THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: The ER Caregiver Effect

There’s a tourist attraction in my city of Ottawa (Canada) called The Crazy Kitchen. It’s a room in the National Museum of Science of Technology that’s designed to demonstrate the effects of optical illusion on the mind and body. Entering the Crazy Kitchen is like walking through the doors of a house of mirrors at ...

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: DOUBLE VISION in the ER – DO THEY SEE WHAT I SEE?

My friend and colleague Vickie Cammack and I are co-writing a book of reflections on caregiving.  Vickie and I would love to know your thoughts about our work so far!  This is the first instalment from a section we’re working on about how we represent our loved ones to the world.  Does this resonate with you? Is ...

Those Emergency Blues: Charge Mommy

A few days ago, one of my colleagues said to me after a particularly frantic day in the ED, “You guys aren’t Charge Nurses, you’re Charge Mommies.” She is right. This is what we do: tell all the kids don’t fight and play nice fix boo-boos give hugs as needed, or tissue make sure all the ...

Those Emergency Blues: When the Police Come Calling

The police are more-or-less a permanent fixture in every Emergency department. They bring in the drunks, the suicidal, the psychotic, the homeless and yes, the criminal, who have either sustained injuries as a result of their activities, or else have developed sudden (and convenient) cardiac symptoms upon their arrest. Most of us in Acme Regional’s ED ...

Those Emergency Blues: Epic Hitler Emergency Department Charge Nurse Rant

I never thought I’d use the words “Epic” and “Hitler” and “Emergency Department” and “Charge Nurse” and “Rant” as a blog title, but what the hell. I was bored one night and thought it would be fun to make a Hitler rant parody. Filed under: What Passes for Humour Around Here Tagged: emergency department, emergency ...

Those Emergency Blues: Jean, ROSC*

So as J mentioned before, I was in a near catatonic state due to my VSA* computer which has fortunately been resuscitated. The hypothermia post resuscitation care was beneficial but it suffered an anoxic brain injury that may not be possible to overcome. Despite this crushing blow, (more so financially really since I do not feel like ...

Those Emergency Blues: In Which TorontoEmerg is So Busted, or, Welcome, Jean Hill

A few weeks ago, I was talking with a colleague, whom I will call Jean Hill, and by-the-by the conversation fell to nurse bloggers. Several prominent ones were mentioned, like Crass-Pollination and Emergiblog and Nerdy Nurse. “Oh,” said Jean Hill innocently. “I wish I could write like these guys.” At which point your humble blogger’s ...

Those Emergency Blues: More on When Labelling Patients Causes Patients to Die

In the comments WhiteCoat (of WhiteCoat’s Call Room fame) strenuously objects to my take on the Anna Brown case: Wow. Someone on my blog suggested that I check out this post after I just posted about this story yesterday. To all of you who think “something more should have been done,” what should that “something” ...

Those Emergency Blues: Just Because I Don’t Remember You Doesn’t Mean I Didn’t Care

In the Emergency Department where I work, the number of patients we see pushes 200 some days. We assess and treat a lot of people, mostly for lumps and bumps, breaks and bruises, but also for major, cataclysmic, life-altering events — MIs, trauma, stroke, what-have-you. I have a problem. The moment to the patient leaves ...

Those Emergency Blues: A Poem for Easter

My own, with at least Easterish themes of death and rebirth. Originally published on 7/10/10. VSA You came to us, no vital signs, no breath Found dead, or nearly so, by the mall You last saw cars, careening carts, a child. Then falling, hard pavement, blood, a void empty Of consciousness when help came, skin ...

Those Emergency Blues: When Labelling Patients Causes Patients to Die

I found this story how a homeless woman died very disturbing: Anna Brown wasn’t leaving the emergency room quietly. She yelled from a wheelchair at St. Mary’s Health Center security personnel and Richmond Heights police officers that her legs hurt so badly she couldn’t stand. She had already been to two other hospitals that week ...

Those Emergency Blues: The Guy in the Next Bed

Code Blue on the floor: a lot like a Code Blue in the Emergency Department, except we have to run to the elevators, take a ponderously slow ride up to whatever floor they’re doing compressions, and then run some more down some endlessly long corridors till we find a room full of telemetry nurses looking ...

Those Emergency Blues: Insert Snark Here

What this patient did not have Mr. CD, 88, took a little tumble at the nursing home when he slipped on a loose rug (or something, the details are a little vague here), obtained for his trouble a scalp laceration the length of Q-tip on his temple, bled like a stuck pig, transported by EMS, ...

Those Emergency Blues: TV Series Hot

Gob-smacklingly stupid or hip advertising? I’m leaning towards the former. Via CBC: A Stockholm hospital that published an online ad looking to fill a summer position with a nurse who is “TV-series hot” says it was “written to catch people’s attention.”  “We want people to be curious and have a little imagination,” said Elisabeth Gauffin, ...

Those Emergency Blues: A Paean to ED Nurses or Just Annoying?

Twitter follower @camillelalonde  — thank you — sent me  this oldish link, which initially warmed the very cockles of my heart: Guest Editorial ACEP News September 2006 By David F. Baehren, M.D. [. . .] We usually look afar for heroes and role models, and in doing so overlook a group of professionals who live and ...

Those Emergency Blues: Karma Sweet Karma

The latest instalment of Nurses Behaving Badly featured the night charge and the day charge (i.e. me) getting a status asthmaticus organized in Resus 1 a few minutes after shift change. It’s probably reasonable to wonder why the two Resus Room nurses weren’t attending (and attentive to) the situation, especially after we paged the physician and the ...

Those Emergency Blues: What Nursing Leadership Doesn’t Look Like

A small, belated Christmas tale on how not to manage an emergency department. But first a few preliminary points of information. First: in Ontario, front line nurses are generally forbidden from taking vacation over the Christmas holidays, usually from some point from the first or second week of December to the first or second week ...

Those Emergency Blues: Dying Alone

A few weeks ago I had a patient named Helen who died. I’m not talking about a dramatic code or trauma, with people running around shouting for IV access, but rather an elderly woman who was at the end of her natural life. Dying in the Emergency Department is not ideal by any stretch of ...

Those Emergency Blues: Awesome

A few days ago, we had VSA come into the department. According to EMS, the patient had collapsed while grocery shopping down the road; CPR was started almost immediately by another shopper; EMS arrived and gave the usual ACLS drugs — epinephrine and atropine, as well as defribrillating him, but the only rhythm showing  on ...

Those Emergency Blues: Under Construction

Meaning me, of course. I worked a (rare) Night 12 a few days ago. It was the usual dog’s breakfast of high acuity, walking wounded without end lining up at Triage, and the particular Emergency Department hell of having no beds for, you know, emergency patients, the department being a stunt double for a med-surg ...

Those Emergency Blues: Asking for Drugs

In the Emergency Department, part of a nurse’s job in discharging patients is to figure out if they are good to go home, because in part it’s good nursing practice, but mostly you don’t want to have them bouncing back in a few hours because they didn’t understand something, or have a question. So you ...

Those Emergency Blues: All Nurses Are Not Equal

My best friend Reid made an interesting point the other day. “I have,” she said, “an alphabet soup of certifications. I have ACLS. I have BCLS. I have TNCC. I have ENPC. I have pieces of paper that tell me I can run traumas and defibrillate people. I have critical care courses up the wazoo. ...

Those Emergency Blues: “We Will Now All Be Unwilling Participants in a Social Experiment That Will Undoubtedly Place Canadian Lives at Risk”

My thoughts exactly, from Alan Drummond of the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians. His full statement on the proposed repeal of the Gun Registry. It is regrettable that we, as a nation, are about to embark on an unwelcome social experiment. The Conservative government has been very clear that they intend to finally abolish the ...

Those Emergency Blues: Says Blatchford, First We Shoot All The Nurses

I actually did a double take, and my jaw dropped, slightly when I read this: It’s why, where I used to think that before I got really old I’d get me a gun so I could shoot myself, I now wonder if I won’t instead turn the weapon on some officious hospital executive, wanker bureaucrat ...

Those Emergency Blues: The Hockey Season Cometh

Overheard in Fast Track: Grandmother: (pointing to hat on child with a Canadiens emblem) Who are they? Who’s your favourite hockey team? 3-year-old child: Habs! Some other patient: Losers! I tell you, she had some nerve, that child. In Toronto, no less. Filed under: Life in the Emergency Department, What Passes for Humour Around Here ...