Don't Curse the Nurse!

Sharing support with stories & humor

Don ‘t Quote Me

“Just throw it in the bag.”

He had changed and was lying on the stretcher, covered up, hands behind his head, a casual smile on his face. His prosthetic stood in the small space between the stretcher and chairs. And by that, it stood between me and his IV pole.

Picking it up, I placed the casted form on the chair stepped past it, and hung his pre-op antibiotic. Turning, I grazed the chair with my knee and the prosthetic slid to the floor. It landed with a thud.

I took a quick breath in. He laughed.

“Don’t worry,” he said.

I gave him a wry smile. “You know, to me, it’s no different than if you had fallen.”

With a smile so big it showed his teeth, he responded, “Man is more than the sum of his parts!”

A quote by Martha Graham came to mind.

“A famous dancer once said ‘The body is a sacred garment’”

His face dropped.

“Oh goodness honey, you’ve gotten all serious on me.”

I blushed while taking his prosthesis and putting in a labeled bag next to his other things. Then a call light went off and pulled me away for ten minutes.

I heard that his surgeon was arriving early so I stepped to the keyboard to quickly enter his vitals and pre op med orders.

“Susan, I gotta use the restroom, like fast.”

A natural reflex, I lowered the bed while at the same time lowering his side rail.

“Hon, I don’t have a leg to stand on!!

I started to blubber apologies, but he cut me short with “I win. I win. Sacred garment…phhewwy!”

He was kind enough to not laugh too long at my expense!

Lesson learned. I will never quote when taking care of a patient!

 

3 Comments »

For All the Right Reasons

selfie choice

 

I photo bombed a patient trying to take a “selfie”, but it was for all the right reasons.

Now, I know what you’re thinking…there is no good reason to photobomb someone taking a “selfie”, but hospital selfies different. Let me explain.

First, anybody in a hospital gown, sans make-up or hair done, and lying in a bed, is unlikely to want their photo taken.

The process normally starts with the family or friends sitting around and wanting to lighten the mood. Conversation has come to a lull. The reality of why they are there is sobering, as sobering as all the risks listed on an anesthesia consent form. They all start commenting on the amazing beauty of the required blue net hair covering and the air-conditioned design on the back of the gown. There is deference to comments by the patient. She or he is the one actually going through the event of having a tube maneuvered down their throat and incisions made on their abdomen or other regions. The friends and family will get a one shot photo –op. Then the patient will get in on the ludicrous humor of it all and offer up their own choreographed photo for the people not in attendance; the Facebook and Instagram crowd

If I see a patient shrivel up when a visitor pulls out a camera, I’ll shake my head, give a halfhearted smile, and tell them everyone’s getting IVs if I hear a click or see a flash. I don’t have to do this often.

Now yesterday…my patient was alone.

She’d been dropped off – to be picked up at an estimated time based on her surgery schedule. She was quiet when she first arrived, but easily drawn into conversation. We had a good rapport while I listened to lung sounds, accessed a vein for her IV, and explained the pre-op medications.

It was when I stepped back to the wall mounted computer at the bay entrance that I noticed something.

Her smile had dropped. She fidgeted with the T.V — changed channels then turned it off. Reaching for the next mode of entertainment, I saw she now had her camera in her hand. All this time, I am filling in screens and toggling to the flow sheet.

I’d stepped over to print out a strip from the EKG monitor when she was angling the camera to take her selfie. It was easy to see that she wasn’t into it. There was no mock lip pursing or raised eyebrow. She hesitated then put the phone down. She picked up the phone twice but never smiled.

I don’t know what came over me, but the third time she picked up the phone and set it eight inches from her face, I stuck my mug in there right next to hers and said “You got this!” She took two photos.

Her laugh made my day.

 

16 Comments »

Oxygen

4/26/2015 11:55 a.m. pen

I must really care about my writing because as the plane ascends and hits a rough patch, I wonder how I’m supposed to be able to reach overhead for the oxygen without losing my pen and paper.

If I lose my pen, my special writing pen, I will demand special permission to get up and seek it out. I will crawl down the twenty-four inch wide aisle military style, on my belly, until I find my precious scepter of creativity. Nothing will stop me — the risk of being videoed and YouTubed — no biggy. I’m wearing my good jeans, the ones that make everything look firm.  My face will be obscured.

And if the event is investigated, if they kick me off the plane, I will go, but not quietly.

I will be shouting the praises of my Pilot G-2 .035 fine point pen. Commercial endorsements will be in my future. I’ll make loads of money – pull back to part time work — write the next great American novel!

4/26/2015 11:57 a.m.

The turbulence stopped. No dramatic drop of disposable face masks.

Good.

Shoot. What was I going to put down next?

6 Comments »

Find It Somewhere

ImageI am in a dark place about work, and to have any sense of honesty with my blog, I should share that.

.

So anyway… there is humor if you look hard, or have a coworker determined to have fun at work, JCAHO be damned!

See below:

Last week, a coworker, Robin, told me what I’d call a “funny”. I was hearing this second hand and presuming the scene played out like this:

“Nurse, I need a urinal.”

“O.K…( hands him the urinal)…let me pull the curtain.”

A minute passes.

“Nurse, I have a problem.”

“Yes” She peeks around the corner of the curtain.

“It’s too big.”

You know, Robin shared this exchange with me and she and I had a sincere debate as to whether he was referring to the urinal or the body organ he had to place inside it.

2 Comments »

The Top Ten Things They Don’t Tell You in Nursing School

comicstrip101

What memories from nursing school stick with you ?

Two coworkers and I were talking the other day and laughing over a shared experience of having an instructor so militant in her style that I confessed to being left in tears more than once.

She taught me much, but there were some things I had to learn the hard way.

Below is a list that includes input from coworkers. Please add to it and make some new nurse’s life a little easier.

1. All patients lie. Pam, Elaine, Robin,Suzanne, Janet, and several others.

2. No matter how good you are, guilt is inevitable. Suzanne

3. Doctors will yell at you whether you are right or wrong.

4. Trust your gut. Cindy

5. “Estoy teniendo contracciones ” means, um, “The baby is coming.”

6. If the ER tells you the patient you are getting is “AJU”, it means “All jacked up”.

7. You will see much that textbooks can’t explain. Cindy

8. Nurses often eat their young. Stay alert.

9. Don’t feel bad about stealing saltines from the patients trays, it’s your lunch. Robin

10. You will cry, but it won’t be because you slipped in a puddle of urine, it’s more likely to be because you looked in the eyes of a terminal patients and knew they really, really weren’t ready to go.

4 Comments »

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