One shift. 3 stories.

This post was originally published on
It is a fictional adaption of my actual experiences working for 35 yrs
 as an emergency department nurse.
Warning: Strong language ahead.

My name is Caleb.

Ive had this pain in my arse for 2 weeks now. The doc says its a hemorrhoid or something. All I know is, it fucking hurts like shit.
I am supposed to have surgery, but the hospital has cancelled it twice now. Says its too busy.

My doctor gave me painkillers, but they don’t do fuck-all. I ran out on Monday, and I haven’t slept for the last 3 nights ’cause of the pain.
I haven’t been to work, and now I think I’m going to get the sack.
I can’t get in to see the doc till next Monday. And all the other doctors are booked out.
Cant stand the pain for another second.

So I go back to the hospital.
I wait for ages, then the nurse at the front counter finally calls me in. I tell her how much agony Im in and that I can’t stand it.
She tells me that I will have to wait for a long time and that she will bring me some painkillers.
I cant sit in the stupid waiting-room, don’t you get it?
Then she goes off and never comes back. Eventually I can’t stand it no more. Stupid bitch.
I get angry an yell for someone to bring me some painkillers.
The nurse comes back, and then this big bastard male nurse comes over and tells me to shut up. He’s a real smart-arse.
That’s it….. I totally loose it.

Next thing I know they’ve called security and they push me outside. In front of everyone. My girlfriend sees it all. She is screaming.
I can’t stand the pain no more, and nobody is doing anything. Whats wrong with these people?
Next thing the fucking cops arrive.
They stand around me, but I don’t give a shit….the pain is so bad. They can shoot me for all I care.

Then another nurse comes over. She talks to me. She tells me she will get the doctor and give me some meds. Finally!

I just start crying. Ive totally had enough of this shit.

Its like, whatever.
They put me in a wheelchair and wheel me over near the door outside. The cops leave and the nurse and a doctor come out with my meds.
What sort of fucking service is this?

My name is Karen.

Its a busy Friday evening and I’m working the Triage desk. The department is full, and the waiting room crowded.
A 22 yo male presents complaining of rectal pain. I know this guy, Caleb. He was here last week with the same presentation. He caused some trouble then and this time he has attitude from the moment we meet.
He was supposed to get surgical followup, but he is back.
I can see that he is in some considerable pain. He says it’s 10/10, and unfortunately for all of us, he is going to have a long wait to be seen. I tell him I will get him some oxycodone to try to make him more comfortable.

At that moment, a critically unwell patient arrives by ambulance. The paramedics are preforming CPR and need some assistance to move the stretcher into resuscitation.
A couple of minutes later, as I walk back to the desk, I hear him:
“you fucking cunts….I’m going to kill all of you!”
He locks eyes with me. ” get me some fucking painkillers NOW! And get me a DOCTOR”
He picks up a chair and throws it against the desk.
I’m scared, the clerical staff are scared.
One of our nurses, Michael, comes out to see what’s up.
He is great in these sorts of situations. “This behavior is unacceptable my friend”
Caleb steps up and pushes him hard. ” don’t get smart with me cunt!”
Clerical call a code black, and then they call the police.
Wardsman and security arrive quickly, and pretty much manhandle him outside.

I’m still shaking when two police cars roll up a couple of minutes later.
I see one of our senior nurses, Jane, walk over to the group.
Next thing, the police are leaving….and the wardsmen sit Caleb in a wheelchair and wheel him over in front of the ‘No Smoking’ sign for a cigarette.
I was like…..what??
Then Jane and a doctor go over and give him some painkillers, and a script. He leaves shortly afterwards with his girlfriend. A smile on his face.

So much for zero tolerance. I mean, this guy was rewarded for this sort of behaviour. He assaulted a nurse and for that…. he jumped the queue, and had a doctor and nurse attend to him outside while he had a cigarette!

Not happy.

My name is Jane. 

I’m the team leader for this evening. It’s super busy, and a cardiac arrest has just arrived when I hear trouble out at the Triage desk.

By the time I can get out there, security have moved this guy outside. I looked after this guy last week. He has had a pretty tough life. Just got out of jail actually. I remember him telling me he was really scared that he might be about to lose his new job if he took anymore sick leave. he has three kids, and one of them has some sort of congenital heart disease. A poor prognosis.

Anyway, the police arrive, words are being exchanged and the whole thing is escalating. The whole group is now obstructing the main entrance to the department, and I can see a few very upset people trying to get past. I think it must be the family of the cardiac arrest. The police have lost patience and are about haul him off.

I kinda feel sorry for the guy. He is obviously in a great deal of pain… and has just lost the plot.
I think I can de-escalate this situation and bring some sort of resolution. I don’t think he remembers me from last week, but I walk in and sit down beside him. With all the police around, I’m not feeling threatened, and I spend some time talking to him.
He bursts into tears, sobbing loudly.
All he wants is enough painkillers to get him by till he can get in to see his doctor. If the police haul him off he is only going to come back later. It’s the weekend, and he won’t get in to see anybody till next week.

I think I can finish this quickly. I go and grab a doctor and explain the situation. The police are happy to leave once he calms down a little.
I feel good that I have managed to stop this situation becoming violent, and ending up with Caleb away from his family.

Within five minutes, he has had some painkillers, has a script, and leaves.
I notice the Triage nurse give me a curt look as I walk by, but I’ve got too much happening right now to talk to her.
I hurry back to care for the family of the man who has just died in resuscitation.

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