I can’t breathe. Three simple words that mean different things to different people. I’m a male nurse in a local hospital and deal with every far flung corner of society. From the Clark Grad college sweetheart new parents who set off their child’s asthma because they smoked pot in the house, the little old lady from the local nursing home who has a pulmonary embolism and needs to be intubated, and the COPD’er who still smoked 2 packs of cigarettes a day. But now these 3 simple words have been perverted by a circle of people who have spent a large majority of their lives being able to do what ever they want, being able to breathe and using that breath to support criminals.
As I sit at my desk with a glass of scotch and smoldering cigar (with the window open because the future Mrs. Turtlesnurse doesn’t like the smell) I can’t help but see comparisons between these protesters and the dregs of society that come in and treat us like scum. For anywhere from 8-16 hours I work in your friendly downtown Emergency Department, and hopefully these are some hot feminist family friendly takes from your local Male Nurse.
The Emergency Department is the perfect cross section of any city, and it’s hard to understand that unless you work where boundaries don’t exist and lives hang in the balance more often than not. I want to go on record early, stating that nurses are on the side of the police. I’m not going to say our jobs are anything alike, but we find ourselves in some of the same situations. Making the decision to remove someone from life support and making the decision to pull the trigger on someone are very similar. Try telling me how either choice won’t keep you up at night either way. Worcester’s finest deal with the same cross section of people. They bring us in the drunks, the homeless, the psychotics. They respond to the 911 calls of the Clark grad newlyweds who fishbowl their 1 year old daughter and they safely bring in the cocaine fueled gangster whose “friend accidentally hit him with a car”.
We have to make the same decisions about force as the police do too. No, we don’t carry guns or batons or tasers. We don’t have bullet proof vests or a training to defend ourselves when attacked, and we get attacked on a nearly daily basis. We have to decide in a split second if someone can be talked down or they need to be sedated and restrained for their and our safety. Three days ago, one of my friends was was punched in the face and bitten by her patient.
It will only be a matter of time before the protestors get tired of yelling and trying to provoke the police and turn on healthcare workers. People like Robert Blackwell-Gibbs and Sonya Connor come in all the time and play their victim cards. They protest the fact that I gave them Tylenol over Dilaudid, they Google their symptoms and tell the doctor, who has spent 10 years learning his or her craft, what’s wrong with them. These are the same people who are allergic to everything except opiate medication. And these people have the audacity to block ambulance bays and roadways because they think some major offense has been caused to them. When I read the news the other day about the rich suburban white kids who thought the sitting in traffic with their arms in cement because they weren’t hugged enough as a child and majored in 18th century gender roles at 50,000 dollar a year private suburban college, I couldn’t help be disgusted, but then I heard the diverted ambulances and cancer patients missing treatments and became angry.
Boston is a world-wide destination for exceptional healthcare and its a miracle that no one died because of these selfish self-centered actions. If anyone died, or does die because of these actions, they should all be charged with murder. And then to scream at media members to get out your way because you have to go to the hospital because you have cuts on your arm from cementing your arm in a barrel? If I didn’t deal with these people on a daily basis, I would think it was a joke.
I hope that the girl who demanded to go to the hospital reads this. No seriously, I do, because I want you to know how much the nurses and the doctors laughed at you when you stormed in like the privileged girl you are, and demanded to be seen right away, while your equally white roommate, maybe even your girlfriend, harassed the over worked staff that now has to deal with your stupid ass, when the doctor is going to fix you. Honestly, we feel bad for you for how badly your parents raised you by keeping you in the best schools and raising you in Cambridge. How by sparing you no expense, they formed an unrealistic view of the world for you.
We talk of the “Come To Jesus” moment in medicine. I guess it could be the drunks moment clarity, or as my wonderful mother calls it, the dope slap. It’s a moment where the fog clears and you realize what a fool you are. I’ve seen this in drunk college kids a lot. Mostly 19 year olds who go to WPI and think it’s a good idea to take 19 tequila shots for their birthday. Their cross eyed gaze clears, and they look at you with vomit caked to their face. Then they have to hear about how stupid they were, and how getting raped and killed were serious possibilities in the state they were in, and if it wasn’t for the police who brought them, who knows where’d they be or what would happen to them. Right now, the only protestor I have any respect for is Noah McKenna, the kid came out and talked to the press and looked like he began to realize he was nudnik. With any hope he’ll shave his dreadlocks and buy a suit.
In healthcare, just like life, all lives matter. I don’t need the Twitter machine to put a hashtag in front of that to make it true. Healthcare in this country is a right but you naniburger attention hounds do not have the right to impede people from that healthcare. You come through the doors to be treated, I will treat you like any other person. I will treat you with as much respect as you show me. The only way to make any change in this world is to all work together, not chain Grimace and the Hamburglar to oil cans and scream “I can’t breathe”. The day you can’t actually breathe, I’ll be there for you, just like how the police will still be there for you when you need them, no matter how disgusted they are with your actions