered the visitor line for the 10th time. The caller identified himself as Mr. Subdeliveriman. Used to a large compliment of Sri Lankin patients with long names the nurse checked the name several times before announcing to the visitor he had the wrong area. Only then did another staff come forward to say he had ordered out and had his Sub arrived yet.
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