Don't Curse the Nurse!

Sharing support with stories & humor

The Things You Hear

Kudos to the son figuring out a way to explain to his eighty-six year old father the prostate surgery scheduled for him:

“Dad, the doctor’s going to fix your undercarriage.”

 … the CRNA overhead saying,

“My grandmother was a nurse in the ‘40’s’, wore a cap, and had a cape…told me she was a superhero. That’s when I picked my profession.”

 And the I.T. guy who, by way of joke, told us late in the day …

Are my test results back?” sounds just like “Are my testicles black?” if spoken under a breathing mask.


Well, the third one… Joint Commission isn’t coming until January. We’ve got time to get that guy under control.


Everyone Should Get At Least One

“Susan, there’s a limit of two visitors per patient.”

I didn’t know that. I’m so naïve sometimes. I thought whoever could fit into the pre-op bay was okay as long as I was doing my job and getting the patient ready. The more, the merrier.

“Okay” I quietly said to the passing peer. “Give me a few minutes to get everyone back to the waiting room.”

If the visitor had a sour disposition or a look of doom and gloom that was resulting in my patient getting fidgety, I’d find a sweet way to send that person off for coffee. Somewhere around here, we have a few leftover Starbucks Buy-one-get-one free cards. Or I’d point out the value of them getting breakfast under their belt.

The family in front of me, not the case. They were nothing short of entertaining, and the important thing was that they were entertaining the patient, keeping his mind away from the reality that, in less than thirty minutes, his surgeon was going to make three little incisions in his belly to fix his abdominal hernia. The atmosphere in this bay was similar to that of a tailgate party.

I squeezed past my patient’s two younger brothers and his next door neighbor in order to give him his IV Dexamethasone.

“Hey, did you know we named it?!”

The brothers said this almost in unison.

“Huh?” I missed something.

“We named Kevin’s* hernia. We’ve been calling it Prudence. Get it? Protrusion – Prudence the protrusion. We read one of his reports and kept seeing the word over and over.” They both reached over to rub Kevin’s* belly. He laughed. Then he farted. The laughter escalated.

People walking by slowed. This was not your usual family attendance for someone having surgery. A teeny part of me wanted to squelch the shenanigans.

‘Miss Susan, there’s more of us in the waiting room. Can they come back?”

Gosh, I hated saying no, and almost as if someone read my mind, the OR nurse and anesthetist showed up.

“It’s time.” They announced.

I was surprised by the degree of panic I had that the whole family wasn’t with Kevin* and turned to the OR nurse standing next to me. Not getting to say good-bye is a soft spot for me.

The OR nurse had heard the request and had a simple solution.

“No problem, we’ll go out the front door past the small waiting room so everyone can say “Bye” then go left toward the OR.”

I gave Kevin a sedative in his IV, disconnected the wires from the monitor, and reminded the visiting brothers to herd everyone else to the large waiting room once Kevin* left pre-op.

I stepped back so Kevin could be wheeled out of the bay. The brothers followed suit and jogged over to the area set aside for family. The foot of Kevin’s stretcher was pushed to the right and I subconsciously turned my head in the same direction. Kevin, still awake, had a loopy grin on his face.

In front of me, in a fashion similar to a wedding reception line, six people stood side by side, all looking on expectantly as Kevin was rolled toward them. Each held out their left arm, shoulder level, palm sideways, and greeted Kevin with a high five as he passed.

It was a Go-kick-Some -Ass kind of high five. No one showed their fear. It was all “You got this” kind of vibe.

I’ve had a lot of joyous moments in my life. This one is added to the list. I’ve never had so much fun sending someone off to surgery.

We should make this kind of exit from pre-op mandatory.


Illustrated by Hannah

A creative space for sketches and canvass prints. Lover of fine liner doodles.


Pen to paper.

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