Friday, November 25, 2005

Thanksgiving In The ER - A Timeline

10:13am - Patient arrives complaining of headache. Says that today is his 46th birthday and that he has had dreams since he was five years old which have all indicated that he was going to die on his 46th birthday. Patient is afraid he's going to die today. Head CT, psych consult.

11:01am - Consult board for new patients, get hit in the head with an orange. Discover psych patient redistributing her lunch with the following commentary: "I don't LIKE bananas. I don't LIKE tuna." Dodge remaining food items.

12:47pm - Sew up art line for elderly female patient. Towards end of the procedure patient grabs hold of large section of hair on physician's head and begins to shake with the following commentary: "Today must be your day to hate WOMEN."

2:05pm - Patient arrives with steak knife in his chest, self inflicted. Patient also has freshly dyed, bright pink hair, traces of dye still on his skin. Patient complains that, "it hurts," to which someone asks just what he was expecting when he stuck a steak knife in his chest. Patient becomes deadly serious and delivers the following commentary: "I was expecting to be able to go into the 9th dimension and tell them to stop."

3:55pm - Psych pronounces 46 year old with headache and non stop death dreams to be of sound mind. Radiology still has not returned head CT.

4:05 - Eat small portion of turkey. Rubbery. Slightly undercooked.

4:10 - CT for 46 year old comes back. Giant glioblastoma.

4:30 - Deliver news to 46 year old patient, begin setting up neuro consults, patient interrupts, asks how long he has. Explain that it's not clear, more qualified specialists can tell him more. Patient repeatedly asks if he has less than a year, if in fact he's going to die at 46. Finally admit that the CT does not look good, that without effective treatment a year is probably optimistic. Patient strangely calm. Try to set consults and appointments, but patient says he's not interested and leaves with the following comments: "I've known this was going to happen my whole life. Nothing you can do about it now. I'd like to spend the rest of my last Thanksgiving with my family."

2 comments:

Ned said...

One wonders why he didn't spend all of Thanksgiving with them before confirming his premonitions. After all, if you are going to die, then does it really matter if you get a check up or not?

amybenay said...

Ah, life in the ER!