Monday, December 10, 2007

They're Coming Out of the Woodwork

When a teenager gets hurt and ends up in the ER, life as we know it changes. The world stops revolving, time stands still, and it seems like the end is never in sight. Why?

Because 10,000 of their friends show up in the waiting room and your nightmare has begun.

Where do these people come from? They seem to materialize out of thin air. One minute your waiting room has about 5 people in it, and the next time you walk by 20 minutes later it is filled to capacity. Apparently, the word got out. Cell phones are such a great aid to society, don't you think?

I understand that as a teen, your life revolves around your friends. I understand that having a friend hurt seems like the very end of your world (even if it is only a broken wrist from jumping off the top of the truck at the kegger last night). I was a teenager once too - shocking, I know. It wasn't even that long ago (quit snickering Jodee - I can hear you from here).

What I don't understand is why every single person from the high school thinks they need to be in the ER to "support" their friend. We're not going to let you all back to see them. We're not going to let you disrupt our flow. And we're certainly not going to let you have a party in the waiting room - so turn your damn music down and quit sneaking drinks off the flask in your pocket. We do have security here and we're not afraid to use them.

Sigh..........I sound like such an old granny. I know as a teenager I never would have been able to comprehend how my presence and the presence of multitudes of my friends could possibly make it harder for an ER to operate. But it does. I know now. And I am beginning to be irrationally irritated by anyone between the age of 13 and 19 who shows up at the triage desk. I know what's coming next - the entire high school. Followed by 4 hrs of comments such as "She's such a bitch - she won't let us back to see Sally Joe." "I know Susie Q! Gosh! I asked her for water and she told me to go lap it up out of the drainage ditch outside. What a whore."

After we've wasted hours sorting through the kids in the waiting room and finally getting them to leave, we finally find the little old lady in the corner of the lobby who's patiently been waiting for her turn at the triage desk. A little old lady with chest pain who turns out to be having an active MI. "Oh honey, it's OK," she says. "I know those kids were all worried about their friend. I'm not that important." The only people that are accompanying her are her husband and her neighbor.

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