Don't Curse the Nurse!

Sharing support with stories & humor

What Are You Afraid of?

0630 is “Go” time.

My IV bags are popped, consents are neatly stacked, and labs are printed and placed on charts.

Hyped up on all the sugar from a pastry and a Decaf with three tablespoons of sugar, I call my first patient back. He ambles toward me, late forty’s, average weight, antalgic gait – back pain can’t be too bad this morning. It is early.

Why the funny look on his face?

“Hi. I’m going to help you get ready.”

He sat on the edge of the stretcher, looked at me with woeful eyes and said, “I’m a little nauseous.”

“Sir, you just lay down right there. Go ahead. Don’t worry about your sneakers. Put your feet up on the bed. I’ll get you a cool washcloth.”

I included a stop to the clean supply room for an emesis pain.

He, I’m going to call him Joe, had sat up again and was looking around while talking to me at the same time.

“Miss, I have a needle phobia. It’s embarrassing, but I like pass out and stuff.”

Hmm, so I figure I gotta take my time. Make him feel comfortable. And, get the IV on the first stick.

I put Joe’s side rails up, placed the blood pressure on his arm and lowered the head of the bed until it was almost flat.

Anesthesia staff milled around, reviewing charts, interviewing patients. They were all within earshot. I charted until there was nothing else I could chart. My next step was to keep Joe distracted as I opened the IV kit.

“Joe, talk to me. About anything.”

Based on his response, he seemed more relaxed.

“Ah, let’s just get this over with.”

I made eye contact with him one last time before putting the tourniquet on.

“O.K. I’ll be real careful.”

I had just threaded the catheter off the needle and into a hand vein when I heard him say, “Oh, here we go.”

I look up to see that Joe’s face has gone white, and to my left, his heart rate going down quickly.


I connect his IV, open the fluids wide, drop the head of the bed and with my feet planted firmly, lean toward the entrance of the bay.

“Dr. C________, I need you in this bay. Now.”

In less than ten seconds she was at the head of the bed, her thumbs under his jaw, opening his airway.

I lassoed the nasal cannula around his head and set the dial–a- flow to 8 liters of oxygen a minute. As I was reaching for the flow meter, his EKG reading was inches from my face.

There was only one QRS wave on the screen.

If the heart rate was 60, there would have been five of them.


Phobias are real.


Sharing is Caring


Image via

Dear Facebook, BlogHer, and WordPress friends.

Not only am I grateful for the people that follow my blog, I am tickled that I get to peek into the lives of those that are moving through this world on a path oh so different than mine. They are artists, crazy busy moms, journalists, writers, and so on.

Below are two posts from two wonderful physicians that don’t hold back when it comes to sharing. Please read on. I think you’ll enjoy them.


Nurses – Thick as Thieves?!


My stethoscope has been stolen.

I looked everywhere, in drawers, behind monitors, on top of cabinets, in our break room, even went to PACU to see if it “floated” over there. I quizzed everyone in a Mafia-like way about my ever so loved work toy.

No luck. It’s really gone.

Someone needed or wanted it badly, my dark green $59 Littman stethoscope, the gift I gave myself when I got my last pay raise. And yes, I’d been told more than once that I should try to remember to lock it in my locker, but here’s the kicker. Our unit is locked at 7 pm.

There is a chest pain clinic attached to us, and the entrance to it, its badge coded. So, you have to be a nurse, or security, in order to get in. The thief is most likely a nurse.

I had an allergy band with my name on it wrapped around the Y connection of the scope. I printed very neatly. I always placed it on the counter in front of our nurses’ station. I expected that it would be used by others during the day. But this, this makes me so #%$@* angry!

Whoever you are, you better be using it and using it right! Listen under the gown, not over it; posterior and anterior, don’t forget bowel sounds, fistula graft checks. You’ve got a pediatric patient – turn it around.

I am going to stay in my bubble and think that you needed this stethoscope really badly, that’s why you took it, not because you wanted it as a trinket, it matched your scrubs, or something silly like that. My attachment to it was because I like my work and want to be thorough, not because I have some juvenile notion that a stethoscope around my neck makes me look cool. They’re bulky and my pockets are big enough to carry it comfortably. It wasn’t an image thing.

I’m going to buy a new stethoscope. This one will have my name engraved on it.

And I’m going to sit it on the desk counter at the end of every day.

Go ahead.

I dare you.

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