My adventures as a pre-med college student volunteering in the ER and trying to hold my own as an EMT student.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Alarming situation

Tonight we almost set the ER on fire. Okay... not exactly. Lately, Katie and I have been volunteering on Saturday nights from 5-9 PM. Normally things are slow until about 8, so tonight we decided to go from 8-midnight instead, hoping for a more eventful night. Despite the full moon, the waiting room remained empty for most of the night. It never really picked up, and the people that did come in only had minor bumps and bruises. Nothing serious. Yawn. I spent the majority of my time stocking gloves and hanging with Katie.

It probably seems morbid that I get excited about ugly cuts requiring stitches, and a man coming in with a missing ear (that's an entirely different story), but I just enjoy the rush of nurses and doctors buzzing around with equipment, talking medical jargon that I have yet to understand. The hospital I volunteer at is a level three trauma. This means that we mostly see drunks and druggies, much less serious than the Freddy Kruger victims that end up at the level one hospital an hour away. They're usually loud and obnoxious, the nurses like to crack jokes. Good times. However, tonight we weren't so lucky, no party animals stoppin' by.

In fact, the most entertaining part of the night didn't even revolve around a patient. It was one of the nurse's birthday, and everyone pitched in to buy her a small cake. Instead of appropriately lighting the cake and singing "Happy Birthday" in the nurse's lounge, they decided to do it in the middle of the nurse's station. This posed an awkward situation because about eight rooms face the nurse's station, and these patients can look out and see how much fun we're having, wasting time, and carrying on while they're withering in pain. None of the nurse's seemed to notice, or maybe they just didn't care. Either way, the cake was lit, with trick candles of course. The birthday girl blew and blew to no avail. Those darn things just kept lighting up again. Oh, the irony of a respiratory specialist unable to blow out her own birthday candles. Anyway, things quickly went from comical to alarming when one of the doctors pointed out the smoke threatening the fire alarms. Fortunately, the candles were doused with water before the hospital was put under code red.

I could only imagine the chaos that would have ensued, had the fire alarms gone off. Sprinklers would have shot water all over panic-stricken patients. Fire rescue would come rushing in, only to find that the mayhem was caused from measly birthday candles. I only wish my night could have been that exciting.

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