My first job in an emergency department was in a hospital in the south central area of Los Angeles. It is a predominantly black neighborhood. And I am a very white girl. At the time, I was about 30, but looked all of about 18. In fact, it was extremely usual for people to ask me if I was even old enough to be a nurse. (This seemingly pointless background information will come into play as I tell more stories about my experiences at this particular hospital, I promise!) I had long blond hair and a baby face, so I don't really blame them for thinking I was a kid. Once we got to talking, however, people would recognize that I was a grown up and a capable nurse. For the most part I had excellent rapport with my patients. I especially loved the older patients.
One day a very congenial, and verrrry old (if I remember correctly, he was closer to 100 than he was to 90) gentleman came in for treatment. His chief complaint was that of an extremely sore right wrist and arm. As I looked at it, it appeared to be much thinner and even a shade or two lighter in color than his left.
I asked him why he thought his arm might be sore. And he matter of factly told me….
"Well, miss, I broke this arm about six weeks ago. The doctor wasn't done treatin' me, but I couldn't stand one more day of draggin' that casket around on my arm, so I made him take it off yesterday. And it's been sore ever since."
The visual I got, watching this old gray haired sparkly eyed man dragging his arm around with a big casket attached to it was almost too much for me.
***Emergency Roomism for the day:
Casket – a cast