Notes from an emergency room doctor: Each year, as New Year's Day creeps up,
I'm always desperate to come up with some worthwhile
New Year's resolutions. It's not that I can't
think of things I need to improve about myself.
Believe me, I could resolve to change plenty.
But I hate to make resolutions that I almost know
I'll fail to keep from day one. There's nothing
worse than starting off the new year as a failure.
That's why coming up with New Year's resolutions
is so formidable a task.
On this New Year's Day, while I'm still pondering
my failings and how to resolve them, I thought
I'd take time out to help my readers with their
resolutions for the coming year.
There's nothing like the spiritedness of end
of the year to bring out human frailties. So,
I reviewed emergency room medical charts from
New Year's Eve and New Year's Day 1994 in order
to discover how people let out the old and brought
in the new back then. How better to help us conceive
our new resolutions for 1995.
S.T. suffered "irritated eyes status post
pepper spray." His 1994 resolution ought
to have been to cope better with police authority.
R.K had "dental caries and odontalgia"
- a New Year's Eve toothache. His resolution ought
to be not to let things - like dental and medical
care - wait until the last minute, when minor
ailments become painful or major ones.
J.E. suffered a "subungual hematoma."
His thumbnail was smashed in a car door. He resolved
to more closely watch his words and his hands
with his girlfriend.
T.D. had a "scalp laceration and blunt
head trauma." He was handcuffed and arrested
for drunk driving. I hope he resolved not to drink
and drive and to thank god that he hadn't hurt
anyone else while driving under the influence.
B.J. had an "open nasal fracture and a
fifth metacarpal fracture." Hopefully, he
resolved that sometimes it is smarter to walk
away from the foolish macho bravado of a fight
than to stick one's nose into the melee.
K.M. had "acute gastritis and reflux esophagitis."
A good resolution is to learn that booze and foods
you can't tolerate all year long and which you
know cause you distress are not better tolerated
during holidays or festive events. Ones weaknesses
are not absolved at year's end. One's foibles
remain one's foibles.
D.M.L. had an "acute anxiety reaction."
She had hyperventilated and fainted. Her resolution
was to remember that the morning after often looks
brighter than the night before.
M.A. suffered "left 4,5,6 rib fractures,
a left scapular fracture, and a pulmonary contusion."
She resolved never again to drive with anyone
who had been drinking.
S.A. "left without being seen." He
ought to have resolved to be more patient, to
recognize that emergency rooms treat the sickest
patients first, and to realize that doctors and
nurses are only human. They can be overstressed,
overworked, and understaffed - especially on holidays.
E.R. staffs need to make resolutions too. Coping
with those who are sick and in pain, injured and
distraught, illogical and impatient, rude and
reviling, they ought to resolve to be more compassionate,
more patient, and always professional.
I wish you all a Happy New Year. And, if you
do make New Year’s resolutions try to keep them