Doctor Dad

Posted By on December 23, 2004

“Nurse? Scratch my back.”

.: Last night my dad took me to the ER to watch him work. He’s an ER doctor and, as I learned throughout the night, a pretty good one at that. His shift was from 9:00 pm to 6:00 am; we left a little before seven. During that time, I saw people with serious problems—fractured C-1 vertebrae, total renal failure causing hyperkalemia, massive heart attack followed by seizure followed by asphyxiation via gum, severe dementia—all of which were rather mundane ailments to the people who worked there.

.: I took notes throughout the evening, notes which I plan to turn into something larger than this post. (I smell a screenplay!) Therefore, with these plans in mind, I leave you only with a sample of what’s to come. In order of arrival, here are Key Quotes From Patients:

.: Bed 9 – Seizure
Dad: “She’s what we call a Drug Seeker. They come in, moaning and groaning, trying to score some painkillers. I’ve seen ’em all before. Watch, she’ll start complaining as soon as we step foot in the door.”

.: Bed 11 – Heart attack
Nurse: “Dr. Cobb, please inform the respiratory therapist before you proceed to defibrillate next time.”

.: Bed 1 – Emphysema
Dad: “Do you smoke?”
Pat.: “No, I don’t smoke.”
Dad: “Good for you!”
Pat.: “Not since four days ago.”
Dad: “…”

.: Bed 4 – Seizure
Dad: “And who grabbed the steering wheel when it happened?”

.: Bed 15 – Fever
Dad: “What do you think? Five year old girl, worst headache of her life, temperature 100.7, white blood count 17.2—”
Doc.: “Tap her!”
Dad: “You think I should tap her?”
Doc.: “Yeah!”
Dad: “You’re a mean old man.”

.: Bed 2 – Fractured C-1 Vertebrae
Dad: “Sir, how many drinks have you had tonight?”
Pat.: “What?”
Dad: “Have you been drinking tonight?”
Pat.: “A little, yeah.”
Dad: “How many drinks have you had tonight?”
Pat.: “Total?”
Dad: “Yes, total.”
Pat.: “About eight or nine.”
Dad: “Eight or nine?”
Pat.: “Yeah.”
Dad: “Where did you come from?”
Pat.: “I—”
Dad: “Were you coming home from work?”
Pat.: “No—”
Dad: “Were you coming home from a party?”
Pat.: “Part—”
Dad: “You came back from a party?”
Pat.: “Yeah, it’s a party—”
Dad: “What do you do for a living?”
Pat.: “Ink.”
Dad: “You make ink?”
Pat.: “I have to go see my son.”
Dad: “No, sir, you just wait right here. You’re intoxicated.”
Pat.: “My son needs me.”
Dad: “Your son needs you to stay where you are.”
Pat.: “I need to see my son. He needs me.”
Dad: “Sir, you cannot leave this bed.”
Pat.: “My legs work—”
Dad: “Your neck is broken, sir. Do you realize if you move one wrong step, you could be paralyzed for the rest of your life?”
Pat.: “…”
Dad: “Your neck is broken. You cannot move it.”
Pat.: “…”
Dad: “It doesn’t matter if you can move your arms and legs, your vertebrae is not in a position to support your head.”
Pat.: “I have to see my son.”

.: Bed 7 – Atrial Fibrillation
Dad: “We get this every year. People drink lightly throughout the year, maybe one drink a day, then around Thanksgiving and Christmas, they have a little too much to drink and their heart goes haywire. We call it Holiday Heart.”

.: Bed 4 – Fall
Pat.: “Hey!”
Dad: “He’s got dementia, he doesn’t know—”
Pat.: “Hey!”
Dad: “—where he is.”
Pat.: “Hey!”
Dad: “Says here he fell in the hallway at a nursing—”
Pat.: “Hey!”
Dad: “—home, might’ve busted his right knee.”
Pat.: “Hey!”

.: Bed 12 – Hyperkalemia
Dad: “This is by far the sickest patient we’ve had tonight. This one’s seriously ill. We’re going to—”
Nurse: “Dr. Cobb!”
Dad: “That’d be me.”
Nurse: “Bed six, homeless 18 year old with—”
Dad: “Is it life-threatening?”
Nurse: “No.”
Dad: “Then leave me alone.”

.: Bed 3 – Nausea and Vomiting
Dad: “Do you smoke?”
Pat.: “I just started.”
Dad: “What?! You’re fifty! Why would you start now?”
Pat.: “Well, my husband was dying of lung cancer, so I tried to be inspirational for him, make him choose life.”
Dad: “So you chose death?”

.: Bed 6 – Anxiety
Dad: “Do you hear how her voice is the same, no animation? That’s called a Flat Affect, and it’s a sure sign of mental illness.”

.: Bed 5 – Pneumonia
Nurse: “It took us three nurses to pin him down for the shot, and he’s only two!”

.: Bed 13 – Chest Pains
Dad: “Do you smoke?”
Pat.: “Yes.”

.: Bed 8 – Hand Injury
Pat.: “So whatcha gonna do?”
Me: “Oh, I don’t work here.”

.: That’s all you get for now. Stay tuned for future developments.

About The Author


8 Responses to “Doctor Dad”

  1. G-Fry says:

    Dude, I cannot wait for this shit. With your style, it’s gonna pop out like that book you got me started on a while back. (PS: What was that called? I might be able to finish it in January.)

    As a sidenote: For the last three months, for no good reason at all, I’ve been terrified that I would get into a car accident while my brother was chewing gum, and I’d have to watch him die. The prospect completely terrifies me, and I have no idea where I came up with the idea. It might make for some cool writing, though.

  2. Ian says:

    Wow, really great post, and a fun read.

  3. Nick Jackson says:

    A very entertaining read! Indeed!

  4. Zane says:

    More fun hearing the stories in person, for sure. Thanks for sharing, though Susan didn’t seem to want to hear them for some reason.

  5. Julia says:

    Defibrillate … such a fun word to say … defibrillate.

  6. Maine says:

    More. More!

  7. Camellia says:

    When my daughter was two she sprained her ankle, and just to be safe the doc called for an x-ray of it, as it turned out she was terrified. In the end it took three x-ray techs and my husband to hold her down, all big military men.

  8. 3angeles says: