Thursday, January 15, 2015

Memories...



A long, long, long, time ago, during my college years... I was a volunteer working in an ER.

It was a fairly small ER, and I was allowed to do A LOT of things that volunteers today aren't. It was nice, because my help was genuinely appreciated, and I was made to feel like part of the staff.

Anyway, one day an elderly lady came in with trouble breathing. While the doctor examined Mrs. Gasping, the nurse and I hooked her up to some oxygen. She went to turn on the O2, handed me the oxygen mask, and asked me to put it on the patient.

So I was placing it on the lady's face when the elastic band snapped over, pulling the plastic mask to the side.

To my horror, her whole nose flew off. We hadn't been told she had a prosthetic nose to replace one lost to skin cancer.

The nose clattered over the gurney and onto the floor. I screamed, thinking I'd somehow accidentally torn her nose off. The nurse shrieked. The doctor jumped back. I saw my entire dream of a medical career vanish.

Her husband started laughing, picked up the nose, put it in her purse, and set the oxygen mask on correctly.

I hid in the bathroom for a while.


20 comments:

a.generic doc said...

Did the psychic trauma of this episode make it harder for you to play the,"I've got your nose" game when you later had small children?

ER's Mom said...

OMG, I'm laughing so hard right now!

bunkywise said...

How could you have held back such an amazingly awesome story like that until now????

Melaka said...

I agree with bunkywise! That, hands down, was the best story yet!

Anonymous said...

And this is how neurology moved ahead of ear nose and throat on my specialty choice

The Condign Gentleman said...

Somehow they always skip that part in the airplane safety videos.

clairesmum said...

guess we know why ENT was not your specialty!

Ms. Donna said...

So, putting aside the dream of being a top-notch ENT, you went into neurology. Long hours (ENTs have office hours and scheduled surgery) stroked-out pts. and pts. with degenerative diseases.

Where can I kiss this lady?

Anonymous said...

And to think, had you missed out on the illustrious and fulfilling medical career you have today- you would have missed it by a nose.

Anonymous said...

You should have tried to take off her ears too.

Anonymous said...

Musta been a good prosthesis.

Anonymous said...

That was hilarious!

Our high school math teacher at Chugiak delighted in expanding student personal knowledge of mathematicians, and I certainly remember more about Tycho Brahe's brass nose falling off during a church service (lost part in a math-related duel) than I do about sine-cosine functions. Oh well, I've never been held responsible for knowing about those math concepts, so I cannot say what I've missed in that regard.

MDaisy said...

You missed becoming an ENT by a nose.

Anonymous said...

Gesundheit

Shash said...

Reading this just made my day look a whole lot more mundane. Thanks for a much needed laugh.

Anonymous said...

Ill never forget my first volunteer stent in a hospital. I was in pharmacy school and the nurse made me help hold all the stuff while she placed a urinary catheter in a female patient. I was thinking I didnt need to see that. If Id wanted to watch a catheterization I would have gone to nursing school!

Katertot said...

Omg pls tell me u told this story in your application essays

Silliyak said...

Sounds more like a PTSD flashback than a memory

lyndat. said...

Good Grief Grumpy, I needed that!! I would have given any thing to have seen your face! That is so classic!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the laugh!

 
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