Friday, 7 November 2008

Ah...young love...what a glorious thing...oops,

The harsh discordant 'come to the Resus Room NOW' alarm bell cuts through my relaxed conversation with a new mum and her first-time-ill, beautiful bouncing four-month old baby.

"Excuse me...that's the emergency alarm...", I shout over my shoulder as I dash from the room,grabbing my stethoscope on the run...

And then I realise that my very expensive PDA is on the desk.

Mid step , I execute a perfect pirouette and dash back to get it.

Its not that I don't trust the young mum,but after all , she is a struggling single parent and it wouldn't be the first PDA I've had stolen by a patient.


Snatch up the PDA and run back to the Resus Room only to realise,-half way there-, that my Mont Blanc fountain pen is also on the desk...and then run back to get that as well.

Honestly...I know that you are busy dying...but it took 42 hours of overtime to get the money for that pen.

Finally running into the Resus Room , I see a young woman ,soaked in sweat , desperately struggling to breathe...using her entire body to try and get some air into her lungs...even her earlobes are flaring...

"Are you asthmatic?? Just nod your head !!"

Frantically,staring at me,she tries to nod her head.

Quickly I listen to her chest-the total lack of any real air entry except for a little squeak...we start a nebulizer and get an IV line started and give her some meds.

Gradually she starts to calm down,her breathing eases and I can get a full medical history from her.

In the meantime, Julian my trusty Health Care Support Worker,has been getting a brief history from a shocked-looking young man who has introduced himself as her boyfriend,and who has sat transfixed in the corner of the room during the initial moments of the consultation.

He says that they were driving back from the mandatory Saturday afternoon shopping expedition when his girlfriend said that she couldn't breathe and so he drove to the Unit.

He doesn't know much about her health as he has only been dating her for 4 months and had only just,that weekend,moved into her flat.

Finally she can talk.

"Can I just check that you are asthmatic?"


"Have you had an attack like this before ?"

'No' , says the boyfriend ...

Yes...I've had six admissions to St Vulva's in the last nine months...once to ICU...


"Okay...just relax...carry on using the neb...I just need to get a bit more history from you while we wait for the you have any other medical problems?"

She lists two more life-long medical conditions...and lists the five different meds she takes each the obvious discomfort of her boyfriend.

"Do you take the Pill...I think that you'll need some antibiotics at the hospital?"

No,I don't use any contraception

'You told me you had the injection !' says Boyfriend.

"Are you allergic to anything ?"

She is...

"What work do you do?"

I work at St Vulva's the operating theatre...

"Oh ja...what do you do?"

I'm a cleaner in the Central Sterilizing Department

'A cleaner ? You told me you were a nurse!'

The boyfriend now looks like he has bought the losing ticket in the lottery of life.

Fortunately the ambulance arrives to take her up to the main hospital.Julian gets all the pieces of paper together and chivves the paramedics to get going.

"Are you going to go up to the hospital in the ambulance with your girlfriend...or drive up behind the ambo?"

'Nah mate...I'm going to go back to the flat and pack up my gear...all that stuff wrong with her...well...look at her...I mean...its not like shes' Angelina Jolie is she...and all those medicines and allergies and stuff...and she's a cleaner ! mate...I'm not wasting any more time with her am I...I don't want to take care of some cripple when I get old do I ?'


...thus stressing his girlfriend and setting off a new round of bronchospasm ...

True never lets you down.

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