The new edition of Grand Rounds is up over at Protect the Airway, which has become one of my favorite blogs. There’s a kind of Grand Rounds tradition to see who can come up with the cleverest presentation, and this edition takes the form of an ED tour. I'm honored to be included, especially since I submitted my post after the deadline!
But one thing got left out: the blanket warmer.
I’ve decided that warm blankets are the best thing about the emergency department. We’re talking major drugs: these things are at least as effective as morphine. Patients who’ve just been given a warm blanket will moan in ecstasy and close their eyes. Pain and worry lines fade, replaced by blissful smiles.
The worst thing about having a fever in the ED is that you aren’t allowed to have a warm blanket. If your temp’s up, I can only give you a sheet.
I once saw an agitated, suicidal homeless patient magically become calm, happy and grateful, just because I’d given him a warm blanket. Another homeless patient who was being discharged ran after me with tears in his eyes to say “thank you,” when I’d done nothing but give him a warm blanket hours earlier. As a chaplain, I’ve learned that the two things most guaranteed to make patients weep with gratitude are heartfelt, personalized prayers and, you guessed it, warm blankets.
I often tell patients, “I want one of these blanket warmers for my house. I think Sharper Image should sell them. They’d make a million dollars.” The patients always laugh and agree.
My birthday’s next week. If you want to get me something really special, you now know what that would be.
Of course, I don’t want you to go to any trouble, really. But if you just happen to have a spare blanket warmer lying around, I’ll happily take it off your hands.