PFO

I’m not a fan of new years eve. It’s an event thing. Like hating birthday parties (well my own any how), valentines day and school formals and all that. Enforced happiness is what i’ve come up with as a reason. The concept that someone in an office (say of clinton cards…) can dictate when people are to have fun and what form it’s allowed to take.

At new years ‘fun’ involves pubs and clubs making lots of money getting all the punters impossibly drunk. Jools Holland gets to have lots of famous people pretending they like him and you’re allowed to snog a random punter and face no consequences – depending who you snog I suppose. Incidentally I think ‘snog’ has to be one of the most unpleasant and offensive-sounding words in the English language. Or maybe it’s just that I’m not getting any.

Christmas, I see as an allowable exception to the enforced rule. A) they got me at an early age and it’s in my blood. B) it’s kind of cool getting all the family together and watching the banter flow. C) there’s pressies involved.

Back to new years. I like an anti-new-year. In the same way I like an anti-birthday (sitting at home reading a book trying to avoid realizing it’s my birthday and people wishing me happy birthday – get bent…) recent new years have been spent at various peoples houses mostly playing cards or board games. Best of all in Phil’s house in Donegal playing monopoly and wondering why knoker wins every flippin time. And of course – ignoring the whole count down business entirely and simply rejoicing in the bant.

So this year I decided to continue my own anti-new-year tradition. New years eve was the seventh in a nine day, 118 hour stint of a self-imposed workathon. I was loving it of course. But to be honest I was getting a bit bored in work that day. It was 8pm and I’d ran out of central lines to change and I just couldn’t manage another cup of the vile instant coffee.

They have this great computer system in work where you can look at who all the current ED (emergency department) patients are with a number (and colour) beside their name stating how sick they are. “Stat ones’ get a red box and they’re the ones I get. So I was staring at the screen in my office (broom cupboard) and all of a sudden a red ‘one’ appears. Off to work I go.

New years can be a bit depressing in A&E cause you end up seeing lots of patients marginally more depressed than you are who have taken pills or drank too much or tried to top themselves just to escape it. This guy had had enough and went out to the shed and swung a rope round his neck and had been swinging for five minutes when his sister found him and cut him down.

He was semi-conscious when we got him and he got a quick anaesthetic and a tube down his throat and a ventilator till he woke up the next morning. And as I wheeled him in to the unit we got a second call. High speed car accident, with a women trapped in the car.

45 mins later and she’s still trapped. You know she’s on her way as we hear the helicopter overhead. One of the bosses has a category of patients called PFOs. Standing for pissed and fell over. I suppose this was a PDT. Pissed and drove into a tree. As one of the ED nurses said – she was too drunk to walk home so she drove.

So at 11.45 pm she had 4 docs and 3 nurses, an X-ray tech a CT tech and an anaesthetic tech waiting for her. There’s these wonderful protocols and mnemonics that you follow in trauma and the boss had me ‘leading’ the team and you find yourself shouting out this ludicrous ABCDE algorithm just to keep everything under control.

Two smashed femurs (not lemurs, they’re monkeys), a smashed ankle, a facial fracture, a few ribs, lots of cuts and bruises, a central line, an arterial line, a catheter, a CT scan from top to toe, lots or morphine and a stack of good old fashioned x-rays later it was half midnight. Happy new year I suppose.

Got me out of going to some party and snogging some random bird. For that I’m eternally grateful.

Got home and watched the BBC news over the net and laughed at the stunned surprise and shock that outdoor events in Scotland at the coldest, wettest part of the year were being cancelled.

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