The less romantic regulars.

Posted on August 13, 2009. Filed under: Benign |

Back in June Kim posted a rather poetic account of a shift in the ER where lots of her regulars turned up at once, bit of a “four weddings and a funeral” post, well more of a “one recovering drug addict, a few births, one wedding and a funeral”.  I posted a comment and then felt the need to go on… so to save her comment box space, I’ve poached her topic…(mine will be less romantic no doubt…)

Less romantic regulars!!

Both in my past life as an Emergency Department nurse and in my present Nurse Practitioner life I’ve had “regulars”.

It’s expected in Primary care, after all they lack much option but to come back and see you, but some do more than others. Obviously the mums with lots of children come a lot and it’s lovely to get to know them. You get to see the kids grow up and then finally issue the kids with contraceptives, which they forget to use and you get to watch their kids grow up…I’ve not been here quite long enough for that part yet.

I have some regulars who will only see me.  We all have them.  But sometimes it’s a bit of a heart-sink.  I sometimes have the urge to say: “Well your depression is quite bad, and seems to be induced due to problems with family members/partners/work, so perhaps you’d be better moving to a new area…starting afresh and somewhere preferably outside our catchment area…bye!”  I of course refrain.

Mostly it is a nice bond that forms though. 

One for the girls!! A nice Bond?  I prefer a nice blonde!

For Emergency departments it is a different issue all together. The regulars there are typically social drop outs, addicts and of course just the damn right clumsy.

Years after leaving the Emergency department a few characters remain in my subconscious, one of which I expect is no longer around.

One such example was a young chap, who every weekend (twice or three times some weekends), would be bought in by ambulance after a concerned member of the public rang for help having found him bleeding and unconscious in the street.  He was a mess, so drunk that he couldn’t remember how he cut his head open (again), it may have been a drunken brawl or perhaps just an alcohol and gravity induced kiss with concrete.  He would swear, dribble and invariable smelt of urine. 

Now if you didn’t know him you would probably stitch him up and turn him out, but if you did know him you knew that he would be returned in 30 minutes by another concerned member of the public. So we’d lay him in a corner to sleep and then very nicely presented him with a cup of coffee and some toast before the next shift came on…by which time he had sobered adequately into a nice professional sounding gentleman, who apologised in case he’d caused any problems and said “See you!” (which of course we knew we would) A real case of Jekyll and Hyde alcoholic!

Then there was our elderly “gentleman”, who would come in under similar circumstances; nissed as a pewt and shout abuse at everyone who would pay attention to him…quite a vile chap. We knew the best thing to do was leave him alone until he was sober enough to storm out. You knew when he was in the department as patients relatives would come up to you in a worried frenzy: “Urrmm, nurse, nurse, that man’s trying to hang himself on the cord in his room”. It seemed harsh, but we used to reply:

“Thanks, but don’t worry about him.  He normally does that.”

Obviously if you are going to hang yourself you do it somewhere where you won’t get attention and certainly not on a nurse call cord!  We always left him to it and never did he so much as pull the cord hard enough to ring for a nurse, let alone hang himself!

Then there was the poison dwarf…

She regularly tried to do self harm…but not simple wrist cutting…oh no, she would do the bizarre and scary. She ate things…then have to be admitted for surgery. Then she would open her surgical abdo wounds and insert spoons etcetera!  On one occasion she came in with an entourage of men in uniform (Paramedics and Police), spraying blood from her mouth as she was chewing on several razor blades.  She wouldn’t spit them out, and nobody would put their hand into her mouth to retrieve them for fear of loosing a finger to a bite or a razor blade.

Ahhhh, yes, the Emergency department regulars…how I miss them?!

Now I’m just going to eat the Kit Kat one of my Primary Care regulars bought me…ahhh!


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7 Responses to “The less romantic regulars.”

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Ah, God bless the regulars, reading your post reminded me of a few of ours – past and present. I may steal your stolen idea and do a post myself, (can stealing a stolen idea be plagiarism?)

thank you, thank you, thank you……for the Bond…..

Rosie – you can tell the kids are on holiday, you’ve time to fantases over Mr Bond…
Grumpy – through a link in to this post when you’ve posted yours so that people can follow a trial of regular stories from me to kim and you!

Like a chain?

I have many regulars who always seem to be quite needy at times. So far, no one has been strange enough to show up at an ER setting eating razor blades. I’m sure that given enough time, he or she will find me.

Hmmm…chain doesn’t sound nice…I hate chain mail… no Julie, just like a link!! (although yes your probably right!)

…and remember the old proverb…”It’s just a matter of time before someone comes spitting blood and razor blades at you!” No? I think I just made that up!


Ahh, makes me think of our regulars, and they ain’t romantic, either.

A few of them are just pathetic:

1. Guy who injures himself to get paid to be in the hospital. I’ve been at my job a little more than a year and he’s been there at least 6 months.

2. Guy who repeatedly gets drunk and messed up. We fix him up every time. He’s sober with us, though. Another long timer.

3. Patient who’s family can’t take care of him. We come to the rescue again…and again…and again. Somehow the authorities never intervene.

Thankfully, none of our regulars chew on razor blades.

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