10 Things NOT to Say to an ER Nurse

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  1. “My pain is a 10/10″………when your scrolling FB
  2. “I’m allergic to Tylenol, Motrin, Toradol, and aspirin”
  3. “I have abdominal pain”…..when you present to the ER with a whopper in one hand and a giant vat of Mountain Dew in the other. Here’s a tip-eat an apple.
  4. “I have abdominal pain”……when you really just want a pregnancy test. Do us ALL a favor, save us time and just come out with it.
  5. “My kid has been lethargic”……unless they REALLY are. Do you know what we do to kids that are “lethargic”?  Borderline torture, and its often not necessary.  Don’t play up your kid’s ailment, just be real.
  6. “I’m hungry”-because we are busy saving someone’s life in the next room.  If you’re hungry. you are probably doing OK, and maybe shouldn’t be in the ER.  At least take a look around you, at the chaos that is the ER, and think again about asking for that turkey sandwich.
  7. “Helmets are for wimps”. Please know that we see people at their worst, and the very second you believe you can escape death, is when we will meet you in the trauma bay.  I must say that the number one injury related to motorcycle accidents is head injuries.  And it’s awful to have a conversation with the mother of a teenager about keeping her kid artificially alive, because, “helmets are hot/annoying/not cool”.  Have some respect when you run your mouth.
  8. “Can I have a cab voucher?” No. You can’t.
  9. “I’m so weak, I just can’t walk”- Don’t act like your body all of the sudden doesn’t work now that you are in a hospital bed, because I saw you walk into the ER. I KNOW you can raise your arm for a blood pressure cuff.  You would be shocked at the amount of “transient paralysis” that happens in the ER.  All of the sudden limbs don’t work, and then magically start working once narcotics are on board.
  10. “Why are you laughing? That’s insensitive of you”- Listen. We see things that no one should ever have to see.  No one should have to take a wounded-mother from her hospital bed into the neighboring ER room where her dead child lays, after a fatal car accident.  No one should have to walk the mother of a 3-month-old into a room where her baby was rushed from daycare, and is now dead.  That scream stays with you for the rest of your life.  You cannot un-hear that, you cannot un-feel those tiny ribs as you desperately try to start up her heart again.  Please know that if you see us laughing at a time that you feel is odd, know that this is our coping skill.  We have GOT to do something to protect our brains from the overwhelming amount of trauma we see.  Don’t judge.

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