Chapter Three: I Need 100cc of Understanding, Stat!
Author's Note: I am just in the midst of studying my Medical Terminology textbook for work so some of my medical info is a bit off but I am hoping my new job at the hospital will help with the story telling.
Once Jo was in her small room above the cycle shop, she found a cold can of beer in her mini-fridge that her dad had bought her last Christmas. She drained the beer can quickly and then found her bed. She lay down, scrubs still on sans her leather jacket which Nurse Warner had forgotten to give back to her. She closed her eyes and found latent images of Nurse Blair in her memory. Images that she had forgotten, but now seemed like yesterday. She recalled how Blair had rebuffed her come on that first day, and it was why Jo had disliked her so. But she didn't remember until now how Blair had helped her on that very first shift. Jo was only a third year medical student and was running around the hospital like a chicken with its head cut off. She had been assigned to the geriatric unit, which was tiny. Her job was to assist in the G-Tube feedings for the elderly that could no longer swallow or chew their food properly. Following the nutrition list that was posted in the kitchen, she struggled to find the right cans of nourishment for the right person. There had been five different kinds and Ensure which was a oral supplement. For some reason, Blair had been idling in the unit and poked her head in to see the confused medical student holding cans and Kangaroo Nutrition containers in both hands. "Are those for the 1600 hour feedings? Mr Filgate, Mrs Patmore and Miss Tomashofski?"
Jo turned and looked over to see the nurse she had angered so much at lunch, "Er...yeah...I have never..."
Blair looked over at the chart on the fridge, "Filgate gets 300ml of Jevity fibre at 100cc an hour then a 150ml water flush, Patmore gets 200 ml of Jevity 1.0 at 60cc an hour with a 200ml water flush, and Miss Tom gets Isosource 374ml at 80cc an hour and she gets a 150ml saline solution flush. Their Enteral Nutrition machines are in their rooms. Just fill the Kangaroo Enteral feeding containers with said nourishment, label the containers with that black marker with their names, and bring them to the rooms. Someone will show you how to get the machine working and how to attach it to their g-tubes and PEG's. Got it?"
Jo nodded slowly, "Um...thanks."
"Hurry, they are probably hungry." Blair said and then she was gone. Jo had been able to do what she said and they did show her how to use the machines.
Jo wondered how she had forgotten that so easily. She supposed her pride had got the better of her. Jo was used to charming women, it had been a skill she acquired in high school and used throughout her college days. Very few people refused her unless they were very straight. In retrospect, putting the moves on someone her first day as a medical student in a hospital was one of the dumbest things she had ever done.
Jo had assumed that the nurse was looking over her shoulder because she thought Jo was inept. Maybe that had been the wrong interpretation. The time last year when she struggled with a central line in the ER and only Blair had come to assist, talking her through the procedure because the individual had been disabled and deformed. Jo recalled how soothing Blair spoke to the disabled girl, and how she wasn't angry at Jo for not being able to do it, but encouraging her on and explaining that it was normal for this to be difficult because the individual had scoliosis and therefore was not lying completely straight on the gurney. Jo was able to complete the procedure and the girl was able to return to her group home in a few days. She recalled Blair's parting words, "I appreciate how you treated the patient, Dr. Polniazcek, many doctors treat the handicapped like objects, and you were very professional."
Jo's mind was swimming with memories but she finally succumbed to exhaustion and fell into a deep sleep.
Jo woke up to the screech of the telephone and bolted up from her bed, "What?"
She found the phone and picked up, "Yeah?"
"Dr. Polniazcek, you are due in half hour at Peekskill County, don't be late." The caller said and then hung up.
Jo was about to say something but it was pointless, the person hung up. She wondered who it was until she looked at her watch and saw that she was indeed supposed to be on rounds by 0700. She quickly brushed her teeth, washed her face, and ran a brush over her hair. She practically jumped out of her clothes and dressed in clean ones. No time for a cup of java, she pulled on an old Langley College sweatshirt, and grabbed her keys. She ran down to the garage and looked around for Howard. In cases of emergencies, she was allowed to borrow Howard's beat up Buick, so she left him a quick note and took the spare keys from the bulletin board. She drove as fast a legally possible and was at the hospital with five minutes to spare. Jo parked the car and ran into the Emergency Room entrance.
"Hey Dr. Polniazcek, thought you were gonna be late." Jerry, the desk clerk said cheerily.
"Did you call me, Jerry?" Jo asked as she walked past the desk towards the locker room.
Jerry laughed, "No way, I like seeing you residents get chewed up by Dr. Burnett."
Jo frowned at him but couldn't help but smirk too; Yeah well I got a guardian angel somewhere."
Jo found her locker and removed her sweatshirt quickly. She found her stethoscope, spare aqua blue scrubs, white runners and her lab coat. She dressed quickly and ran out of the room towards the Trauma area charge station.
George Burnett was there with five other residents and five third year medical students. Jo ran up to them and smiled sheepishly.
"Have a good rest, Dr. Polniazcek?" George asked with no expression on his face.
"Fine. Sorry I was late." Jo said quietly.
"Your not late Jo, chill out." Andy Moffat said with a smile.
"Dr. Polniazcek, today I am giving you a present. I'd like you to meet Dorothy Ramsay and John Carter, your third year medical students in trauma. Enjoy." Dr. Burnett said with a smile.
Jo looked over at the students, one was a short pretty black woman and the other was a tall thin nice looking young man with blond hair. They both looked terrified. Jo smiled at them which seemed to make them more scared.
"You are now a Senior Resident in charge of these fine young people. Now let's start rounds and then you can take them out for a spin. Okay people, let's rally; we have a full case load today due to a vehicular accident this morning at 0300. Let's begin." George said as he held the huge clear clipboard full of patient charts.
They all started to move as a group and Jo signalled for the two med students to follow along with her, "Hey come over here and stick with me."
Carter and Ramsay quickly walked to Jo's side and they continued with the group. George randomly asked questions about each case, waiting for people to take the initiative and answer them.
"Okay, we have a 45 year old female, MVA, she came in with lacerations to face, neck and chest. BP was 115 over 60, required intubation..." George said as he looked around at them all.
"Possible punctured lung. Continue to monitor BP and heart rate, Chem 7 and ABC. Do a chest ASAP. May require consult with plastic surgeon once stable. Chest tube?" Jo said calmly. The two med students looked at her with big eyes.
"Good Jo, she's all yours. The rest of you continue on." George said with a smile and gave Jo the chart and took his train of residents and med students with him.
Jo sighed,"Okay you two, let's go see the...lemme look...Mrs Stickle. Come on, don't be shy."
Carter and Ramsay reluctantly walked along with Jo to the trauma room, "So you both from Langley?"
"I am." Ramsay said quietly. They both looked at the young man.
"I'm from Chicago." Carter said shyly.
"Well nice to meet you both. Okay here is where Mrs Stickle is being cared for." Jo said as she entered the ICU. They proceeded to gown up and entered her room.
"Hello Mrs Stickle, I am Dr. Jo Polniazcek, and these two fine young people are third year medical students...Carter and Ramsay. So how are you today?" Jo said knowing full well the woman couldn't respond.
Jo picked up the chart and recited to the students, "Right. The patient was involved in a MVA earlier this AM, chest was crushed on steering wheel, and facial lacerations. She was intubated at approx 0400 hours. CBC was done, nothing exciting was found. Chest x ray shows a punctured right lung, chest tube was used by trauma surgeons to drain fluid, patched up. Let's see, right wrist was broken, ortho patches it, and a broken left hip, will need further x-rays when stable."
"Will she make it?" Dorothy Ramsay asked.
"Oh yeah, she'll require extensive rehabilitation but she'll live." Jo said shrugging.
"What are we going to do?" Carter asked.
"Looks like they are doing everything they can but I will get them to do a Chem-7 on her. Can't hurt." Jo said happily.
"So..." Ramsay started to say.
Jo grinned, "So there is nothing for me to do here so let's go to the waiting room and round up some cases, shall we?"
Jo's enthusiasm was short lived when Nurse Warner poked her head into the ICU, "Dr Burnett need you in room D4 stat."
"Okay, can I take these two with me?" Jo asked.
"No, they need to fill out some paperwork for HR. Ms Ramsay, Mr Carter, please come with me." Blair said sternly.
"Just wait a minute, they are my students!" Jo protested.
"No, they are the hospitals, and I need them now." Blair said, giving Jo an icy stare.
"Sorry Dr Polniazcek, but we're going with her, she's way more scary." Dorothy Ramsay whispered to Jo as she pulled on Carter's arm and they strode out with Blair leaving Jo seething.
Jo washed her hands and walked quickly over to D4 grumbling to herself. Damn that woman, meddling in her affairs! When would she learn that people couldn't be trusted...arg! Jo continued her internal rage until she reached the room and walked in still red with anger.
"Something wrong, Doctor?" Nurse Warner asked Jo while she was assisting George with his suturing of a young man's lower lip.
"I thought I was here to assist?" Jo said, ignoring Blair completely.
"You are, over there is his brother and I need you to suture his right eye brow. The boys were fighting, we're you not?" George said tersely.
Jo looked over and saw a younger man, maybe 17, sitting anxiously as he watched his brother getting medical care.
"Hi I'm Dr Polniazcek; let's have a look at that." Jo said turning her attention on the man.
"Is Ricky gonna be okay?" The young man asked.
Jo walked over to George and Blair, glanced at the chart and walked back casually, "Rick will be fine. You are?"
"Casey Bonner, that's my brother Rick. We had a fight over at Edna's. Some jerk from Bates was mocking our hockey team. We had to fight for their honour." Casey said angrily.
"You play with Langley?" Jo asked as she washed her hands and gloved up, her suture tray already laid out for her.
"No, I go to Stonewall Academy; Ricky here is a forward of the Langley team." Casey said, eyeing the suture kit nervously.
"Stonewall? That's the military academy across the field from Bates. Well, not to worry. Let's sew up that eyebrow." Jo said, trying to ignore Blair who was watching her.
"Is it gonna hurt?" Casey asked.
"Not as much as the punch you got from the fight. I'm gonna give you some freezing. Any allergies to novocaine?" Jo asked quietly.
"No, I go to the dentist every six months. My mom takes me." Casey said.
"Good. Okay stay still while I freeze the area." Jo said casually as she picked up the small 5cc syringe and filled it with Novocain from a very small glass container.
"Oh God I hate needles!" Casey moaned.
Jo was about to ask Blair for assistance out of habit but she was already by Jo's side, "Not to worry, Casey, Dr Polniazcek is a whiz at making people feel better."
Jo gave Blair a dazed look, "That's me, Dr Feel Good."
George laughed, "I thought that was my nickname?"
Jo frowned as she injected the freezing around the boy's gash while Blair delicately held the boys head from moving, "It's all yours, George."
"Hey, its feeling better already, Doc." Casey said once the injection was complete.
"I'm glad, now I need a..." But before Jo could finish, Blair had the suture needle in hand and was ready to assist.
"Ah, thanks..." Jo said as she took the instrument from Blair and gave the young man 3 fine stitches.
George finished his work and walked over to glance at Jo's handiwork, "Not bad Jo, you could have been a seamstress in another life time."
Jo looked at George and smiled, "In another life, I think I woulda been a cop."
The two patients were left to wait for their parents, and the three of them walked out into the ER main area.
"Why a cop, Jo?" Blair asked suddenly.
Jo shrugged, "I dunno, just was my back up plan if the whole healer thing didn't pan out."
Blair smiled at Jo, "I think the plan is working out fine, don't you think George?"
George grinned, "Doc Jo is our finest resident yet, I'm glad you approve of her, Warnsie."
Jo raised an eyebrow, "Warnsie?"
Blair blushed slightly, "That was a stupid nickname someone gave me when I was rushing a sorority at Langley."
"Really? Was it worth it?" Jo asked, amused.
"No, in the end I backed out and decided to live in the dorms. I didn't have time for such piffle and George knows that." Blair said giving George a warning glance.
"I always said all work and no play makes for boring college life." George said as he parted and made his way to his small office leaving Jo with Blair.
"You and George go all the way back to college?" Jo asked.
"Not really, he's a Peekskill native so I've known him for years. He used to deliver baked goods to Eastland as a way to pay his way thru med school. We always seem to cross paths eventually around here." Blair said wearily.
"Lunch?" Jo said suddenly.
"What?" Blair asked confused.
"Do you want to join me for lunch at the cafeteria? It's break time." Jo said hopefully.
Blair looked conflicted but in the end she thought it couldn't hurt, "Sure but I am brown bagging it today."
Jo laughed, "I brown bag it every day. Tuna fish on rye."
Blair smiled and the two walked to the elevator that would take them to the 3rd level where the staff cafeteria was situated.
To be continued...