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候診室里的圣誕節

候診室里的圣誕節

 

 

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 Christmas tree. 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,急診室里異乎尋常地安靜。

我是當天的分診護士。我想不會有什么病人來的。當我正嘆息著圣誕節還要工作的時候,五個人出現在我的辦公桌前——一個面色蒼白的婦女,帶著四個小孩兒。

我有些懷疑地問:“你們都病了嗎?”

“嗯。”她虛弱地回答道,低下了頭。

但是當他們開始描述現在的病情時,事情就有點讓人摸不著頭腦了。其中兩個孩子頭痛,但是他們的頭痛并沒有伴隨著通常出現的肢體癥狀,像抱頭或者試著讓頭保持不動等。還有,兩個孩子說耳朵痛,但只有一個能告訴我是哪只耳朵痛。孩子的母親訴說她有咳嗽癥狀,但咳嗽好像是用力裝出來的。

有點不對頭,但是我也沒說什么,只是解釋說,過一陣兒醫生才會來給她檢查。她回答說:“不著急,醫院里挺暖和的。”

接診員填好這個家庭的登記表后,出于直覺,我查看了一下。上面沒寫地址——他們無家可歸。候診室里很暖和。

我向外看去,只見這一家人擠在圣誕樹旁,最小的孩子指著電視,正向母親驚呼著什么,最大的那個正在看圣誕樹上的一件裝飾品。

我回到護士室,講述了候診室里這無家可歸的一家子的事。原本抱怨圣誕節還要上班的護士們都轉而對在圣誕節只祈求溫暖的這家人感到非常同情。這個團隊馬上展開行動,就好像我們對待醫療緊急情況一樣,只不過這次是“圣誕節急診”。

圣誕節這天,醫院食堂免費給我們提供一頓飯,于是我們都把飯領回來,為我們的圣誕客人準備了一次宴會。還需要一些禮物,我們就把蘋果和橘子放到一起,裝進籃子,還從各個科室收集了糖果、蠟筆和其他能當作禮物的現成的東西。我們的團隊工作嚴肅,就像滿足當天其他患者的需要一樣,我們盡力滿足這家人只想過一個溫暖圣誕節的愿望,并遠遠超乎了他們的期望。

后來,當這家人走到門前要離開的時候,那個四歲的孩子跑回來,給了我一個擁抱,并在我的耳邊悄悄地說:“謝謝你,今天你是我們家的天使。”


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