I am Very Sorry but Amputation is Indicated

At Triage the other day, which is arranged, of course, in such a way that you can’t directly see who needs to be assessed without creaking your neck in an unholy and unnatural position.

Meanwhile Mommy with a four year-old daughter is waiting in the To Be Triaged chairs while I’m dealing with a couple of chest pains and asthma exacerbations and whatnot, you know, serious Emergency department stuff; and all the time she’s growing more impatient, because, you know, her time is valuable, her make-up is perfect and the cashmere top she’s wearing screams Holt Renfrew and an attitude of I’m Too Important to Wait.

So Mommy marches up, and nearly shouts, “Is it my turn yet?”

It’s 1543, eight hours and forty-three minutes into a 12-hour shift, and my capacity for bullshit is about zero. I point to the chair.

“I’ve been waiting for twenty minutes.”

This conversation is getting tiresome already. What’s the problem? I ask.

“It is unacceptable that I’ve been waiting for twenty minutes to have my daughter seen.”

Fine, whatever, write your MP, I don’t care. Why are you here?

“Well,” Mommy says, “if you had been paying attention earlier, you would know my daughter has a splinter.”

I think: dear Lord, call a code. I peer. Sure enough, on the tip of daughter’s left D4, there is a certain slight erythema. I can’t actually see the offending sliver of whatever-it-is, but then, I’m of a certain age, and presbyopia is an issue.

“She does?” I ask. Needless to say I am a bit doubtful.

“She needs it frozen to take it out.”

Uhuh. I hate the pull the whole when-I-was-growing-up routine, but really. My mother, instead of taking me to emergency department, and wasting oodles of money, sterilized a needle on the stove, pinned down my squirming yelling self, and picked it out. I am sure this was a common enough procedure among millions that I need not elaborate.

I finish up the paperwork. I am very careful to score her a CTAS 5. I am very proud that I do not lose it and start to giggle hysterically.

Do I need to tell you how long she had to wait? Though I did give the daughter a teddy bear in recompense and pity for having such an annoying mother.


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  1. #1 by wilomis on Monday 07 December 2009 - 1630

    Did you also remove the splinter from the mother’s rear end? Oh ZINGER! PS I love the snow falling on your page!

  2. #2 by Maha on Monday 07 December 2009 - 2340

    a) Love the snow fall – makes me want more hot chocolate
    b) you should have made her a CTAS 6 – no need to be seen/eff off!

  3. #3 by Angry Nurse on Wednesday 09 December 2009 - 1916

    Hopefully the little girl will be able to overcome the genetic legacy she has been saddled with because of her mother….

  4. #4 by paedsnurse on Wednesday 09 December 2009 - 2350

    Oh NO a splinter!!!! You’d think the world was going to end! *shakes head*

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