A man walks in to an emergency ward and approaches two women at a desk.
It is quickly ascertained that he needs help immediately as his hand is wrapped in a hastily made towel bandage that is dripping blood.
“What have you done to yourself this time, Earl?” asks the one in nurse’s scrubs.
Earl offers a sheepish grin, one that holds more embarrassment than happiness as he starts to explain, “Well … you know, I was just … ” Earl doesn’t finish his explanation. The triage nurse, Judy, is carefully peeking under the bloodied towel to determine how bad the damage might be as she leads him past the waiting room of less emergent cases to the triage room.
The other woman at the desk, Elsie, digs out Earl’s index card from the file box of “frequent visitors” records. She shakes her head indulgently as she calmly enters Earl’s info on her computer.
Earl wonders why he keeps ending up here. He’s cautious and careful, most of the time, but for some reason he keeps making ill informed decisions on the spur of the moment. These decisions often end up with Earl needing some attention, and too often that means a trip to EMERG.
Brad sits at a desk with his feet up. A computer in front of him shows a data entry screen and a stack of papers tells us that Brad has to complete the records for the patients he has seen for the last three days.
But Brads mind is eight miles away. He is in his garage. He is studying the problems of finishing the hang glider he wants to build. He knows he has problems finishing things.
In fact, he’s amazed that he made it through medical school. By all accounts, he should have done poorly, and there were areas where he hadn’t really shone. But Brad is a good doctor, and when he realized that emergency medicine was an option for his future, his studies became so much easier.
Brad pulls himself mentally out of his garage and returns to the pile of paper work in front of him, resolving to finish his record keeping by shifts end.
But as he makes this resolution, he feels that old familiar negative emotion that comes with being overwhelmed. A sort of sadness that includes anxiety and a feeling of being trapped.
Why is this stuff so hard for him. It’s just checking boxes, typing in the few words he entered on the paper charts, he doesn’t have to think to do it, just copy things. It’s so simple it’s boring. Why is it so hard? Arrrgh!!!
With more than just a little relief, Brad hears Judy coming down the hall accompanied by another set of footsteps. He can tell by the sound of her footfalls that the new patient’s issue is important. He stands up a bit too quickly to hide his excitement and looks down the hall. Sure enough, here comes Judy with his old friend, Earl. Reprieve.
Brad and Earl smile at each other in a knowing way. Each one is wondering what the odds are of meeting someone else with ADHD here in EMERG.
The odds are very good. Take a look around, the next time you’re there.