A Little Emergency Room Trip

My senior project is almost over. This is my fourth week working at HUP and I only wish that my project could continue for another couple weeks. A typical day at the hospital is quite different from my an average school day. At the hospital, I may have a rush of patients and paperwork and be extremely busy for hours or I may have only a few to see and get some free time to catch up on old applications. There are no scheduled classes at scheduled times. The patients are usually in the hospital for a few hours leaving me a large window to visit them. Lunch is another difference. At Westtown, everyday I have lunch from 1-1:45, while at HUP my lunch happens whenever I have a small chunk of free time. I like my life while working at a hospital, more than when I’m at school. It will be initially very difficult to readjust to life at Westtown.

This morning, I arrived at work a little before 8:00 and I went down to get a cup of coffee as I always do. When I came back upstairs, one of the patient coordinators, Carolyn, was in my office with a nurse practitioner and a doctor. Carolyn could not stop coughing and she was  practically hyperventilating. After a few minutes of trying to stop her cough, we decided that I should take her to the ER so that she could use a nebulizer to stop her cough and diagnose her problem. One concerning element is that she has tested positive for Tuberculosis three times but does not have an active strand of the virus. She is not contagious and does not have any of the symptoms of the disease and most likely never will. Nevertheless, she was worried that this may have been the cause for her coughing. I was initially scared that I had contracted the serious disease from spending the morning with her but in the end, her chest x-ray showed no sign of TB, pneumonia or bronchitis. I was greatly relieved and later realized that if there was any risk that she had active tuberculosis she would have immediately been quarantined. But if the next time I get a TB test it comes out positive, I’ll know who to blame.

-Matt

p.s. this is my penultimate post. There will be one more this Thursday.

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