Don't Curse the Nurse!

Sharing support with stories & humor

Who Doesn’t Love a Clean Shave?

clipThis is Mr. Clippy. He’s our new mascot. He’s a sticker. And if you come see us for surgery on any part of your body that has hair on it, he will be at the end of your stretcher right next to your name, which sits over your surgeon’s name (the two separated by a line).

Mr. Clippy achieved stardom in efforts to improve the already pretty good score we have for keeping post-surgical site infections to a minimum. We are reducing the “hair clipping” done in the OR. We already do most of it in pre-op. Now we do more.

This is important.  I am in no way attempting to de- emphasize the goal here. Hospitals, ironically, are the places most filled with bacteria, some harmless, some deadly if they reach the bloodstream.

I don’t have a problem with visual cues. As a matter of fact, I love them!

Here’s what makes my eye twitch.

He’s a cartoon character. The raised eyebrows, the large head, and the scissors he’s flailing in the air (We don’t use scissors, by the way) — he looks demonic. As if having some nurse using electric clippers only inches above your manhood where that hernia is bulging out doesn’t provoke enough anxiety. For the women, it’s the defeminizing buzz of the clippers that can be heard twelve feet away, seriously, everyone knows the patient in Bay 6 is getting something shaved.

But, no one should worry.

They’re safety clippers. And when we’re done, we use 2 inch wide pieces of wide medical tape to effectively remove the fallen hair.  And you thought you wouldn’t get spa treatment!Glamour at it’s fines.

Now that I think about it, there’s nothing aesthetic about using tape to remove hair from a surgical site in pre-op, so I’m going to cut  him some slack ( pun intended) and be nice to Mr. Clippy for one month.

Then I’m going to start doodling on the stickers.

 

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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.

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