Don't Curse the Nurse!

Sharing support with stories & humor

Versed, Amnesia, and Patients Determined to Tease You until They’re Discharged

Even though I was calling him from the waiting room at 5:30 in the morning, he strode back toward the pre-op area with an enthusiasm uncanny for most of our early morning patients.

With my introduction complete and his date of birth confirmed by checking his armband, I gave my first instruction.

” Here’s a bag to place your things, socks to keep your feet warm, the required blue net cap for entering the OR, and your gown.”

” Alrighty” he said.”

” You can keep your boxers on, but your undershirt needs to come off with your other clothes.”

” But why not my boxers ?”

” Oh Sir, your surgery is on your hand. Wearing them won’t interfere with surgery.”

” But, I want to take them off.”

” Ah, okay. I’m just saying that it’s not required.”

“Well, should I or should I not?”

I saw the corners of his mouth turned up and a twinkle in his eyes.

” That’s totally up to you.”

“But, what do you think?”

Now he had a full fledged grin going on.

” It’s up to you” I said with a smile hard to stifle. ” I’m pulling the curtain shut so you can change.”

In short time, the anesthesiologist arrived and interviewed him. I started his IV. Anesthetists arrived and needed their med boxes filled – I stepped away to help them.

Then the OR team came for my chirpy guy. The first thing he said to them was that I wouldn’t let him take his underwear off. The anesthetist gave him some Versed ( similar to Valium) – a medicine known to cause some amnesia. Then they all left for the OR.

An hour and a half later, I moved to help in the recovery room.

In rolls my pre-op patient ( now post surgery), left hand bandaged, head of bed elevated, eyes open, sleepy looking, but awake all the same. He sees me approaching to get report from the OR team. He nods to me. Then he turns to the OR circulating RN.

” See her, she wouldn’t let me take my underwear off.”

And, then that mischievous grin.

Oh brother. Guess that side effect of Versed doesn’t work on everyone!



“Why are you not married?”

He was having a hernia repair.

The question caught me off guard. I’d said nothing about my personal statistics; asked him how he slept last night being that he had to arrive at our center at 7:00 am, reminded him he’d have lifting restrictions after surgery until cleared by his surgeon.

IV port wiped with an alcohol pad and Zofran given, I stepped back.

One of those rare moments I don’t have a response for a patient. Choices…

“I don’t know.”

I won’t settle.”

Life is too short to chase people.”

I’m busy living large.”

It’s not in my hands.”

They’re all good answers.

But it’s not about me.

When your on the clock it’s not about you.

But still, he deserved a reply. To not answer would be rude.

“Brad’s in the middle of making a movie. It’s delaying the courtship.”


Patients say the darndest things!

“What a nice heroin thump.”

I’m not sure I heard him right.

“I’m sorry. What?”

“You know, like the drug addict on any crime show or movie, the way you flicked my arm before you wiped that alcohol and wrapped the tourniquet … you did it perfect.”


“The way they flick the skin with their index finger, come on, you know!”

There’s a compliment in that statement, I guess, but I don’t want to retrieve it. I did laugh a genuine laugh.

“Sir, I’m going to remember this moment.”

He admitted to watching way too much T .V.

And his responding laugh was just as genuine.


Working with Smurfs

Fun moment between me and a patient this morning- Did the best I could to jot it down so I could share !

I’m facing her; putting on her monitors. She’s looking in the periphery behind me.

She says, “Did you notice that your Anesthesia doctors look like Smurfs?”

I turn and glance. “Um, what do you mean?” As soon as I say it, I understood what she was referring to. It was the designated color of their agency scrubs. The periwinkle blue matched the skin tone of the comic characters perfectly.

I place the last lead. “Well, they’re really smart Smurfs.”

She countered with, “You know Smurfs love to eat Sasparilla.”

Me, “Ours eat lazy nurses.”

She, “But I see they’re not wearing hats.”

Me, “They put a new one on every time they go back through that door on the corner.”

She, “They put on Phrygian hats?”

I pause. She’s got me there.

She. “The cartoon, it’s based on an old Belgian story. My dad was an illustrator. He talked about cartoons a lot. That’s what the hats were called.”

She had me working parts of my brain usually allowed to rest during work hours. I printed out her EKG and started to step away from the stretcher.

“Susan, who’s the Smurf coming this way?”

“That’s Papa Smurf. You don’t get to leave the pre-op mushroom until you speak with him.”
She raised her eyebrows and gave me a mischievous grin .

My last words: “He was on call last night. Don’t tell him he looks like a Smurf.”


My First ODD Patient

I had a patient last week that wouldn’t listen to anything I asked him to do.

“Sir, Everything needs to come off. Here’s your gown.”

Five minute later he is in bed with a bracelet, two rings, and baseball cap still on.

“Did you take the enema at home like your surgeon ordered at your pre- op visit?”

“No” He looks at me like I’m crazy to have asked him this. He had an anal fissure, possible fistula. I gave him a break on that one and took care of it.

Twenty minutes later.

“Hey nurse, I need to use the bathroom.”

“Sure,” I say. Let me help you with the side rail and your IV. Just remember to come right back here.”

Ten minutes later I am down the hall where the bathroom is and see him off to my right, sitting with several people and chatting up a storm. I approach him and explain that we need him to stay in his stretcher. (I also point out that he has a family member back by his bed. His response sounded more like a growl.

“I’ll be back when I’m ready.”

I found his diagnosis to be quite complementary with his personality.

Image via

Oppositional Defiant Disorder is considered by the American Psychiatric Association as being a mental condition that starts in the preschool years and can go into the teen years.

I guess some people never get treatment.


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