Do you know that feeling when someone at a party asks you to tell the "craziest thing you've ever seen in the ER"? All of the sudden you can't remember anything. You had a dozen stories from the day before yesterday but now everything just seems mundane and average. Now that I have finally started to write about my journey in emergency medicine, I can't seem to recall anything interesting.
Well, now that I think about it. There was the guy who had his penis diced up by his angry girlfriend. When he came in for suture removal, all he could ask was, "when can I use it again?" There was the guy found down in his backyard who had a gun in his back pocket. We didn't realize this until after we started the code. There are the countless facial injuries and gun shot wounds from people who were, 'just minding my own business'. And what about all the abdominal pains that are really STD checks. That reminds me of the woman who came in for a staph infection on the inner thigh. It was only funny when she wanted her visit billed as workman's comp because she worked as a dancer on a stripper pole.
The point is, everything we do in the ER is a story. It's funny, tragic, frustrating, complicated. Emergency medicine is complicated. We love what we do! Why else would be trudge knee deep through the muck of society's pain every day. Our coworkers keep us going. They keep us laughing. Everyone needs a wheelchair derby on night shift every now and again. Patients test our medical knowledge, our emotional fortitude, and our character. But sometimes we meet a patient who changes our life. Sometimes we make a difference in the world. Sometimes we just survive ten more hours.
This blog is written to give voice to the emergency medicine clinicians who punch the clock every day and just so happen to change the world. Most of the time we aren't even aware of it. If we were on the mission field, people would write articles about what we do. But it feels average most days. Well, it isn't average. It's extraordinary. What healthcare providers do in emergency medicine, every day, is nothing short of heroic.
So, here's to my friends and coworkers who are also my heroes. I am honored to be counted in your ranks. I have admired people in the ER since I was nineteen and clueless. I am still clueless but more aware of how amazing this job is. Thanks to all of you who show up every day.