Fail, fail, fail, fail, succeed

Front Row Seats

Here they come – some confused, some angry, some violent. Conscious, unconscious, altered, dead. Generally speaking, no one is happy to see you.

Who are they? Well son, that’s your job to find out. You’re the triage nurse, the portal of entry to the ER. It’s your job to sort this mess out. Oh, BTW, some of them are going to die. Out of a sea of humanity, most with relatively trivial complaints, your job is to pick out the ones who are really sick.

It’s harder than it sounds. Because here’s the thing about the ER – the only thing you can trust are your instincts built on years of hard won experience. And on the way to getting those years of experience you are going to make some mistakes. Painful mistakes. It’s just the only way to become an expert. You learn everything you can in school and then it’s time to hit the real world. Suddenly nothing is as it seems – everything is gray, and everything seems to transpire to confuse the situation, to make the process as difficult as possible.

For example, say EMS drops off a combative, wildly agitated older woman attempting to physically assault everyone who comes close. You have to somehow figure out what’s going on. Intoxicated? If so, with what? Brain bleed? Dementia? Psychotic break with reality? Anoxia? Cancer? Just plain old crazy?

You look at the docs note from her last visit and it starts with “Pt. Screams I hope your mother rots in hell.” This is good news – now you’ve got a baseline. Further digging reveals she drinks. A lot. Every day. More good news – now a picture is starting to form. You’ve still got to get security to help restrain her while you do your exam, but you’ve now got a few guideposts to put you on (hopefully) the right track.

It’s like you have a front row seat to every fucking thing that can go wrong with humans.

It’s just the thing for adrenaline junkies with a very low threshold for boredom.