The Emergency Department can be a rough and tumble place to work. I've been spat on, called a "greasy white maggot", had my underwear filled with jelly while I've been distracted. And that was just the nursing staff. You should see how badly I'm treated by the other doctors.
But last Friday evening was a first for me: I was assaulted!
As you have probably guessed from the fact that I'm making smart-arsed blog posts about it, I wasn't hurt. But I was briefly shaken. I won't go into details, beyond making the following observations:
- Old people may be puny but they can still be bloody fast.
- If the nursing staff warn you about a patient, they probably know what they're talking about.
- It's a myth that if you get hit by a patient, you are allowed to hit them back within 3 seconds and claim that it was self-defence.
- Shouting at demented people does not make them any less demented.
- Buy low, sell high.
All important lessons to learn, mark my words.
It's (a little bit) interesting to reflect on the general public's impression of emergency department mayhem and how it differs from reality. Talking with non-medical people gives me the impression that they think the most dangerous patients are:
- Patients with mental illness.
- Patients high on the street drug du jour.
In my experience, the most dangerous patients by far are little old demented people. They are really unpredictable and can be extremely aggressive, and it's very easy to underestimate them. So my list of the most dangerous patients would go:
- Patients with dementia.
- Guard dogs with bees in their mouths.
Note that patients with mental illness do not feature on my list. That is mostly because they are seldom dangerous (except to themselves, sadly enough).
Anyway, I came home at midnight on Friday with a jaw that clicked a bit when I chewed but by Saturday it was fine. Which was a good thing because I spent the whole weekend eating non-stop. What better way to celebrate your Smaller Half's birthday than by performing disgusting acts of gluttonous consumption? I should have known better than to butter and eat two more bread rolls shortly after saying, "Oh my God, I have eaten about four times too much already".
My position was that I ate the extra rolls to ensure I got value for money. Her point of view was that the rolls were free. My point of view was, "Aha! Exactly!" - a winning argument in my book. At least until I had to be taken to hospital with a bowel obstruction.
So actually my top three list of most dangerous patients should be amended as follows:
- Patients with dementia.
Make of that what you will. I'm tired and it's time to go to bed.