In my line of work, I see a lot of people with varying amounts of brain power. Many of the people with whom I work have plenty to spare, ER docs excluded. Just kidding. Mostly. Anyway, in contrast most of the patients I see have barely enough brain power to survive, it seems. I have often thought that it is incredibly lucky that certain patients have a respiratory center in their medulla oblongata and pons which breathes for them, because otherwise they would forget. I'm shocked that some of these people manage to remember to clothe and feed themselves each day.
That said, I'm even more surprised that people like this try to multitask. I like to think that I'm of above-average intelligence, so walking and reading at the same time doesn't use all the brain power that I have at my disposal. For others, however, doing those two activities simultaneously will tax their system, overworking the hamster wheel spinning out of control in their heads. Chances are if these people are doing something while doing something else, something bad is going to happen. And if they dare try to do something while doing something while doing something else, the shit is really going to hit the fan.
So you can imagine how the hamster living in the head of poor Riley (not his real name™) felt overworked.
LGFD is a common acronym I use as a new trauma patient rolls through my trauma bay doors. "Looks Good From Door" usually denotes someone who doesn't look like there are any life threatening injuries - a stabbing to the shoulder, a pedestrian struck at very low velocity, a fall from standing position, a low-speed car accident with seat belts and 472 air bags. Riley certainly fit the bill - he was smiling and laughing as he rolled in, making inappropriate jokes with the rather attractive medic who was trying not to roll her eyes completely into the back of her head at his lame attempts to pick her up.
"Hey Doc, this is Riley. He's 20 and fell down about 10-15 stairs. No loss of consciousness, just complaining of bilateral wrist pain."
"I also have chest pain, Doc!" Riley piped up, putting on a fake frown. "I think I have a broken heart because this pretty girl won't give me her number!"
The poor medic glanced at me plaintively with a look that clearly said "Please kill me now . . . or him", and I gave her a feeble smile in return.
Riley's vital signs were all normal, and his head, neck, back, chest, and abdomen all seemed fine. But both of his wrists had obvious deformities. "I think your wrists are both fractured, sir", I told him. "We are going to get some X-rays."
I quickly learned from Riley's redoubled attempts to pick up the nurses that he was a student at the local university. He didn't seem very bright to me, since he was completely unable to absorb the fact that none of the women were interested in him. I saw more eye rolls in the next 45 minutes than I had in the previous year combined. It could have been the fact that he smelled like a pub restroom, or it could have been the fact that he wasn't nearly as funny, handsome, or charming as he thought he was.
After looking at his X-rays (which confirmed that both his wrists were fractured), I gave him the bad news. He looked at me and started laughing. Something obviously amused him, but he wouldn't let us in on the joke. No one else was laughing, so I was glad that he was able to entertain someone. Finally his hysterics calmed enough to the point where he was able to share the joy:
"I always knew it was dangerous to drink and drive, but I never knew it was dangerous to drink and walk! Ha ha ha ha!"
It turns out he had been checking out Facebook on his mobile phone while walking through the train station, and because he had not been watching where he was going he tumbled down an escalator. And he now had two broken wrists (and no date) to show for it.
Riley had it mostly right - drinking and walking is dangerous, and drinking and walking while not paying attention is even worse. But drinking and walking while not paying attention and being an idiot is a life-threatening proposition.