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候诊室里的圣诞节 Working Christmas Day

 候诊室里的圣诞节

 

 

It was unusually quiet in the emergency room on December 25.

I was triage nurse that day. I didn't think there would be any patients, sighing about having to work on. Just then five bodies showed up at my desk, a pale woman and four small children.

“Are you all sick?” I asked suspiciously.

“Yes,” she said weakly and lowered her head.

But when it came to descriptions of their presenting problems, things got a little vague. Two of the children had headaches, but the headaches weren't accompanied by the normal body language of holding the head or trying to keep it still. Two children had earaches, but only one could tell me which ear was affected. The mother complained of a cough but seemed to work to produce it.

Something was wrong, but I didn't say anything but explained that it might be a little while before a doctor saw her. She responded, “Take your time; it's warm in here.”

On a hunch, I checked the chart after the admitting clerk had finished registering the family. No address—they were homeless. The waiting room was warm.

I looked out at the family huddled by the Christmastree. The littlest one was pointing at the television and exclaiming something to her mother. The oldest one was looking at an ornament on the Christmas tree.

I went back to the nurses' station and mentioned we had a homeless family in the waiting room. The nurses, grumbling about working Christmas, turned to compassion for a family just trying to get warm on Christmas. The team went into action, much as we do when there's a medical emergency. But this one was a Christmas emergency.

We were all offered a free meal in the hospital cafeteria on Christmas Day, so we claimed that meal and prepared a banquet for our Christmas guests. We needed presents. We put together oranges and apples in a basket. We collected from different departments candies, crayons and other things available that could be presents. As seriously as we met the physical needs of the patients that came to us that day, our team worked to meet the needs, and exceed the expectations, of a family who just wanted to be warm on Christmas Day.

Later, as the family walked to the door to leave, the four-year-old came running back, gave me a hug and whispered, “Thanks for being our angels today.”

十二月二十五日,急诊室里异乎寻常地安静。

我是当天的分诊护士。我想不会有什么病人来的。当我正叹息着圣诞节还要工作的时候,五个人出现在我的办公桌前——一个面色苍白的妇女,带着四个小孩儿。

我有些怀疑地问:“你们都病了吗?”

“嗯。”她虚弱地回答道,低下了头。

但是当他们开始描述现在的病情时,事情就有点让人摸不着头脑了。其中两个孩子头痛,但是他们的头痛并没有伴随着通常出现的肢体症状,像抱头或者试着让头保持不动等。还有,两个孩子说耳朵痛,但只有一个能告诉我是哪只耳朵痛。孩子的母亲诉说她有咳嗽症状,但咳嗽好像是用力装出来的。

有点不对头,但是我也没说什么,只是解释说,过一阵儿医生才会来给她检查。她回答说:“不着急,医院里挺暖和的。”

接诊员填好这个家庭的登记表后,出于直觉,我查看了一下。上面没写地址——他们无家可归。候诊室里很暖和。

我向外看去,只见这一家人挤在圣诞树旁,最小的孩子指着电视,正向母亲惊呼着什么,最大的那个正在看圣诞树上的一件装饰品。

我回到护士室,讲述了候诊室里这无家可归的一家子的事。原本抱怨圣诞节还要上班的护士们都转而对在圣诞节只祈求温暖的这家人感到非常同情。这个团队马上展开行动,就好像我们对待医疗紧急情况一样,只不过这次是“圣诞节急诊”。

圣诞节这天,医院食堂免费给我们提供一顿饭,于是我们都把饭领回来,为我们的圣诞客人准备了一次宴会。还需要一些礼物,我们就把苹果和橘子放到一起,装进篮子,还从各个科室收集了糖果、蜡笔和其他能当作礼物的现成的东西。我们的团队工作严肃,就像满足当天其他患者的需要一样,我们尽力满足这家人只想过一个温暖圣诞节的愿望,并远远超乎了他们的期望。

后来,当这家人走到门前要离开的时候,那个四岁的孩子跑回来,给了我一个拥抱,并在我的耳边悄悄地说:“谢谢你,今天你是我们家的天使。”

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