Your legs ARE NOT BROKEN

I know my peeves are random. Today's peeve is brought to you by "why do you suddenly lose the ability to do stuff you do at home when you get to the ER?"

It doesn't HAVE to be the ER. I remember being a CNA on the floor and an RN in the ICU and people would want to be moved and have stuff handed to them when it turned out they lived AT HOME. They could do that stuff just fine. They just want someone else to do it. Anyone who doubts that the human psyche idles on "lazy" should work in healthcare.

The ER is a little different. A patient's family member got very upset with me because I refused to lift his mother from wheelchair to bed (after also refusing to lift her out of the car). My immediate explanation was, "Your mother weighs twice what I do. How exactly should I do that?" Which sounds a little snippy, but already I had been told to run out and lift this lady out of the car when it turned out she lived at home and drove herself around, and she was able to get out of the car by herself just fine. So no, they just felt that if you're sick, you should not even have to exert the effort to get out of the car. I pull plenty of people out of cars, but I'm not going to risk my back if it isn't needed.

A tangent: this argument shocks and angers patients as well. I'll have someone in a wheelchair who outweighs me by 100 pounds or more and say, "Wait here. I need to get help to transfer you." A family member will say, "I do it myself at home." I usually say, "Great! But I'm not willing to risk my back, so I'm going to go get some help." They usually look all thunderstormy. Like I should totally be willing to make that transfer A CAREER LAST. Like I should not even mention my insistence on personal safety.

Even stranger are the many patients who ask for bedpans, Foleys, and bedside commodes when they are completely able to walk to the bathroom. I would need to be anesthetized before using any of those. But I'm not confused by the American obesity epidemic: literally, people are so lazy they don't want to walk to the bathroom. They don't want to walk ANYWHERE. They want to be lifted and transported and have stuff handed to them.

That can't be healthy. I don't believe in this kind of coddling. No one gets well lying around in bed, and no one should give up abilities they still have. People who really need to be pulled out of cars and get Foleys and be fed? Would LOVE to have the option.

So, my patient satisfaction scores are probably really bad. "You can do that yourself. You're able to reach it," I'll say, when a patient uses the call light to ask me to come pick up their water and hold it to their parched, thirsting lips. The water I've placed on a table right next to their bedside.

But...WHY? The people who want a lot of extra attention and help are never the sick patients. Those people are all, "naw, man, I got this." And I'm like, "yeah no, I'll be doing this for you."

And another thing: people don't realize we have security cameras. Yeah. We do. So when I'm triaging, I can WATCH the people who jump out of the cars and walk just fine up to the entrance and then start swooning and limping after composing themselves. "I ain't been able to walk for 2 days, lord, the pain is just so bad." "Really? I saw you walked in just fine. Are you better now, then?" [Anger at mean unsympathetic nurse.]

These things are peeves, but they're also legit medical issues. You need to use the capacity you have. Nurses need to consider our health. I figure there's a finite number of times I have in life to lift people up, and I'm not wasting one on someone who just WANTS me to. And patients don't need to lose what functionality they have, and we need to know if they're making stuff up.