The patient’s caregiver called 911, thinking the patient had a stroke.
We arrive and the caregiver states the patient was sitting up in his chair and talking, until he wasn’t. The patient is slow to respond and his blood pressure is low. He barely has the energy to move his lips. We pick him up from his chair and move him to our stretcher.
His heart rate is a little high but not horrible, he may be dehydrated with some other issues going on, but he is not having a stroke. We start an intravenous line and give him normal saline fluid. His blood pressure slowly begins to rise.
When we got to the hospital, there were no rooms available. Gurneys topped with patients filled the hallway hospital. EMS ambulances were backed up in the ambulance bay. There is no room to put the patients. There is no room to put our patient.
I checked his blood sugar earlier and it is on the cusp of being low. Not low enough to treat, but enough to know he probably needs something to eat. We can’t feed him until a doctor sees him.
We wait some more. The patient complains the stretcher is uncomfortable but we can’t move him from it. He begins to take interval naps while I monitor his vitals. His blood pressure is slowly stabilizing again.
Hours later, we finally got a room. We wheel him to the outside of his room, but his room is currently being cleaned. We wait some more.
A nurse is sitting at a computer, finally being able to chart some paperwork, while opening a bag of chips.
The patient asks me, “Can I have something to eat? I haven’t eaten all morning and I’m starving.”
Usually we aren’t allowed to feed patients until the doctor has seen the patient.
I tell the nurse his blood sugar is close to being low so he does need something to eat, and I can grab him one of the hospital sandwiches in the fridge that no one is excited to eat. The nurse hands the patient her new opened bag of chips.
The patient’s eyes brighten up, his smile widens. He gives the nurse the kindest eyes. At that moment his day was made with a bag of chips.
Little acts of kindness matter and can brighten up the world.
But what do I know?
I’m gonna go tell someone to fuck off now.