I can’t breathe!!


Rural hospital life can be fun, with a variety of illnesses and injuries, but it’s certainly challenging. We had a back door at the ER for night time patients, it was fitted with a call button that would ring out at the nurse’s station. If the bell went, a nurse would answer, asking who they were, and what they needed.

One evening there were just two of us at the nurse’s station when the bell went. I listened is as my co-worker responded. He asked what he could do for them and the reply was an urgent one. A man, who was clearly upset, saying that his wife was unable to breathe. That was all it took, we both jumped up, calling the other nurses to attention, grabbing a doctor, and all running at breakneck speeds for the back door to deal with this patient.

The door flew open and there was the man, standing quite calmly with his seemingly healthy-looking wife. My out of breath colleague scooped his wife into the wheelchair she had produced, saying to the man, “I thought you said your wife was unable to breathe, sir?” He was nodding, “Yes, that’s right, she hasn’t been able to breathe all day, her nose is so stopped up.”

Needless to say, we all rolled our eyes, in annoyance as much as relief. It’s always a relief to know that someone is okay, but boy did we get the fright of our lives.