So a well-known frequent-flying sickle cell princess is finally brought back into a room after a 3 hour wait in triage. I actually have a soft spot for these patients somewhere deep inside my crusty facade, because unlike many other chronic conditions that cause mystery pain, this disease actually harms those who are afflicted with it. You never see an old sickler, and it's rare to see even a middle-aged one. So I consider these patients to have terminal illnesses, and I have no problem giving them as much pain medication as they want or need.
And I hate to see them wait so long before they get treated too, but as usual, we were doing the best we could that day. Sicklers typically suffer alone; their families must have learned long ago that there are better places to spend half a day than sitting by the bedside of an alternately moaning, complaining, and snoring chronic pain patient, even if it happens to be someone they love. So the families usually just drop them off in triage, and hopefully they are available to pick them up if the patient improves enough to go home.
But not this guy.
She had literally been in the room all of 2 minutes, just long enough for me to check when she was last discharged from the hospital (one week prior) and look over the meds she had received during her last ER visit (about a pound of morphine), when her boyfriend was already at the nurses' station, asking when she was going to see the doctor.
So I went to see her and then came directly out to enter the medication orders in the computer. I'm just starting to type my note, when he's back at the desk, asking when she is going to get her shot. It'll be just a couple of minutes, I tell him. It's already ordered. As it is ordered, so shall it be done.
Two minutes after the shot, as the nurse is charting, he comes out again to ask for a cup of water for her. Five minutes later, it's a warm blanket. Then a sandwich. One of the other nurses tossed some slippers on the counter, just in case.
"Dude, she's got you running all over the place," I told him. "We'll get her whatever she wants, but maybe you could ask her to make a list or something so we can take care of it all at once."
Maybe we need a menu.