“Hurry we need your help. Just got an emergency call, an Ambulance is on its way with a man who was shot twice.”
My heart jumps into overdrive and I put my game face on, it’s time to get to work. Unfortunately, we are so understaffed tonight that my twelve hour shift might turn into a fourteen hour shift, or longer.
As we rush to the emergency room we patiently wait for the Ambulance to arrive.“They said they are about fifteen minutes out, down Highway twelve,” Jennifer mentions.
“Oh ok, not too far then,” I reply.
“So are you excited about your vacation? The grand canyon is so beautiful.” Jennifer said to me, but before I can answer her a loud BOOM echoes through the hall.
We turn as the Paramedics burst through the double doors and they have the shooting victim strapped to a stretcher. As we take him to a room, I notice something not normal about this patient.
Before I really have a chance to think about it, the man starts to scream. It’s not just a scream, though, it’s the loudest, blood- curdling and horrific sound I think I’ve ever heard. I’d rather hear nails against a chalkboard than to hear his screams.
The man flails about trying to escape the restraints of the stretcher. Jennifer and I grab his arms as two other nurses come running into the room to grab his legs. The man is still screaming while a doctor tries to put him under with a shot of Propofol.
He’s so strong he manages to break the restraints, throwing Jennifer and I off of him. I slam against the hard tile floor and bounce back up as quickly as I can, grabbing his left arm again before he’s able to take a swing at the doctor. Finally, with the help of the paramedics that brought him in, the six of us are able to hold him down long enough to put him under.
“Thank God!! He’s finally under and that freaking screaming is over.” I say as I lean in closer to the patient. Besides the fact that he has been shot twice, once in his left shoulder blade and again in his right leg, the corners of his eyes have puss and blood oozing from them.
But that’s not the only weird thing about this patient, he also has a unique odor and not unique in a pleasant way either.
Nope, we’re not that lucky. He smells like rotting flesh as if his body was decaying like three day old road kill along a highway.
It’s weird that I didn’t notice the stench before; I have a very sensitive nose. I guess it must have been the adrenaline rush. But my rush faded quickly once he was subdued.
My stomach lurches, twists, jump, and turns inside out. I can’t stand the smell! Oh God! I turn to rush out of the room for some fresh air before I vomit all over the poor guy. I think he has suffered enough I don’t want to add that to his grief. I have been a nurse for three years and I have seen some very disgusting stuff, but I have never seen, or smelt anything like this before.
I turn to see the other nurses taking care of him. Swallowing back the need to vomit, I Grab some medical instruments from the medical table and hand it to the doctor. Standing off to the side of the room, I get a better look at the patient.
His skin looks really saggy and pale as if death is already at his doorstep. He’s also foaming at the mouth. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone like him before. And he was freakishly strong; he threw Jennifer and me around like ragdolls. He doesn’t look like he works out. That’s so weird. He’s probably on drugs, PCP maybe.
Once we have the patient stable, I leave the other nurses to get him patched up. I walk back down the hall to do my rounds until my shift is over.
Yawning, I look down at my watch, nine o’clock, my shift is over. Wow 3 hours went by faster than I expected, time fly’s when you’re busy. God!!! I cannot wait to leave this place, and go home to a nice warm bed with Mathew and fall into a deep slumber.
Dragging my tired feet to my locker, Jennifer walks up to me, “Man that guy is in bad condition, doctors say it’s not just the two gunshot wounds, but he might have Rabies.”
I snap my head up in surprise. “What!!? Rabies!? You’ve got to be joking……..right? We haven’t had any cases in the U.S. in years. How did he get it?”
“I wish I was joking. As of now they’re not sure how he contracted it. He got out of surgery about an hour and a half ago and he’s still knocked out. They want to try and ask him what happened once he regains consciousness. They aren’t even sure if its rabies, but he is showing all signs of it. Foaming out of the mouth, aggressiveness, along with bloodshot and puss filled eyes. The doctors have sent a couple different tests to the lab they should know what it is within a few days.” Jennifer adds.
“Wow, crazy. Well do me a favor and let me know what he has once you find out. Okay?”
“No problem, Sam. But you’re going on vacation, are you sure you want me to bother you with work stuff?”
“Yea, it’s fine. One little text isn’t going to ruin our vacation. Please, I really want to know,” I beg.
“Ok, chicka will do. Have fun on your vacation and tell Mathew I said hello and to treat my girl right,” she says as she pulls me in for a big hug and squeezes me until I have to push her away.
I love this girl; she is so fun and easy going. She’s been a nurse a lot longer than I have, but she was beyond sweet when I first came to this hospital three years ago. She taught me so much and helped me learn the ropes. I am blessed to have her as a friend.