47 tips to keep you away from my ER.

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I’m an ER doc. I care for patients. All patients: Those who need to be in the ER; those who don’t; those who wouldn’t be there if they knew better. For them, for you and for fun, I’ve got some tips to keep you happy, safe and away from my ER. Enjoy.

  1. Never, ever say “hold my beer and watch this!” Besides “I do!” they are the most dangerous words ever spoken. They’re a harbinger of disaster worse than “Winter is coming.” They have their own section on YouTube – great watch after a rough day. Better than kittens. Still, hold on to your beer.
  2. NEVER drink and drive. It’s obvious, but it’s obviously not obvious enough. As per CDC, in 2016, 10,497 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for 28% of all traffic-related deaths in the US. They’re still counting 2018.
  3. Same with drugs. Any drugs. Legal, illegal, yours, or borrowed. Except for Tylenol. And Motrin. They’re OK.
  4. Don’t tell your significant other that your life is no longer worth living, just to upset them. If they call 911, EMS will bring you to me. I’ll keep you until you’re legally sober if it takes a week.  By the time you’re sober, got your evaluation and went home, your significant other has had a chance to enjoy life without you. Speak wisely.
  5. Shoveling the roof is overrated. Especially in winter. It comes with broken heels, fractured backs, and ER trips. The roof is for the birds.  And cats. You’re human. Stay on the ground.
  6. Your motorcycle? The one you love? I love them too, but I sold mine. My first MCA patient came by ambulance. His leg followed in another car. I’ll get a motorcycle when I get terminal cancer. For now, I’ll stick with my car. Not your thing? At least wear a helmet.
  7. Do not, I repeat, do not, stick your hand in your snowblower to clean it. You may never be able to play the guitar or tie your shoes again. It may put a damper on your loving.  Yourself or others
  8. If you’ve been coughing for a week and you smoke, go buy honey. Don’t come to the ER unless you have a fever, you’re short of breath or you have chest pain. You’ll cough for at least three weeks. There’s nothing I can do to stop that unless I kill you. That will stop your cough, but it’s illegal.
  9. Your twelve-years-of-God-awful-back-pain? Unless something’s really different today, the ER is not the place for it. Especially now, that Percocet has become a 4-letter word. You’ll wait, and wait. You’ll get a lot of rotten looks and a script for ibuprofen — 800 mg every 6 hrs — or acetaminophen — 1000 mg every 6hrs. That’s Motrin and Tylenol. Go get them over the counter.
  10. If you have an appointment with your doctor, don’t cancel it to come to the ER instead because you’re too sick to see your doctor. Unless your doctor is Dr. Seuss, Dr. Pepper or a plastic surgeon, caring for sick people is what your doctor does. Keep your appointments.
  11. Don’t separate fighting dogs with your bare hands. Dogs can handle dog bites better than you can. They come from wolves. We come from monkeys. We’re out of their league. Stay out of it or use a prop.
  12. Don’t throw gasoline on an open flame unless you’re looking for a Brazilian wax.
  13. NEVER EVER stand around minding your own business. It’s the most dangerous thing known to man. 90% of my assault victims were doing just that.
  14. Church is dangerous. That’s where my syncopal patients come from. They go to church, they faint, they fall, they break a hip. Bars are safer.
  15. Forget Dr. Google. He’ll drive you insane worrying about improbable things that you can’t pronounce, let alone understand, and he won’t even give you a work note.
  16. If you’ve already seen a specialist for your problem, coming to the ER for a second opinion won’t help. I specialize in first opinions.
  17. Unless you’re actively trying to reproduce, use condoms. They are cheaper than medications, alimony, and college. The strawberry ones smell better than diapers.
  18. Get a flu shot. Beats getting the flu. It won’t give you the flu. If you got the flu last time you got a flu shot, it’s because they happen in the same season. The flu season.
  19. If you walk with a walker, avoid ladders.
  20. Turn off your oxygen tank before lighting up. Even better, stop smoking.
  21. Don’t eat spicy food if you have diarrhea. You’ll get sensations like never before. Besides rectal lidocaine – which you won’t like – there’s little I can do for you. You’re gonna feel like a reverse fire-spitting dragon. As for diarrhea: One runny episode doesn’t count. Diarrhea is when you run out of toilet paper. 
  22. Vaccinate your children. The connection with autism is fake. The hack who made it up lost his license. Even if it was true – and it’s not – I’d rather have an autistic child than a dead one. If you trust Jenny McCarthy more than you trust your pediatrician, you should take your kids to her when they’re sick.
  23. Use protection. Use the guard of your saw. Use safety glasses when you’re welding. That’s not wimpy – that’s smart. Unlike lobsters, you don’t regrow limbs. Unlike spiders, you only have two eyes. Use them wisely. 
  24. Don’t hold your chainsaw between your legs to start it. 
  25. Same with pouring hot coffee. Set the cup down. It feels better.
  26. Don’t put on mascara while you’re driving. 
  27. We’re ER folks. We do emergencies. Our tests look for emergencies. If you come to the ER for anything but an emergency, you’re in the wrong place. Seeing an ER doc for a non-emergent problem is like seeing a cardiologist for your diarrhea.
  28. Don’t leave your meds around for your toddler to sample. Check grandma’s house too.
  29. Fibromyalgia is seldom lethal for patients, even though it kills me. 
  30. Get a doctor. Your own. He’s better than me at managing your blood pressure, your diabetes, your ED (erectile dysfunction). Cheaper too. It will save you time – it’s gonna be a long wait if you’re here for a Viagra script. Plus, I have no free samples. 
  31. Help others. Volunteer within your community. Focus less on yourself and more on others. It will make you happier and healthier.
  32. Get rid of your trampoline. Unless you don’t like your kids that much.
  33. Don’t hurt my feelings by telling me that you really, really hate doctors.
  34. Overweight is bad. Bad for your back, bad for your knees, bad for your diabetes. We eat too much and we move too little. Next time you’re thinking Fudge Sundae, try an apple and a walk instead. I know, walking is for the dogs. Get one. People with pets are healthier, happier and have more fun. 
  35. If you’re calling the ER to ask how busy we are, you don’t need to come. 
  36. Get a dentist. Teeth are a great investment. They brighten your smile. They make you look younger. They’re prettier than tattoos. They chew your steak!
  37. Stop smoking! You won’t set your house on fire. You’ll save money. Your doctor will stop harassing you. You’ll set a good example for your kids. Your car will smell better. So will you.
  38. Don’t lock your children in the car. Ever. Not in summer, not in winter, not on Wednesdays. Find childcare or take them with you. Same with pets.
  39. Don’t fry bacon naked.
  40. Don’t ride your bike while you’re walking your dog.
  41. Don’t keep shampoo bottles on the floor. They tend to get lodged in people’s rectums.
  42. Don’t keep bleach in soda bottles. If you do, don’t leave them sitting around for your kids to drink them.
  43. Invest in a cock-ring with a release, and a butt plug with a wide flange. It’s cheaper than a trip to the ED. Less embarrassing too. 
  44. If you can’t control your anger, punch a pillow. Walls, doors, and windows tend to fight back.
  45. Never wear flip-flops to run, walk your dog or climb a ladder.
  46. Power tools, tree stands, and ladders don’t mix with alcohol.
  47. Same with anything fire-related: Fireworks, fire pit, bonfire.
  48. Take your meds as prescribed. Your seizure meds, your blood pressure meds, your other meds. Except for other people’s meds. Don’t take other people’s meds. Not even if they’re the same color.
  49. Make good choices. Not funny, I know. See below.
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My husband. Who do you think is holding his beer?

Rada Jones is an ER doc practicing in Upstate New York, where she lives with her husband, Steve, and Paxil, his deaf black cat. She’s the author of three ER novels: OVERDOSE, MERCY, and POISON. 

 

 

 

 

81 thoughts on “47 tips to keep you away from my ER.

  1. The doctor forgot one important thing: Her funny list assumes one has platinum health insurance. Vote for politicians who will pass Medicare for All that includes coverage for major dental issues. That will bring more people to their regular doctors and not to the ER.

  2. Church is dangerous… 😂😂 Holy rollers 🤣🤣
    Fun read, all so relatable, thanks for the laughs!

  3. #18, #22 – when there is proof of safety and efficacy (an actual double-blind peer-reviewed study), and vaccine manufacturers are held liable for the harm caused by their products, I will get vaccinated. Until then, I’ll avoid injecting aborted fetal tissue, formaldehyde, aluminum, thimerisol, and all the other vaccine ingredients, thank you!

    1. There have been dozens of studies , vaccines work! You have to be willfully ignorant of the facts. And there is NOT any aborted fetal tissue in ANY vaccine.

    2. T Baker, do you require double blind peer reviewed studies for everything you do in life or do you sometimes just go with the overwhelming consensus and daily proof that something is what it actually is?

    3. T. Baker…. you are a moron. please DON’T get any vaccinations and please DON’T reproduce and contaminate the gene pool.

  4. When you hire someone for chainsaw work be sure he’s (It’s always a he.) over 40, wears boots, and drop starts the saw. Why the “drop start” qualification?

    Most chainsaw accidents occur within the first few hours of use, 100 or so. Unless it’s a huge saw used for cutting old growth with a 36″or longer bar, the sawyer drop starts. That’s what pro faller do. For decades. I’m 79 and still do.

  5. “Church is dangerous. That’s where my syncopal patients come from. They go to church, they faint, they fall, they break a hip. Bars are safer.”
    This list was fun and somewhat practical until #14. WTF. I believe many people might be spared your ED if they found something worthwhile in their life. For many, church is a community where people find purpose and quality of life. Helping and supporting others not only improves your life but also exponentially improves the lives of others. You didn’t mention depressed people who don’t have the will to live showing up in your ED exhibiting self-inflicted injuries or overdose symptoms in a means to try and find someone, anyone, who cares. “Bars are safer.” Alcohol poisoning? Drunken recklessness? Self inflicted injury after hitting the bottom of a bottle? Alcohol is a depressant, right? #2 “Never drink and drive.” Guess what? People get drunk at the bar. Drunk people sometimes lose the ability to think rationally. They then believe it’s perfectly fine to drive to the next bar. I believe your ED business would fall off sharply if people stayed out of the bar. Who knows, maybe if they went to church instead, some of your car wreck victims would be saved.
    Going to Church, or temple, or whatever the choice of your spiritual expression is way better than going to the ED. Church has saved, or improved millions of lives.
    For #14 I must say shame on you!

    1. #14 was a joke. Relax. Relaxing is good for your health. Nothing was said against church.

  6. Keep track of how many pills you have left. If you ran out of meds two weeks ago and think the ER doc needs to write you a new script. ….means you are an idiot, not an adult. Start adulting for once in your life!

  7. If you are prone to ‘weak bladder syndrome’ whenever you suddenly burst out laughing, do NOT begin reading this until you make that obligatory pit stop! REASON: You’ll eventually get to Number 39 [“Don’t fry bacon naked.”] and will immediately recall some swaggering bozo you knew about in college who apparently did so frequently … until that one fateful day, in February of (insert year), thereby altering forever, 1) any inclination to strut in the buff; and 2) his culinary fondness for pork products.

    1. You fry bacon in the nude so you don’t fry it too fast.

      Also you and your significant other can switch off.

  8. Yes to all except #15. Sorry, doctors are no longer the gatekeepers of knowledge. An informed patient is an asset, not a liability. And to those who say ‘but there’s so much misinformation on the internet’, just cite the occurence of medical errors by trained health-care professionals.

      1. Ehh.. it’s nice when I actually have informed patients.. the vast majority are however sorely uninformed.

        The least informed of course, are those who insist they are informed. They often also “know their body” and have “a very high pain tolerance” (which is code to ER personnel for the exact opposite)

      2. Did you go to school for 9 years for medicine? No? Didn’t think so. Stay in your lane.

      3. Odds are that unless you have an MD after your name, the doctor knows a lot more than you do.

    1. The main point is don’t let dr google freak you out and make you come to the ED for a simple cold. That is what your PRIMARY CARE PROVIDER is for.

    2. An informed patient IS an asset. However, a patient who read crap information on a stupid website is not an informed patient. There are degrees.

  9. #48- Don’t cut anything you’re holding in your hand. Use a cutting board, cut away from yourself and towards the cutting board, and keep your fingers clear of the path of the knife. Using a sharp knife so you don’t have to force it and lose control of what you’re doing is also a good idea.

  10. Alas, it’s HARD to get an appointment with the Family Doctor anymore.

    You know things are screwed up when your DOCTOR’S OFFICE tells you to go to the local Doc-in-a-Box. . .

  11. Not just motorcycles but bicycles. It was my favorite form of exercise but that stopped when I saw my friend fly over the handlebars and into the street — he wasn’t holding the handlebars very well–and end up with several busted front teeth, a broken nose, broken fingers and cuts galore. I found safer, yet more boring, ways to exercise.

  12. Also, don’t believe what you see on TV. No, you can’t break a window w/ your fist or foot w/out causing harm to yourself. You will probably break something if you fall or jump off of the roof of a building. Etc.

  13. #17…and if you run out of condoms, do not use tin foil as a DIY substitute.

  14. From personal experience, add gardening to flip flops list in #45. I didn’t end up in the ER, but my husband (former EMT) used most of a bottle of liquid bandage to seal up the scratches from the rose bush I fell back against.

  15. I’m an ER nurse. These are wonderful! And I know about #39 from personal experience! (I said that I’m a nurse, not that I’m a genius!). Good job, Doc!

  16. Also, “don’t hold all your other firecrackers in your pants pockets while you’re lighting the one in your hand…”

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