Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Surrounded: The First in a Series

Nothing has changed.
Not for the patients and not for the nurses.
Pity the lowly night nurse surrounded by the emotionally starved.

1. TURN EVERY 2 HOURS: Nice idea but this patient weighs 400 pounds and I'm alone here;

I'm 58 years old; hypertensive and not visiting my own doc because I'm pretty sure that my metabolic syndrome has turned into something else and I know what happens then. I see it all the time and I'm not letting it happen to me.
Time ravages us all. I'm going to live, live, live 'til I die.

2. DROPLET PRECAUTIONS: Gown, glove, mask, sweat. 40 minutes later emerge, scrub and move to:

3. SMALL BOWEL OBSTRUCTION: MD order reads 'insert NG tube' not a living chance, bub.
This patient is in a 2 bed room, its 2AM and I'm not going to have him gagging and crying and terrifying the guy in the next bed. I'll medicate him for pain and nausea and I'll reek compassion all over him but someone else at some other time is going to perpetrate this particular torture.

4. NEXT BED: TRANSFER FROM TELE: ADMITTED FOR CHEST PAIN: 50 y/o male confronting mortality for the first time. Scared and angry. Going home in the morning with an appointment to see a cardiologist.

5. ABSCESS 2 TO IVDA: CONTACT PRECAUTIONS: Gown, glove, administer pain med every 30 minutes. 5 minutes later, emerge, scrub, return in 25 minutes. This is the person I'm sorriest for. Aside from antibiotics and pain medication there is no help for him here.

Answer call bells, document, cover the institution's ass, steal crackers so you don't faint. Refrain from strangling the next patient on the list when she says: "the bed is wet--I didn't want to call you because I knew you were busy."
This is an easy night--business as usual.
No wonder there's a shortage.
Next is the series: HELL IS OTHER NURSES

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