Saturday, June 09, 2007

Hg free for you & me

At newFNP's clinic, Fridays are reserved for pediatrics and, more specifically, for well child checks. *Well* child. Physicals and vaccines. Sure, newFNP will treat your child's ezcema during the WCC. She, however, cannot solve your daughter's super-fucked up life in 15 minutes. NewFNP can generally survive one train-wreck on Fridays. But four? Well, four is just too damn many. Especially afternoon train wrecks. Isn't there some type of screening tool the front desk staff can utilize in order to schedule all of the emotionally exhaustive patients in the morning? Doubtful, given that newFNP continues to struggle with labels missing from a fair number of her charts.

NewFNP's first afternoon patient was a 15-year old girl, absoultely ridden with sour-puss attitude, who had missed school for a month because the pills she was taking for her abdominal pain made her sleepy. What was she taking? Lunesta? Oh, the attitude. NewFNP knows that she must have been somewhat like this girl oh-so-many years ago and it pained her to see that she may have been such an asshole. NewFNP generally likes teenagers, but she was considering advising this patient to go screw herself. NewFNP rose above the temptation, however. A smart move all in all.

Then newFNP had the walk-in depressed patient with the very chatty grandmother. Her patient was a very sweet young man and his grandmother was very concerned. However, newFNP does not need the anecdotes regarding the patient's anxious sister, grandma's 'nerves' and dad's relationship issues during the already tight walk-in schedule.

Then there were the sisters with the mercury exposure. Too much tilefish? Broken thermometer? Nope. In newFNP's mind, this is the epitome of a ghetto exposure story.

These sisters attended a baby shower in a house located next to a junk yard. Some kids were playing with a bottle filled with silver liquid that they found in the junk yard. Opened up the bottle and - voila! Millions of little silver balls! Please kids, please... don't play in junk yards. NewFNP doesn't even like to go to Ross, so there is no fucking way that she is going to a junk yard. Anyway, word got out that the house was subsequently quarantined as a result of the exposure so newFNP needed to evaluate the kids.

The only problem was that newFNP didn't learn about frigging mercury exposure in school. She just learned not to eat mackerel. So, off to the CDC website for some guidance. In short - assess for respiratory complications, draw their blood and do a urine, preferably a 24-hour urine but a spot urine will do in a pinch. Call the health department. Done, done and done.

Oh but wait, what do you do if one of the mercury kids had scooped up some of the pretty, shiny toxin and taken it to school, where she then threw it away? Well, then you call the haz-mat team and everyone gets an early summer vacation.

NewFNP thought that she was finished with the heavy metal when she received a call from our friendly neighborhood laboratory draw station. The attendant had the requisition forms from newFNP's patients, but apparently their mother and a whole other family was there to get their labs checked as well. NewFNP's patients truly do not know how the health care system works and newFNP spends an inordinate amount of time explaining things such as what it means to have refills on prescriptions and why patients need appointments. Now this poor lab worker was stuck doing the explaining as to why you can't just walk into a lab and order tests yourself.

Oh, community health. The hits just keep on comin!

NewFNP did, however, feel very proud of herself for acting as a public health practitioner today. Sure, all she did was call the toxics epidemiology department, but she sure felt good about doing it. It made newFNP realize how much providing individual health makes her miss public health. One day.... one day.

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