Quick! Get the EHPB…

Posted on October 25, 2007. Filed under: Journal from behind the desk... |


Well what a lot of panic we’ve had around here recently. I used to be an Emergency Nurse – I had subscription to the journals and everything!  I was one of those cool dudes.

One for Kim and MJ

Some kind of trauma or resus going on, all the pumped up adrenaline junkie newbies would be rushing around, getting aroused by someones potential death, not me.  I would be the one staying outside managing all the other patients on my lonesome, while everyone else was looking after that one patient.  COOoooool as a Cucumber. 

If you wanna get a head

So it’s not to suprising I now have a job where I pretty much work on my lonesome.  I have appointments, sometimes I run late, sometime I run early.  Mostly I stay cool. For the most part I hope my laid back approach to my patients is contagious.

This morning however I have had two patients, wanting to get me running around….

One was Mr ooooooh-my-god-i’vegotchestpain-pins’n’needlesdownarms-its-my-chest-I-can’t-breath-my-heart-is-going-toooooo-fast.

Max: Alrighhhhhhhhtie then. Lets have a little look at you.

Mr Long surname: But-I-can’t-breath-my-chest-hurts-what-are-you-gonna-do?

Max: OK so you’re lungs are fine, I’m just going to get something to help your breathing.

But what I was really thinking was: Oh-my-god-I-need-to-get-the-EHPB-before-this-dude-collapses-on-my-floor.

I “rush” to the dispensary, and grab an EHPB…

Eh? Oh what’s an EHPB? I hear you ask!

Emergency Hyperventalation Paper Bag. The ones in dispensary are the best, nice and noisy when you breath.

Not the 1st bag I’ve worked with

It’s another miracle.  Breathing restored to normal, pins and needles gone. Now lets get to the chest pain….

Max: It hurts when I press here?

Pt: Oooow!

Max: and when I move your arm across here….yep….You’ve pulled a muscle.

The first clue this guy was not having a cardiac event or respiratory crisis is my favourite: “I can’t breath!”

To which I always want to respond: “But you can talk, how impressive!” 

Then I get to thinking “I wonder if you could project enough air passed your vocal chords with you stomach muscle to make you speak” – Then I remember those hideous drunken nights when we used to see who could say there name by just burping – gross and childish – no need to try it….no stop it!

I then had another patient hyperventalating. Pins and needles. The whole thing. Two in one day, what are the chances?  Anyway, she WAS hyperventalating because her Epiglottitis symptoms made her scared.  Fair enough! Paper bag and hospital. I’ve never sent anyone to hospital with a paper bag before, I hope they don’t laugh when she gets there!

Oh what a wheeze!  Now relax….

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3 Responses to “Quick! Get the EHPB…”

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Back in the 70’s there was a show here called “Emergency” about a couple of paramedics riding around. They always seemed to whip out the EHPB no matter what the call was for. And it worked EVERY TIME!

The paper bag – the greatest medicinal invention since, well, medicine! : D

I had whooping cough last Christmas (yes, I was vaccinated, apparently the early 70’s wasn’t a good vintage booster wise). Anyways, I can vouch that you cannot expel enough air to speak with abd muscles alone, nor is your residual volume enough (anecdotally of course).


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