Unbagging the Cats 1

Unbagging the Cats 1

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Medicine Most Foul

I have a bee in my bonnet. And folks here in Backroads are quite fortunate that I didn't unleash that bee on them last night in one of the three local emergency rooms.

My mom had to go to the ER twice yesterday with a nosebleed. That's a no-no for septuagenarians on blood-thinners. She's fine now. But some of her patients-in-waiting need a good dose of medical etiquette. I've half a mind to notify Backroads Miz Manners.

It's cold and flu season, y'all. And it would stand to reason that a few ER waitees are infected with some kind of bug. Especially those who sit with a coat on backwards, bleary-eyed, looking like tap-tap-tapping on death's door would require entirely too much effort. So you would think that every time a new patient left the intake desk, the intake clerk would scrub up that electronic pen with some Germ-X or a baby wipe or, get this, some good old-fashioned hospital-grade C3H8O. That's rubbing alcohol for you non-science-teachers. Isopropyl to his family. But NO! Nary a thing was done to Mr. Electronic Pen between patients. Not that I could tell.

There was Mom, in her jeans and turtleneck, looking for all intents and purposes like the stand-in for Sissy Spacek during the prom scene in Carrie, dabbing at her drippy nostrils, no gloves. I put a stop to that forthwith. "Stop that! Here. Hold out your hand. You scrub with my purse Germ-X. Twice. Before you put your hand anywhere near your nose again." She is quite daughter-compliant.

Those workers didn't know if she harbored hepatitis or any other blood-borne disease. And the next person after her touched Mr. Electronic Pen in his soiled state. Not to mention the flu-sy who touched it before Mom. Criminy! Do we need Joseph Lister revolving in his grave?

But forewarned is forearmed. I always carry my trusty Germ-X. The public-health faux pas that put a wad in my panties last night was the total insouciance of the flu-sies in respect to airborne pathogen transmission. I observed three of them. One sat with his back against the wall, hoodie over his head, eyes closed, exhaling freely toward the center of the waiting room. I chose a seat diagonally opposite him, the greatest distance we could achieve.

Another one had been given a yellow gauze face-mask. He had it looped over his ears. It covered his mouth. But his gigantic honker was exposed. I could not tell if he was a mouth breather. I didn't see that fabric sucking in and out. And with the enormous proportions of his schnozzola, there was plenty of room for the virus to wend its way around any cloggage. We sat parallel to him, on the opposite end of the room.

The third flu-sy was totally ridiculous. He draped his gauze mask over his ears. And then under his chin. Nose and mouth were as bare as a newborn's butt. I suppose he was protecting us from saggy under-chin skin if he suddenly transformed into an old lady. Thank goodness, he left his parents waiting to hear his name called, and went out to sit in the car.

AND, the ER nurse practitioner (you didn't think we'd see a real doc, did you?), while washing her hands upon initial entry into the curtained inner sanctum to feel around on Mom's face, did not re-wash on subsequent re-entries after leaving to consult her attending.

The whole episode reminded me of the scene in the original John Wayne True Grit, where Gaspargo is going to remove a bullet from Labeouf's hand, and Mattie Ross (of near Dardanelle in Yell County) says, "Aren't you going to wash first? Don't you wash your hands before you eat?" And Gaspargo says, "I'm not going to eat his hand."

I wash my hands of this hospital.

Unfortunately, that's where I have to go tomorrow to have blood drawn in the lab.

7 comments:

Stephen Hayes said...

It sounds like you're describing a scene from the movie Contagion.

Sioux said...

You should check out the Hillbilly Mom's blog. She too went to the ER, and I suggested she reflect on the waiting room antics, to give her material for her post. Silly me....

I hate it these days when people still cover their coughs and sneezes with their hands. I need a catchy phrase to print up on a postcard, so I can hand it to them (using a ten-foot pole) to "educate" them.

Linda O'Connell said...

Oh I so agree with you. I hate it when someone licks there finger and then counts out change.

Val said...

Stephen,
Haven't seen it, but judging from the commercials, you're right.

***************
Sioux,
Small world, huh? I'm sure she would consider that after reading your comment, which some people only check around 8:00 p.m., just before they hit "publish".

You and your philanthropic ways! Handing out free postcards, educating the masses. I'm surprised you'd have time away from your busy schedule of giving them cars for their garages, and chickens for their pots.

****************
Linda,
So when you lick YOUR finger and count change, you are licking the finger of every other finger-licker that THAT finger-licker ever licked. Take my word for it.

***************
Sioux,
How about that finger-licker phrase for your postcards, only change it to hand-sneezer.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

I was a nurse back in the day, an ER nurse. The joke about me was that I single handedly washed the entire county. Soap and water, a good dose of common sense to go with it will change your life! We had one particular doc who disdained gloves and I can honestly say I never saw him wash his hands. I followed him for an entire 8 hour shift, going so far as to stand outside the restroom door and listen for the water to come on. I cannot swear that he did not wash his hands after he used the bathroom, but I am fairly certain that he didn't. I requested that he never treat me if was brought in and not able to speak for myself ......

labbie1 said...

Reminds me of the last time dad had a nosebleed. The EMT's and Paramedics gave us the choice of him going in an ambulance or we could drive him. Okay, I'll drive said I.

They gave dad ice packs for the back of his neck and 4x4's in abundance and a towel and little basin to catch as he pinched his nose.

When we arrived at the hospital, I went in to request assistance and they meandered out, took one look and hustled! They actually thought he had been shot in the chest there was so much blood! LOL

Right after that, one of the other bloggers told how she had used a Shamwow to stop the blood on her hubby's leg. I sure could have used that little gem BEFORE the nosebleed but it is there in my pea brain for next time!

The hospital we were in had a sign on the wall stating that if we didn't see the person wash and sanitize we should ask them why they didn't. So, I did as I pointed to the signage. And they did--wash and sanitize that is!

Dad seems to get one of those massive bleeds each year and we get to spend several hours in the ER getting it under control. The last time was the worst and he had to actually have a Rhino Rocket inserted for a weekend and then to to and ENT. Very uncomfortable for him I fear!

I bought him another small humidifier for the bedroom (they have a large one in a central area of the house) so that his nose doesn't dry out so much at night with his oxygen and cpap and thus helps to curb the Sahara like conditions inside of his rhino regions!

I feel for you...

Val said...

Kathy,
Why am I picturing Dr. Pigpen, in a cloud of dust and flies?

**************
labbie,
Yikes! At least Mom didn't need the Rocket. Though it WAS mentioned. My sister brought over her humidifier for the night, then bought Mom one the next day.

Mom has spouted again twice, once after a laughing fit on a phone call with an old cronie (STAY OFF THE PHONE, MOM) and another after coughing while washing out her bloody wardrobe (NOW IS NOT THE TIME FOR LAUNDRY). She stopped the first one with a spritz of forbidden Afrin, and the second with a pinch of the nose. The cascade down the back of her throat stopped soon after the nose. We think she's on the mend, but needs to discuss that blood-thinner with her doc.