Friday, August 18, 2006

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Little Miss Betty called for an ambulance at 2 AM. The tones from the radio at the desk startled us all out of our dazed slumber. "EMS, please respond to 123 N. Main for an 82 year old female complaining of high blood pressure and a bloody nose."

"Bloody nose? She's calling an ambulance because she has a bloody nose? Is she bored?" Lucy asks.

"She better be gushing blood and about ready to pass out" whispers cranky Dr Q, who happens to have a sore throat and a fever.

"Oh, go take some Nyquil Dr. Q" We all say in unison.

Ten minutes later the ambulance rolls into the bay. I stand at the back door propping it open and shivering as the wind blows up my scrub pants. Holy moses on a teacup it's cold. The back doors of Medic 93 pop open and the paramedics unload Little Miss Betty.

Now, Little Miss Betty has made many visits to our fine Emergency Department. I've received her from the ambulance for complaints of chest pain (her bra rubbed her raw under her left breast), a broken leg (it was just a scratch), abdominal pain (she needed to fart), and burns (she spilled coffee on her toe). They tried not to transport her but Little Miss Betty insisted that she must be seen. "It's an EMERGENCY!" she'd cry.

We settled LMB on the stretcher and hooked her up to the cardiac monitor. Her blood pressure was 158/68, heart rate of 72 in Normal Sinus Rhythm, and a respiratory rate of 38. There was approximately 1 teaspoon (or less) of blood on the front of her nightgown. Dr. Q came in the room, took one look at LMB, and tried to walk out the door. Lucy did a quick double step and grabbed him by the back of his scrubs. "Let me introduce you to Little Miss Betty, Dr. Q. She's here with complaints of a nose bleed and high blood pressure". I must say, every day my pride in Lucy increases. She's learning so well.

Dr. Q proceeds to examine LMB. He asks her the standard questions regarding the events of the day and night, past medical history, current medications, and allergies. LMB is being very unclear on her answers - rambling, making up names of medications that don't exist, changing her story, etc. Finally Dr. Q has had enough.

"Okay Betty, what really happened today?"

"Well," she pauses, sniffles a bit, and wipes her nose with a crumpled up paper towel. "If you really want to know.................."

"Yes, I do" he replies. "Tell me now" (Dr Q needs to work on his bedside manner when he's sick. He really gets a bit cranky).

"Well, I applied for a loan today and I was denied. Can you believe that? They denied me, a little old lady, they denied me money!" She dissolved into sobs.

"What did you need a loan for Betty?"

" A plane," she replied.

Silence. We all looked at each other with a quizzical eye.

"A plane?" Dr Q asked.

"Yes you moron. A plane! I need a plane to fly to Georgia to buy a new house. I'm leaving this place. I'm leaving you all and I'm never coming back. But.... But I....." she pauses to sniffle and choke on her tears, " I can't get a looooooooaaaaaaaaaaan". She once again dissolves into chest heaving sobs.

Lucy whips out ten dollars from the back pocket of her scrubs. "Let's start a collection" she whispers to me. Five hands appear over her shoulder with twenty dollars in each.

It's a start.