Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pain the New Vital Sign

As nurses we assess patients as they come into the ER. Vital signs, physical evaluation and history of illness are initially done to assess the urgency of the problem. We also assess the pain level the severity in which is measured on a scale from one to ten. Ten is of course the most severe. This is done so that when we administer something for pain after a 30 min. wait we can reassess your response to what we have given you. I have addressed the issue of behavior in the ER but really, if you are coming in complaining of 10/10 pain and you have had it for over a week and have taken NOTHING for it, then don't expect us to really believe you. Especially when you are giggling with your pals while you wait.
When you hit the triage door with a splinter in your finger and you wail around like you got hit by a car we have trouble understanding. Pain is relative to the person who is experiencing it and to his/her personal weenie level. I gave a shot to a 3 year old who never moved and said a mild "ouch" and in the next hour gave a shot to a 30 year old man who screamed like I was yanking his lips over his forehead. It kinda sounded just like this... if you can imagine the voice raising and lowering:ohmygodjesushelpMEEEEEEEEohshitwhatinHELLyougotinthatohJESUSsave MEohohohohohSHIT.
Having experienced pain at different times of my life I want to yell at some of these drama queens(and kings) "you want to talk about pain... I tell you what pain is: Pain is a 9lb+ and a 10lb+ baby coming out of a narrow canal(not so narrow anymore.ha)with heads that feel the size of a cantaloupe WITHOUT ANESTHESIA. So bite me. I am a nurse therefore I am naturally compassionate. NOT. I have to work on it everyday. Each day someone comes and sits in my triage chair with a story and it is usually about pain. Honestly I have to stop myself from comparing their pain with some of the stuff I have been thru or comparing with other patients who live in pain daily without a complaint. Each person deserves to be evaluated by himself without the collective history of previous patients and my own experience. Do not think this gives you a pass however when you tell me that you have lived in severe pain for 2 weeks without A) calling your own MD B) without trying to relieve it yourself with ANYTHING over the counter C)while laughing and yuking it up with your friends D)complaining about your severe pain while putting on your mascara in the triage chair telling me that you been crying for days with the agony and lastly don't think I will let you pass without question when you complain of 10/10 pain while telling me you have to be seen right away because you have a date.

1 comment:

Carrie White said...

As Ben said just the other day: "If you can text and put on make-up, you are not in a 10 out of 10 pain."