Not all that long ago, anyone who overdosed had their “stomach pumped.” This meant a large tube would be inserted into their mouth, down their esophagus, and into their stomach. Then water would be poured in and sucked out in an effort to remove any extra medications still in the stomach.
This practice is rarely done anymore; however, sometimes when a patient overdoses on especially dangerous medications it is performed.
So there I was, minding my own business, when a random patient came in who had just overdosed on some bad medications. She immediately saw the error of her ways and called 911. Upon arrival, I quickly determined that it would be in her best interest to remove whatever pills were still in her stomach. She agreed with this plan and we proceeded.
The large tube went in easily and then we started pouring the water down the tube. I held the tube and a container for the nurse as she pulled out the nightmarish liquid in this fine young lady’s stomach.
Now here I am leaving the realm of facts and entering the world of estimations and extrapolations. I have no actual idea what she had eaten, but I guessing a mixture of chicken Alfredo, 298374 pills, and a bloated skunk carcass that had died four weeks ago.
Then it happens.
I love my nursing staff. They are like family and we all work together to provide the best healthcare possible. On occasion, we might not completely get along in regards to all things, and we might, from time to time play a good natured joke on one another. However, when my good friend the charge nurse emptied the first LARGE amount of pill-vomit-liquid-death into the container I was holding, she did it with gusto. Remember, I am stabilizing the tube in one hand (can’t let go of that) and holding the receiving receptacle (don’t drop that either) with the other. The liquid collided with the container with sufficient force to rebound and splash right across my face.
I just don’t think the word “yuck” covers it. I supposed it would be similar to being vomited on by a stranger, but somehow when we actively retrieved her vomit, it made it more disgusting.
So I learned a few things. Whenever EWOLing (that is the stomach pumping) be sure to wear a mask. Also, not everything is good the second time around, not even chicken Alfredo.