Monday, November 5, 2007

Tales from work, or Yes, I do have a life outside of watching reality television

There is the stereotype that nurses are subjected to a lot of poop. So far, that really hasn't been my experience. Until yesterday. I won't go into details, because I love you all to much, but yesterday I saw far too much poop for my liking. Enough said.

Otherwise, work is going ok. I still feel overwhelmed with the amount of information I'm expected to know, and still can't always take all the little details and extrapolate them all into the big picture. But I'm getting much better with the details, which for now is progress enough. Also it has been suggested to me that I am a "people person". Who knew? Maybe I am just a pushover or something, but patients that are mean to everyone don't give me any problems at all. Yesterday a doctor with about eight med students in tow huffed over to me and said "Are you the nurse for this patient? She is completely non-responsive, she won't even answer simple questions! What is wrong with her?" And I got the extreme satisfaction of looking her square in the eye and said "She is tired, and doesn't want to talk to you." Don't get me wrong, I work with a lot of fantastic doctors, and even if the med students sometimes exude more fear than I do, well, that is all part of learning and I think they do a great job. But sometimes they just get so caught up in the guts and glory that they forget there is a real person attached to the disease who might object to being rounded on by multiple teams and asked the same questions over and over and over again.

On the other hand, I've gotten attached to another patient, a woman with cancer that has caused a wide array of other problems. For a while it seemed like she was getting better, but now it is weeks later and she is struggling. She has had other nurses assigned to her the last few shifts I've worked, but I try and stick my head in the door before I go to say hi. She is such a sweetheart, but it is all wearing on her. I just hold her hand for a minute, and try to make her smile. I wish there was something I could say to make things better.

Oh, and also yesterday I got to try my hand at being Mean Nurse. I had another patient who was having a rough day, perhaps a reaction to some medications, but she was very tired and wanted to rest, but was expecting a lot of visitors. She couldn't bring herself to tell me not to allow her family to visit, but she kept dropping hints. So when the family arrived and started trying to force her to get up and walk, or to eat more of her lunch - all with the best of intentions mind you - I got to step in and save her and kick them all out. Perhaps it was less of a stern body slam out the door, and more of a firm encouragement with a smile, but still, for me that is pretty darn Mean. ::grin:: The patient rested quietly for the rest of the afternoon, and later that evening was feeling much better, and though she never mentioned her family she kept thanking me for allowing her to rest and get better. She was delightful, and I'm sure she will be gone before I get back to the floor on Friday.

And daylight savings rocks. Besides the extra hour of much needed sleep, it is so much nicer going to work with a little bit of sunshine. It probably won't last much longer, but I'll cherish it while it lasts.


  1. Oh Robb, I hate to tell ya, but there's a LOT of poop in your future. Amongst other disgusting things....

    I had a patient Friday that I've had on and off for the past year (yes, year). He held my hand and teared up and said, "I'm just so tired of being sick. I just don't think I can go on." What do you say at a time like that? I've never been chronically ill for a year with no signs of getting better (or even figuring out what's making me sick in the first place). I finally got him a PCA (with some help from the charge RN)and that (besides holding his hand) was the best I could do for him.

    Sometimes, being a nurse breaks my heart. Bring on the poop. That I can deal with.

  2. Ok, so you said that you had to get all "Mean Nurse" on some people and I immediately had this image of you walking up to them and going "GRRRR." I just had to share that with you, that is all..

    We love and want to come visit this spring.