Sunday, January 28, 2007

Positive Cheetos Sign

As bad as ED jobs are, dealing with life and death, drug overdoses, drug seekers, neuron synapse misfires (idiots), social misanthropes, and the like, there is one thing that would at least make this job a little easier...honesty.

I am not a policeman, so I don't care how much coke or meth or GHB or God knows what you ingested. Just tell me. Granted, I will do everything in my power not to let you drive and kill someone, let alone one of my family. I don't care how much alcohol you drink, cigs you smoke or bags of pork rinds you consumed on your 1800 cal ADA diet. Just tell me. It will most likely save a lot of consternation down the road.

There is also an honesty of omission as well. You don't have to tell me about the car wreck in 1994 when you got whiplash, which now causes you to walk funny leading to the pain in your hip which radiates directly to the doctor. I know none of this is true. You also don't need to tell me about your reflex sympathetic dystrophy flare up, total body pain, or acute exacerbation of fibromyalgia made worse by the chronic fatigue . These I don't need to know about.

Which brings me to the Cheetos. When you bring little Johnny or Samantha or some crazy made up name that even you can't spell, (really, this happened-a mom and dad brought their child in and we couldn't get the child in the computer because neither of these parental units took the time to learn how to spell the ten syllable three hyphen two accent mark name they had bestowed on this lamb they had brought into the world) don't tell me they haven't eaten anything or held down any liquids in 4-5 days. I may be slightly naive, but I can tell from the 20 lb diaper soaking with urine, extreme drool coming from the mouth, and fingers and hands covered with that oh so wonderful powdery cheezy goodness we all know as Cheetos residue, you are lying to me.

Hence, a positive Cheetos sign.

Nurse, discharge this one immediately.


  1. I've recently come across your site and have been enjoying reading your posts. Each of you have, so poignantly, put into words the mixed array of sentiments I have of working in the ER. Thank you!

    This particular post has prompted me to comment on the stupid names people give their kids.

    Here's another fine example of parental mental insufficiency... Called up to the triage desk a 12 yr old boy named 'Shithead'.

    Double checked the printing on the chart... yep... read it correctly.

    Call the name. No one responds. Triage another person before trying again.

    Call it out louder this time"SHITHEAD!" Slowly and painfully... in a room full of people thinking they are the only one really dying at the moment... a mother and kid rise and come slowly to the desk.

    No need to hurry, I suppose. Or perhaps it's payback for making them wait?

    Mom asks, "Who were you calling?"

    Triage RN says, "Shithead".

    Mom gets pissed off and quite angrily states "it's not Shit-Head... it's Shi-theeeeed"

    Gimmie a fuckin break! No wonder the kid got a shot to the head by some other kid.

    Wonder if dad is Shithead Senior?

    Cheers - and thanks for the stories!

  2. The following are real names that have appeared on rosters in my father's classroom.
    A girl named Gonorrhea. (Don't worry, it was pronounce gah-NOR-ia.)
    Female triples with the surname Bell: Independence, Liberty, Holly.

    Also, a friend of mine worked for many years in an inner-city clinic in L&D. There was a name there which was very popular at the time and was bestowed on many children, girls and boys equally. She'd had no idea why it was so popular with the patients until one day she went to start an IV drip on a mother and looking up saw that it was the manufacturer of some of the medical products...

  3. How come the same nurses who know a nurse who was working in the ER in LA when Richard Gere came in with a gerbil up his ass also seem to have had a patient named Shithead. And don't forget the twins Lemonjello and Orangejello.

    We've heard it all a few hundred times and I guess you can tell us the post turtle story now.

  4. I live near Philadelphia & the names I get to see & hear bring me laughing fits. While I am with pdx rn on the "Shithead" story, I did have the misfortune to be holed up in the acute ER while waiting for an "in house" bed & heard the clerical staff calling out "SHIT ONE!" Being snowed on Dilaudid & hearing that name put me into hysterical fits of giggling. The kid's name was Sh'twon (Shuh-twahn) & I have also come across many Aquanettas as well as other laughable names. I'm giggling now thinking of poor ol' Shitone. What ever happened to good ol' names like Mark, John, Luke, Danielle, Josephine, & Sara?