Friday, May 18, 2007

I Didn't Mean Right Now!

I'm sitting up front at the check-in desk doing a four hour stint sitting on my butt. This 45-ish year old guy walks in and brings a mushroom cloud of cigarette smoke with him. I swear to God, he had to have been sitting in his car chain-smoking for the last 2 days to smell like this. He's filling out the little "What do you want" slip, and I notice that he's breathing a wee bit funny. So I ask him, "What's going on tonight?"

He says, "I'm having trouble breathing and my arthritis is acting up."

I said, "Did you smoke all the way here in the car? Because I'm smelling quite a bit of cigarette smoke on you."

He said, "Yeah, I had a couple."

I whip out my handy-dandy portable pulse ox and see that his o2 sat is 90%. I said, "Maybe you should think about cutting back on that a little bit, or you're going to end up with a tube down your throat and a machine breathing for you!"

He gives me the "I know, I know" look that means "But as long as you're paying for my healthcare, what else do I have to spend my money on but beer and cigarettes?" and I take him to the back.

About 3 hours later I head back to the back, having been relieved of my post up front. I notice a bit of activity around room 4, and so I stick my head in to see what's going on.

They're intubating the guy I lectured up front about getting intubated! I'm like, "What the Hell?"

Turns out he had started acting funny and gotten more and more disoriented as the previous couple of hours had gone on. All of his tests were negative, even the LP they ended up doing. The doc thinks maybe he accidentally OD'd on his Soma. They were transferring him to the Big Hospital in the Big City when I was leaving.

Goes to show you, smokers- if I tell you that you're going to end up on a vent, I mean it!

4 comments:

Miranda5 said...

So...what's wrong with the patch? You can get a free trial. If you don't want to quit, at least stick that puppy on when you're in the freakin' hospital.

I hate seeing people with O2 tanks smoking. It's just so wrong on so many levels.

Catherine said...

Quite the seer you are!

Just A Midwife said...

Oh MonkeyGirl, can you heal too, or are your powers only for creating instant karma? What can you do about the guy who cut me off on the freeway tonight ;) ??

Ben said...

I hate it when that happens. The only way it could have been worse is if the guys wife had been in the room; every single time I have been at an intubation with family present, it turns into a blood-and-vomit filled bath of gore.

I love medicine.