Full Moon

I’m not a superstitious person. I generally pride myself on being able to look objectively at the facts before me, and resist the very human urge to find patterns where there are none. To chalk up strange events to coincidence rather than look for a causality.

But ask any ER or Psych nurse, any teacher, any parent, and they will tell you that the full moon makes everyone a little crazy.

I have not been very successful in resisting the urge to find patterns this week.

With all the news of the Blood Moon, it seems like every clinic I staff this week is in a funk, experiencing more complicated, rare cases, and I seem to find most of them on my schedule.

This past week I have referred at least one patient each day to the ER. I feel like sending flowers to the nursing staff at the local emergency departments because of all the weird cases I’ve sent them this week.

I think this is appendicitis.

I have no idea what this is, but I know it’s an emergency.

I understand you were scared, but I don’t know why you waited so long to come in, but this needs to be treated urgently.

While I was in my training, all my clinical preceptors told me not to be scared to send someone to the ER. And unfortunately, I’ve become very familiar will calling hospitals, asking for the charge nurse, and giving report. I’ve become familiar with the ways to talk to patients about why I want them to go to the ER.

It was particularly frustrating for one of my uninsured patients yesterday. He waited a long time to be seen, was in a lot of pain, and he was visibly angry when I told him I thought he should go to the ER.

“So you’re going to charge me for a visit here, and then send me to the ER, and then how much is that going to cost?”

I understand his frustration. Often when patients wait a long time to be seen for an issue it’s because they are scared, they are in denial, they hope it will go away, and they certainly can’t afford it. I hate being the person to tell someone that I can’t help them, that they need to see someone above my pay grade and security clearance.

It’s frustrating for both of us, because it puts into stark relief how limited my scope of care is, how broken our health care system is, and how capitalism is hurting every single one of my patients.

In retrospect of this week, I don’t think the blood moon made my clinical situation any more crazy. I think its actually the opposite; maybe the sheer insanity of the system is a little more masked without the full moon.

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