Don't Curse the Nurse!

Sharing support with stories & humor

Measure twice. Cut once.

on April 26, 2018

“No. I’m not sure you should.” I looked her square in the eye, giving her the I’m serious look.

Her smile got bigger , dozens of creased lines surrounded her eyes. She’d put eye shadow and mascara for the occasion.

“O.K. This EKG is done. I’ll be right back – need to show it to Anesthesia.”

” I’ll stay here.” She plopped her arms down over her belly and sighed.

I returned with the report signed, hearing on the way back that todays surgeries, more complicated than expected, continued to darken her surgeon’s mood.

“Okay. He should be out soon.”

She was my fourth patient, by far the most spirited, and with an amazing attitude about the decision to have both knees replaced at the same time.

The doors between our department and OR swung open and here he came, scrubs wrinkled so much he looked like he’d slept in them for three days. His jaw slack, his shoulders down, I felt some empathy usually only reserved for patients. I stepped quickly to the bay. I had one chance to make sure he signed everything on the chart.

“Okay. You ready? Your up next. We’re doing both knees so I don’t need to use this skin marker on either leg. Any questions?”

She twisted her mouth then opened it slowly before speaking.  I took a deep breath in.

I am not responsible for everything the patients say. I am not responsible for everything the patients say.

“No, but I want to give you some advise young man.”

He raised his eyebrows. “And that is…?”

“Measure twice. Cut once. Advise we quilters give each other. You could use it too.”

My eyes bobbed back and forth between the two of them. She said it so matter of fact.

He cocked his head then dropped his eyes down for a moment.

Then he let out the biggest laugh.

“Darlin’ you just made my day!”




9 responses to “Measure twice. Cut once.

  1. Karen B says:

    I love this!



  2. Jim says:

    you have an interesting vocation 🙂

  3. Beth says:

    And what would happen if the unmeasured cut were to them?

    • Susan says:

      Aahh… you know, I always enjoy the playful banter some patients demonstrate, and I should have been more trusting that whatever zingers she wanted to toss out would be volleyed back.
      I also realize the patients are sometimes unaware of how long the surgeons have already been in the OR suite, how challenging their last case might have been, and how they can misinterpret and patient wanting to bond via playful dialogue.

      Beth, I hope you and your family are well. I always appreciate your comments and support!

      • Beth says:

        I have recommended your blog to a medical student from Australia who seems to lack confidence.

  4. Beth says:

    It took me a while to find the link again. I hope you can find a reason to help him somewhat.

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