Tuesday 20 January 2015


I'd propose that most people agree that nearly anything is possible.  NEARLY.  It's something that I frequently say to my children - anything is possible.  Unfortunately that's a total lie, just one of many lies that parents say to their children:
  • Santa Claus
  • Easter Bunny
  • Tooth Fairy
  • People are generally good
  • Yes, you can have ice cream after dinner
  • Mommy and Daddy were just wrestling!
Awkward non-sequitur notwithstanding, some things are, indeed, impossible. There are a few things that most people would agree will never happen:
Well, something happened to me a few days ago that I previously thought impossible. Something I think is right on par with "Justin Bieber gaining some goddamned self-respect" and "Politicians being honest".  Something I thought could never happen in a million years:

I had a silent trauma day.

Believe it or not, over a 24-hour period, no one in the entire {redacted} metropolitan area got into a serious car accident.  No one fell down the stairs.  No one was stabbed or shot.  No one was assaulted.  No old people were found down.  No pedestrians were struck by cars.  No feet were mangled by lawnmowers.  No fingers were amputated by table saws.  

Nothing.  Zip.  Zilch.  Nil.  Naught.  Nada.  Niente.  

For an entire day, I sat in the hospital and waited.  And waited.  And watched a movie (Transformers: Age of Extinction . . . it was meh, despite Nicola Peltz).  And waited.  And watched another movie (Captain America: The Winter Soldier . . . it was meh, despite Scarlett Johansson). And waited. 

And then 24 hours later, I went home.  No lives saved, no idiots educated. 

So you'd think that, having nothing else to do, I'd at least get a full night's sleep, right?  Haha!  No. 

That would be impossible.  


  1. Nah, the Call Gods were just waiting to lull you into a false sense of security. You'll have a day to make up for this quiet day. It'll start at 2 AM and end up being nothing short of chaos.

    But we all know it'll make for a good story.

  2. I more than made up for your silent day. I argued with 5 different patients that "yes you need to go to the ER for your new onset chest pain/shortness of breath. Or you are having a different & more severe form of chestpain, CardioDoc does not want to see you in clinic, he wants you to go to the ER. You are telling me your chestpain is similar, but not as severe as the pain you had with your last MI, still means go to the ER." 3 of the 5 actually went to the ER, the other 2 refused, and will be seen in clinic, unless they end up in the ER first. This was while assisting to calm the Alzheimer's patient with severe anxiety that was a dump & run from the nursing home. Promptly followed up by a code blue, and all the stuff that follows those.

    Its always nice to have the surprisingly benign days. Enjoy time.

    1. Elaborate on what a code blue is for all the non medical users please

    2. That would be a person who lost his/her pulse and/or stopped breathing.

  3. New Horizons spacecraft is reaching Pluto this summer, where it might discover that Pluto and Charon are both dwarf planets orbiting each other, making it the first detected duel planetary system. Which actually would make it even cooler than the "official" planets.

    Empty trauma bay. That's gotta be surreal feeling.

    1. except the astronomy community does not have a slot in their book for binary dwarf planets. (I just happened to read an article on that, today)

    2. There's still debates on what constitutes a binary system in the first place. They'll likely make a more accurate decision once they get data and accurate measurements this spring - summer of both planet sizes and orbits.

    3. and I'm sure they'll spend the whole time running around trying to one up each other.

  4. I wish you many more boring days in the future. May you spend all your days giving boring lectures on preventing forest fires, car accidents and accidental dismemberments, and may everyone listen.

  5. Emergency services providers have the worst kind of cognitive dissonance there can be, because we don't WANT people to get hurt - and if we are active, it means people have been hurt, but by golly, we LOVE the action.

    and it truly IS strange to have a shift with dead silence.

  6. Are you quite sure, that it wasn't some kind of reverse "Sleeping Beauty" effect, everyone outside your workplace just falling asleep for a whole 24 hours while nothing inside the hosital perimeter was affected?
    Or something like you sometimes see in the movies, where the main character(s) walks through a frozen-in-time image, butterflies standing mid-air, playing kids stuck in mid-movement etc?
    Or maybe everyone was abducted by aliens for a whole day and returned to earth just when you were done with your shift?

    Because that is so much more likely than just nothing bad happening in an entire metropolitan area for a whole day.

  7. Doc!

    24 hours with nothing to do!! That's got to be enough time to write at least a few dozen blog posts! When do we see them?

    Nice to hear that there are at least occasional days when people can avoid needing to be put back together!


  8. I work in the ER department and a few months ago, we had almost an entire week of the "impossible" you just described. Barely any wait time throughout the day and we cleared most people out by 3 a.m. Such rare moments are sure hard to come by and it is something we learn to treasure - especially when all the hospitals in town have been overcrowded for the past few weeks.

  9. I had to call 911 for my 90 year old mother who had some kind of unknown pain/pressure around her chest/thoracic area and who looked awful. This was in the middle of a funeral that almost had the pastor interrupt a eulogist for instituting an altar call in a Lutheran Church. I followed the ambulance to the hospital and it was filled to the gills. Every room in the ER was filled, every bed outside the rooms were filled, the halls had chairs filled with people with procedure masks on and the ER main waiting room was doubled up. At least the auxiliary had bins of free snacks and juice for the waiting people. I told my mom it was more beneficial to have her go by ambulance than sit for 10 hours out front. As it was they did a chest Xray and blood worked. 3 EKGs and they talked to her cardiologist who said it was strange she'd have something like this since her echo on the 3rd was near perfect. After 6 hours we were discharged and told to see her cardiologist. The dx was a Vagus Syndrome.
    I asked the nurse how long they have been slammed and he said since Thanksgiving. I was hesitant about doing the ER but I was also scared as I am her daughter.
    During our vigil we had a DNR in the room behind us who was dropped from a board and care facility and she was in her last hours, there were 2 flu cases who had iso tags on the doors, which were shut. A person came in on an ambulance run having active CPR being done, at least 5 Torrance cops, all in all it was a very informative afternoon. GET THE FLU SHOTS, GET THE PNEUMONIA SHOTS, GET THE MMR VACS HERE IN CA! DON'T GO TO DISNEYLAND WITHOUT BEING VACCINATED.

    1. right, news about that (the outbreak, that is) is spreading even faster than the outbreak itself.

  10. Hell, Michigan freezes over just about every winter.

  11. I just found your blog recently and started at most recent and have been working my way backwards. So, over 2 years later and I have to say, you were wrong about the Cubs too! Go Cubs Go! :)

  12. Oooh, Anonymous beat me to it by three months!


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