Don't Curse the Nurse!

Sharing support with stories & humor

Pediatric nurses > the rest of us RNs’

Now I know, I really, really know, I could never be a pediatric nurse.

raindrop   Here’s the reason why:

I knew before I met her she had Cerebral palsy. Her date of birth placed her at twenty-four, but since I knew that 30-40% of people with CP have some degrees of developmental delay, her cognitive functioning would be below the average for someone of her age. She was having dental work under LMAC (that means anesthesia wouldn’t have to put a tube down her throat). You tie it all together and what you have is a pediatric case, the only exception being the patient has the BMI of an average adult.

But I’m digressing here – getting carried away with facts when what I want to do stay open- and share.

So, I’ll start by calling her Beth.

Beth arrived in a wheelchair. With her Dad’s help, she could stand, pivot, and move her right arm enough so Mom could change her into a surgical gown.

Dora the Explorer sat snugly under her right arm.  Beth’s affect was that of a six year old.

She smiled and giggled when I said “Mom, Dad, you also have to wear gowns and funny blue hats!” Beth winced when the blood pressure cuff tightened, and when I asked her if she was okay, she shook her head up and down and said “I’m a big girl.”

Then I had to start her IV.

Her father held her left arm straight for me and I went for the forearm. No luck. People with CP have as a result of the disorder, low muscle tone. Veins sit low, not close to the surface

Beth started whimpering at this point. We three were trying to sooth her, giving her encouragement. Her Dad, apparently used to this experience, was gently turning her arm around. He knew I had to find a spot. And I did, right on the inside of her wrist – one of the most sensitive places to start an IV.

Beth’s whimpering turned into crying. She wasn’t  trying to jerk her arm away. She was just lying there crying.  Total Submission.

I had a lump in my throat when I started with some lidocaine under her skin. Then I made the mistake of looking at her. She looked back with pure panic in her eyes. My chest started to hurt (and it wasn’t my arrhythmia).

Now I’m sitting there trying to hold back my own tears. I felt nothing but guilt. There was no this is for your own good – I’m a nurse doing my job kind of feeling. I couldn’t separate. For a moment I froze. I remember thinking I can’t do this to her.

I got the IV on the second try and with some Versed in her IV, Beth got smiley and sleepy.

I hear people say all the time “Nurses are special”. Maybe we are. But pediatric nurses…



Weighing on my mind

scale While taking a pre-op patient down the hall this morning to get her weight, she mentioned that she told no one about what she was doing. I dwelled on her comment then mused about a fellow blogger’s recent post on society’s definition of beauty.

Now, I do want to preface this post by stating that I am not condoning a total disregard for a conscientious attitude about healthy living. Musculoskeletal and cardiovascular diseases are aggravated by excess weight and a diet high in cholesterol and fine sugars. However, being conscientious (I love the word), won’t bring you anywhere close to looking like Heidi Klum or the barely covered model on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Genetics, people. Genetics.

Back to how this relates to my morning with my pre-op patient (the one who’s weight I needed – needed because she was having a gastric bypass and we have to have a baseline weight).

Where is our 30×30 inch floor scale that takes up to 500 lbs.  It’s in Bay 14 — the same bay where we keep a small linen cart, extra wheelchairs, and IV poles. In the back. In a corner. With a quiet patient whose head is down, the walk to the scale always feels like a shameful secret. And I don’t want them to feel that way.

You have to move everything out of the bay before the patient arrives so they can even get to the scale. And, you pull it out from the corner — pull it out from the wall so your patient is not nose to nose with industrial grade beige wall paper. It’s embarrassing, the arrangement for where this scale is. If we weren’t so limited on space…anyhow..

I do my best and cheer my patient on for all the positive changes to come.

And I’m thinking to myself, while we at the same time elevate the waif-like figures making thousands of dollars for one photograph on an exotic beach, can we say that we support our friends and family just trying to get a little healthier.   So…

Next time your diabetic friend has a birthday, get them one of those cool Edible Arrangements with the flower shaped fruit instead of cupcakes. Someone you know walking every Tuesday night? For-go the idea of a Saturday night dinner out and offer to walk with them.

I sincerely believe that the majority try to make lifestyle changes quietly because to announce somehow implies that they don’t appreciate what they already have in life or don’t know if they will be taken seriously.  And when social events bring on temptations, we backslide. I say we because I’ve done it, over and over again. To decline dessert separates you from the group.

Getting on a scale shouldn’t be an obsession.

And walking toward a scale shouldn’t feel like a death march.



P.S. My patient recovered nicely.


Merci Beaucoup

This is my two year anniversary and I want to say a big THANK YOU to my WordPress family!

You are such an incredible group of people with diverse opinions, talents, and personalities that far surpassed what I expected to find when I began posting. The blog began as a practice in writing. Now it’s a way of staying connected to people that value expression and teach me to value my own voice.

I think it was Hemingway that said “Writing is easy. All you have to do is sit down and bleed.”

I’m not always bleeding when I post and that’s a good thing.

Thanks again.


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