I remember this kid, couldn't have been more than five, who was brought in my first day in the emergency room. He had tangled with a lawn mower somehow and his father had his severed arm packed in ice and his stump tied off with a tourniquet made from a cable tie. The doctor tried for an hour to re-attach that mangled hand and arm but the kid just gave it up. The father pounded his head against a glass door and nearly broke it.
A couple of years ago a woman came shrieking into the lobby, claiming demons were drinking her blood. Security grabbed her, and the intern on duty bundled her off to a psychologist under mild sedation. The psychologist sent her back asking us to remove the several dozen leeches from her back.
Sweet old Mrs. Bailley saw us about once a month just after her social security check came in. She used the cash to buy a bag of candy and then pigged out. Her blood sugar went through the roof every time and she got so sick she had to call 911. She did it every month. She got to be a regular. One of the orderlies got some flowers for her every time she came in. She even brought a little bag with her each time and showed us all her grand children, the new babies in the family, and told us all the gossip. Last month, the strain was too much. After we gave her the usual insulin and left her to rest, she just lay down and peacefully died. She didn't get to show her pictures this time.
Some guy with a crazed look ran in the front door, slammed past security carrying his twelve-year-old daughter shouting, "Code blue! Code blue!" He watches too many hospital shows on TV. They're just called a "code" around here. The girl was dead. The doctor examining her found traces of barbiturates and heroin. He also found signs of sexual activity. When he told the father she was dead and asked about sex and drugs, the guy pulled out a gun, put it in his mouth, and pulled the trigger. It took half an hour before he coded.
Sometimes I hate working here, in my area, codes are memories.