Anecdotal, autobiographical stories of the ER. A behind the scenes look at patients, hospitals, ERs, doctors and nurses, and hospital administration; tales ranging the gamete of human emotion: the ridiculous to the sublime, the outrageously amusing to the unfathomly sad, and all the human idiosyncrasies that go in such a high stress environment.
It was a Saturday night, another one of those particular evenings in the ER when everything related to the practice of Emergency Medicine had fallen apart. Seriously ill and injured patients lay everywhere and every room was occupied, and to further complicate matters, the hospital was remodeling the ER, making a fourth of our rooms unavailable.
The department work station was also being renovated, so the ER personnel had to occupy desks and chairs in the middle of the hall. Everyone (ward clerks, nurses, ER docs, and other ancillary medical personnel) was having to work at the makeshift station, and with family members and visitors inquiring about patients, it made the space available look as crowded as a Los Angeles freeway at rush hour. It was a disaster.
Into the middle of the chaos sashayed a young black male: age – early twenties, height – five feet-six inches or so, and weight – maybe a hundred and thirty pounds. He was barefoot and dressed in skin tight black leather pants and an emerald green silk shirt. His shirt was ripped open exposing his chest and right shoulder. Most notable were his lips, surrounding mouth, and chin which were smeared with copious amounts of ruby red lipstick. He pranced up to the work station, gazed around at the activity, and then addressed the busy ward clerk with a guttural, “Ahem!”
Marjorie, the ward clerk, couldn’t ignore the salutation, or the eyes riveted to her, or his attire, or his malicious makeup, and asked, “May I help you?”
The young man placed his arms akimbo, rolled his eyes toward the heavens, and shouted for everyone to hear, “HELLO. MY NAME IS HEATHER LOCKLEAR AND I’VE BEEN ORALLY RAPED!”
Everyone, and I mean everyone, stopped to look and listen.