There was once this emergency room in a not so particular Midwest state, in not so particular small Midwest town that at that time was still conducted emergency patient care as to how it was meant to be. Behind the times as hospitals protocol goes, as to issue care based upon the ability of the person to pay. This hospital was not held hostage to the insurance companies, and the HMO’s , that today spend millions of dollars to congress to spread it’s message of profits, at the expense of the patients.
It was the end of the 2nd shift of along night of cuts that need mending, bones that need setting and tummy aches that need soothing. The nurses, who has always have done the brunt of the work in the trenches of patient care felt most of the battle scars. Aching muscles, sore feet, dark circles under eyes, were all common place at the end of a shift. They were all looking forward to walking out the door when in the distance they could hear the constant howl of an ambulance approaching. Within moments the doors burst open, and upon the stretcher was what they most feared.
The fear of the last patient being a major patient, the fear that one of these nurses would have to stay over and assist the doctor with the last patient on shift, and this look like a major one. A man bearing the age of approximately 40-47 years of age, with all the wear and tear of a man of 70. His skin was cracked with wrinkles, like some spagattilly of highways overpass in a major city, all the more worn form countless years of sun and wind on the open road. A well worn black leather motorcycle jacket , with years of road rash from countless battles with asphalt, and the wind.
His black t-shirt with some hellish figure adorned the front of his attire , clung tightly to the grossly overweight patient. His unkempt beard was spotted with grey flecks of hair, which all the more a testimony to his age, and the hard life that he lived, was matted with blood and spittle. His jeans were full with grease from bygone days of not being washed and cleaned. Another apparent stab victim, who must have gotten drunk with another trashy low life individual, who had no regard to how precious life is.
Upon seeing this nasty foul smelling individual, the other nurses all back into a corner, and with all their eyes and composer screamed “not me”. I don’t won’t to care for this individual , I don’t have the time or the will to clean and care for such a nasty lowlife. The head nurse in charge, a woman with years of cleaning up blood, urine, pus, and other vile excrement from human bodies, was task with the duty of assigning the other young nurses, to patients as they entered the ER. She took one look at the stab victim and another disgusted look at here young interns, and stated, “This one is mine”.
As she took to the patient, cleaning blood, cutting off clothing, wiping the grim, and grease to expose the wound, she looked the patient in the eyes, and saw tears roll down his pot marked skin, he said, “thank you I’m starting to heal”. You see the head nurse did not see what I had described, all she saw was a mother’s son who had gotten lost on some path in the past, what could have been some little girls father who needed some help along the way. “Thank-you I’m starting to heal”.