NORTH PLATTE, NE – It was a true Christmas miracle for geriatric patient, Alfred Dwindles, when he found himself alive and without significant healthcare-induced harm this morning, 4 nights after being admitted to the Rolling Plains Regional Medical Center on the eve of a 4-day Christmas weekend.
Mr. Dwindles reported to GomerBlog: “I’ve pulled through some tumultuous hospital times, including cancer, two EMR outages, Y2K, two JC inspections, and the day that Obama-care passed. But when I started getting short of breath on Christmas eve, I knew I was done for,” reported an octogenarian whose EF + FEV1 < 40%.
Sources report that while a single weekend can wreak havoc on a hospital, Christmas Eve falling on a Thursday created a 4-day stretch of let’s-just-get-as-many-as-we-can-through-this, every-man-woman-and-intern-for-themselves, and Oh-GOD-why-me-here-and-now atmosphere.
Alfred had to contend with 4 days of reduced specialist coverage, most of whom turned off their cell phones, smashed their pagers, and cut their land lines promptly at 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve. A visiting ICD-10 lecturer who missed his flight, a radiation oncologist who’s wife kicked him out of the house and an orthopedic surgeon, who lost an epic 6-way battle of rock-paper-scissors with his partners were the only ones that the operator could reach.
House staff ranks were thinned by ACGME mandated extra nap times and Christmas milk and cookie breaks which severely delayed response times to calls for Tylenol, Colace, desaturations, and asystole. Nursing staff consisted mostly of freshly graduated nurses from countries that did not celebrate Christmas and have yet to implement IV pumps, hand sanitizer, or rubber gloves.
Hospital supplies barely make it through a regular weekend and certainly not a 4-day weekend. The pharmacy ran out of Aspirin and Lasix by late Saturday. The cafeteria was devoid of Splenda and the ORs filled sevoflurane tanks with good old ether. Dietary services used the last bottle of Jevity early Sunday and creative nurses filled thirsty PEG tubes with eggnog thickened with cholestyramine.
Throughout all of this Alfred hung on, as he was being diuresed with sequential compression tourniquets, had phlebotomy performed by leaches, and emptied his own Foley.
Humans and supplies were not the only ones who were tested by the 4-day weekend. By late Sunday the machines started to give up too, with the CT scanner reversing spin direction, telemetry alarming V-tach for all patients at all times, and X-ray machines emitting Y-rays and foul language.
Despite all of this, Mr Dwindles persevered, using his own stash of home meds and an oxygen tank that he snuck in from home.
Aaron De-Enarowitz, a local undertaker was especially impressed with Mr. Dwindles’ feat, reporting to GomerBlog that, “A four-day weekend is a very busy time for me around here and when I saw Alfred, while surveying the prospects, I thought I had a customer. I even peeked in his chart to get his height to… to… to make the proper preparations. Truly miraculous that he made it.”
When GomerBlog approached Dr. Peggentrache, Alfred’s physician of record, the hyperventilating hospitalist reported, “Who? Who is this patient? Why are you talking to me? Is this nightmare over yet? Are there any fellowships left?”
Alfred triumphed over a stretch that claimed 18 patients, 2 interns, and a geriatrician who agreed to moonlight as a hospitalist. When asked about his future prospects, Mr. Dwindles felt that he could now survive the ultimate challenge and get admitted to the hospital on the First of July.