Calling Names


Porter Girl, aka “The Juice” asked about my nickname.

I will tell you. 

My nickname is…. wait for it….

Code Red.


I know. It was given to me in residency. Makes me sound a lot more bad-assed than I ever was.

Why this name, you may ask?

First thing you have to know is that I have red hair. Is it real? Is it fake? I have posted the answer to that elsewhere. Do you remember? For this story, though, that doesn’t matter. It only matters that it is red.

The next thing you need to know about is hospital “Code” talk.

If a baby is stolen, it is called a Code Pink. Don’t worry. That didn’t happen very often…

If someone poops where they should not have, it is called a Code Brown. Interestingly when someone pees where they aren’t supposed to, we never called it a Code Yellow. I wonder why…

When someone was crashing in the hospital, though, it was called a Code Blue and was announced over the intercom. Everyone would run to the patient room announced with the code. The first doctor to get there got to run the code. CPR, intubation, and everything. I was a fast runner but those codes terrified me. I thought if I could get more experience it wouldn’t scare me as much. Didn’t work. It still scares the ever livin’ bahjeses out of me.

I had a reputation for being tough. No nonsense. Mainly that was because I could somehow find a common ground with some of the most difficult patients. Someone was making problems? They sent in Code Red. At times that meant cussing someone out. I was pretty good at that. I could do it in a nonthreatening way with a smile on my face that eased tension and made patients laugh. It was like magic. 

Sometimes it meant hugging or crying with someone. I was pretty good at that, too. 

More so it meant listening. I was extra good at that. Listen long enough and everyone will tell you what is going on.

Soon, the difficult patient was not difficult anymore. I am not sure anyone cared how I was doing it. They all assumed it was simply extra swagger and bravado. It wasn’t. I didn’t share my secret. It is good to have a reputation. But the truth was, I just really love prickly people. 

So there you have it. My bad-ass nickname.


92 thoughts on “Calling Names

  1. Prickly patients are fun to diffuse. In home care, the clinicians lament is not enough time to spend with the patient….. but they do need to listen better. You should teach and I am serious about that.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This reminds me of a co-worker. I re-blogged your pregnant drug addict post in honor of her. She always wanted the hardest, most complicated mental health/substance abuse clients. They all loved her. She worked longer hours than anyone I know, until she got sick, but she still worked as much as she could after she got sick. She died a couple years ago. I wish she could have extended some of her nurturing and compassion to herself, but I’m not sure if she knew how to do that. You do know how to nurture and care for yourself now, right?

    Liked by 1 person

      • I think it can become a habit to focus on caring for others and neglecting ourselves. Years ago, I was told by a therapist that I needed to include myself in my circle of compassion. Scheduling self care helped – massages, swimming, etc. I found better balance over time.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I think any other possible nickname would’ve been a letdown 😁

    I’m glad they gave you a code nickname ! That a status nic, to be awed by new residents hoping themselves to rise near the Code Red status in a nickname too 😄

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You have summed up the qualities of a good contact center person. Listen and empathize and then respond in the manner that is likely to work best with that person.

    Most of the time empathy in response is the ticket. But sometimes it’s taking the no-nonsense I’m telling you what you need to hear and it’s time for you to face it approach. Occasionally it’s laughter.

    But in all cases, being the next person is the biggest advantage.
    In terms of call centers, that is being the person the call is transferred to, in terms of code red, it’s the doctor who walks in after the situation has escalated. The next person is always the savior. The first person is always considered part of the problem. However unfair that is.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The stories within the stories, where handles/nick names generate are among my favorites. Never working or spending a lot of time in hospitals (but much in hospice) I wouldn’t have imagined that one.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m fairly new so I do not know where the Red Hair answer is. However, if you were in South Australia you may have been called “The Ranga Doc.” (Red Hair Doctor) or simple “The Ginger Doc” or just Ginge. I never had a nickname – how sad :o)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ranga sounds kinda bad-ass…. Never had a nickname, though? When I was in high school I was meek and sweet and quiet and always reading so everyone called me Belle (from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast). I like Code Red much better than Belle.


  7. Code red Victoire? Interesting. And very in line with your character.
    I do prefer Victoire, though. With or without red hair.
    I’m back home in Mexico, catching with a zillion mails and stuff. I hope you are still on vacation.
    and enjoying every minute of it.
    Take good care of yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

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