He was a big man.
In the midst of a big code.
And he was in big trouble.
We needed to move him from the MRI table back onto his bed in a real quick hurry. To do this we would use a large flat plastic spatula known as a PatSlide. This rectangular slide has a friction surface on the under-side and is slippery on the top.
By placing the two beds side by side and rolling the patient onto the slide it is possible ( with a few assistants) to swoosh them across to the destination bed with a minimum of fuss.
I believe the slide was invented by a wardsman named Pat. ¨Who, having designed this “thick semi flexible thermoplastic material with 12 longitudinal ridges on the base” ( read: sales pitch for a flat slab of plastic) that he could market as medical equipment, and thus sell for a ridiculously inflated price, retired as a multibillionaire.
Unfortunately the PatSlide possesses a not insubstantial aerodynamic profile, and as one of the nurses lifted it briskly from its wall hook and turned to throw it onto the bed as one would cast a fishing net, it lifted upwards on its own thermoplastic 12 ridged trajectory.
Very nearby, I was standing in my super-serious macho-code extra wide stance just as the corner of Pat’s Slide sliced up and macheted deep into the center seam of my scrub pants.
The sound was not unlike one of those machines that launches clay pigeons… firing into a vat of jello.
It occurs to me that if there is a God she must be female, for any male omnipotence would have surely encapsulated testicles in a 5cm thick vault of dense bony armour.
That, and perhaps made them in the shape of expensive little Italian shoes to attract a little more tactile attention from the opposite sex1.
But I digress.
In a moment of exquisite discomfort I had forgotten all the imperatives of managing airway, breathing and circulation.
In fact all the urgency of ABC’s had shrivelled down to an altogether more primal mnemonic:
I was bent over like a seven , and seriously considered dropping to the ground, scrunching up into the foetal position and crying like a baby. One of the consultants offered to call a second code for me, which seemed altogether reasonable.
Instead, after a quick glance down to check for any arterial bleeding and a tentative jiggle to check for any loose items that might be rattling around, I ratcheted myself up into my pale, pre-syncopal, I’m OK stance and got back to the big man.
For a brief moment I’d swear the overhead fluro lights flickered in a sort of omniscient snicker.
Later, once home, I was able to conduct a more thorough assessment of my ABC’s. I tried to get a little sympathy from Kelly to little avail.
I could forget the Italian leather…. for the next few nights at least it was going to be as quiet as thick ruber gumboots.
Such are the tribulations of a male nurse in the house of God.
- or the same sex..whatever floats your boat [↩]