Don't Curse the Nurse!

Sharing support with stories & humor

Not a Match Made in Heaven

on November 14, 2016

timer

Great! She’s on the way up and my ever so efficient coworker has this Bay completely set up! Consents, IV, meds, skin prep and we’re ready.

I can probably do more than just get her comfortable in bed. I’ll put her on monitors before ‘Bunny’ returns from lunch – maybe pop in the IV for her. I am always eternally grateful for having a coworker willing to come in at 0530.

Three minutes later, she rolled down the hallway, a quiet spouse behind her, she — on her cell phone while maneuvering her wheelchair with the other hand.

“Hi.” I extended my hand to her spouse / significant other while darting my eyes back and forth between she and him. Silly me — thought the eye contact alone would have triggered her to finish up the phone call. I pushed the stretcher toward the wall, moved chairs back, and made room for her to roll into the bay.

Now she’s off the phone, and she’s taking over.

“MycellphonewasstolenaweekagoandIhaven’thadonetouseI’minsomuchpainthat’swhyittooksolongtogethereandwhenIgotthemessagesIcouldn’tgetbacktoyouguys…”

I had to interrupt. Her surgeon would be out to meet her in less than twenty minutes. She wasn’t even in bed. “Let me help you get into bed.”

“I didn’t need anything moved.”

She stressed the word ‘need’, as if I had insulted her with my actions. Okay. “So sorry, just wanted to make it easier for you to transfer to the bed. Or do you need assistance?”

“No, no. I’ve got it. I just can’t put any weight on my leg.” She slurred her words — must be tired, I though.

I stood quietly within a foot of her while she stood, shoved the wheelchair away, stepped over to the bed, and sat down on top of her laid out gown.

“SoletmeexplainboutthisweekandgeezmylegitjusthurtssobadandI’vebeeninahotelandhimhe’suselessnothelpingmeyouknowhegotmefrommyfriendshouseandtookmewithoutgettinmystuff…”

She had two overstuffed backpacks with her.

“Let me get you a blanket while you change.”

‘Bunny’ was coming out of the bathroom and as I walked toward the blanket warmer, I quickly calculated what her reaction was going to be with having a patient that wanted to talk ten times more than she wanted to get ready, or accept help getting ready for surgery.

“Oh, Susan, Is my patient here? I’ll take over.”

I had visions of ‘Bunny’ assessing the situation, getting that steely military ‘we gotta get moving here’ groove of hers going and the highly sensitive and chatty patient misunderstanding what our role was in the pre –op area.

Someone was going to go down. It could be either one of them.

‘Bunny’ was tough when she needed to be, but also reassuring to her patients and great about explaining exactly what they could expect after surgery.

The patient I had just met — there was pent up energy permeating from her in all directions. She constantly picked up the phone. I struggled just to get her to promise to get in a gown while I was gone. I had never seen ‘Bunny’ get flustered, but this patient might be the one that does it. Or, my coworker would lay down the law and this patient would let loose on her.

“Uh, no, that’s okay. I’ll finish getting the patient ready.” ‘Bunny’s’ no slacker — doesn’t want to do less than anyone else.

“No, Susan. I’ll finish. I was supposed to check her in when she got her.”

“No, really, you just came back from lunch. It’s a chance to get caught up on charting.”

She gave me a sly grin, read me like a book, and said,

“Who you protecting, me or her?”

 

Sometimes we’re not a good match with our patients. Nurses are as unique as the patients are.

Without hesitating, I gave her the best reply I could.

“Both of you.”

And with that, I pick up the blanket, returned to the bay, and pulled the curtain partway back to see my patient in her street clothes.

And on the phone.

 


9 responses to “Not a Match Made in Heaven

  1. K Burrowsfield says:

    I love how you “show” the patient’s rapid speech. That would be me — everyday! Sigh:)

    Karen

    >

  2. DM says:

    I felt the tension from here 🙂 Your account sucked me in. Good writing! DM

  3. Christy says:

    I can’t imagine the patience it takes to deal with a patient who is so non compliant. I love your heart and understanding care for your co-worker in this story. Good writing!

    • Susan says:

      We each bring different strengths to our work. I think this patient had a lot going on. A different time, a different place…I’d be offering an ear 🙂

  4. Ellen Hawley says:

    Maybe the surgeon could perform a phonectomy.

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