Monday, February 04, 2019

Overheard on the Cancer Ward

So, after having a *ahem* firm discussion with Eeyore* over the phone about why my patient, who's likely perfed his bowel, can't come to the radiology department for STAT portable x-rays, she finally shows up, and the following conversation takes place.

Me (joking while piling on the lead-lined gear, as I'm needed to hold the plate behind the patient for a specific view of the abdomen.):

"Meh, I get more radiation flying on a plane...and I'm almost fifty, I'm done having babies!"

Eeyore (seriously):

"You could always get cancer..."

Really? You don't say?  You realize that this is the oncology unit?! And we're in a room with a patient who was just diagnosed with lymphoma, a tumor of which likely punched a hole in his bowel about an hour ago...? And I'm an oncology nurse, who handles (carefully!) chemotherapy agents almost every shift?

Ugh. Some people.



*AKA the morose overnight x-ray tech

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Stop and Reflect

I roll my eyes as my ass barely hits my chair when the patient in 403 hits the call light. Again. For the millionth time this shift. I need to get my charting done!

I take a deep breath and let out a sigh. We're working without an LNA again this shift. I guess they figure things are "quiet" at night and we can manage without one. We can. Barely and sometimes poorly.

I step into 403 and say,

"Hey Steve, what can I do for you?"

And he answers,

"I just wanted to tell you what a great job you're doing! Sorry for being such a pain.."

Instantly I'm ashamed of myself. Being a patient totally sucks. Especially when you're as sick as Steve. He has no control over anything, except the call light. I get that he is lonely and wants someone to talk to.

I need to do my job, which yes, includes charting (oh, so MUCH charting), but mainly involves patient care.

Patient care isn't just pills and assessments. Patient care also means taking the time to tend to the emotional and mental well-being of the folks entrusted to us. It's a big responsibility. I need to focus on that more and on the minutiae of charting less.

It makes me a better nurse, and a better person. And all of my patients benefit.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Creepy...

That creepy/awkward moment when you realize that your fifty-something patient is calling her *husband* "Dad"...

And calls urination "tinkling".

*shudders*


Monday, July 30, 2018

That moment when...

you wake up in the very quiet, deserted, pitch-black, middle-of-the-night infusion suite and realize you accidentally forgot to actually START THE MOTHERFUCKING TIMER when you began your break (aka "nap").

And now you were off the clock and unavailable for an hour instead of 30 minutes.

Oh, well. Everybody knew where I was and nobody came looking for me.

And seeing as I haven't taken a real break in WEEKS, unit manglement *, I mean MANAGEMENT better not say a word...






*I totally stole this, but I don't remember from whom/where!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Overheard in the hospital...

Me: What would you like to drink to take your meds?

Patient: VODKA!

Me: I'm so sorry...we don't have that...

Patient: Then why did you ask?!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Incentive!

I hate running.

OK, let's be real. It's more like a slow jog. A trot, if you will. But, still. I hate it.

I'm in the middle of doing a Couch-to-5-K program. I guess my thinking is that I can run anywhere. It's an exercise I can do outside or inside on a treadmill, and get some good cardio in, in about thirty minutes.

Plus, I really want to do some 5K's for charity(ies).

The running is a recent development. I signed up at a local gym a few months ago, and it had nothing to do with New Year's Resolutions! I hadn't been getting any exercise at all. Nope, my incentive was one particular patient.

I only took care of her twice, on two different admissions, about a month or so apart.

I am an excellent nurse. I have compassion, empathy, mad skillz, all the good stuff. But even the best nurses can eventually run out of patience (no pun intended). When you have a patient who needs help, that's par for the course. But when said patient apologizes constantly, it can sometimes get annoying. It really depends on the patient. This lady has many health problems (obviously, otherwise she wouldn't be in the hospital!), most of which are directly related to her being obese. I won't go into detail here (HIPAA and all), but will say that she had very frequent, messy bowel movements and was unable to wipe herself. She would get off the toilet and, well, bend over and present. She explained that at home, she had to get in the shower every time she had a BM, because it was the only way she could clean herself. She told me how she used to love having friends over and entertaining, but she just couldn't manage it anymore. And she apologized CONSTANTLY. Incessantly. Irritatingly.

At some point in the last decade or so (she is in her fifties), she must have had the opportunity to think, "Hey, this is going in a direction I don't like! Maybe I should do something about it." But instead she has ended up in the position of needing oxygen even when at rest, and being unable to tie her shoes, cook a meal, or wipe her own butt.

Believe me, I understand being addicted to food. I have been morbidly obese. I was anorectic as a teenager. My weight has yo-yo'ed since puberty. But when I developed gestational diabetes in my late thirties, and knowing the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes increases dramatically when you've had GD, I decided to do something permanent about my weight. I had bariatric surgery, and now can actually see my toes when I look down.

I'm not saying it's the answer to everything. It's not a magic pill. But the gestational diabetes was a wake-up call. Diabetes scares the shit out of me. It affects every organ system. It can dramatically shorten your life-span, and it can lead to inch by inch amputations. Trust me, I've seen it. Scary.

Which is kind of ironic, seeing as I'm an oncology nurse! You'd think I'd mainly be scared of cancer. But nope, it's the diabeetus.

So this patient really lit a fire under me. I thought to myself, "I do NOT want to end up like that! I need to get stamina, strength, and flexibility."

Hence, the gym membership and the "running". Yep, not looking for a beach bod. Don't want to compete in any weight lifting competitions, nor run any marathons. I just want to stay healthy. I don't want to end up like her. And when I'm feeling lazy and don't want to go to the gym, I say her name in my head, it's like a mantra. And then I go. And I run.
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Anyway, the tl;dr version of this incredibly rambling post is: I had a patient who kicked my butt in gear when it comes to exercise, by being a cautionary tale, so to speak.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Someone please explain to me...

how it takes SEVEN people, including three hospital security guards, to get a 78-year-old, 5'6", 125 pound patient with Parkinson's disease and Lewey body dementia, back into his bed and restrained (with LOCKED restraints, I might add)...?

I was sore the next day. Time to hit the gym.

Bonus, I dodged his foot and thus didn't get kicked in the face!

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Awkward.

When your patient describes with relish how he beat the shit out of his wife's boyfriend and broke said boyfriend's nose.

I mean, what do you say to that?

"Great job! Now here's that Tylenol you asked for..."

"So, how much did he bleed, exactly?"

"Pics or it didn't happen!"

Like I said, AWKWARD.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

That feeling when...

your patient copiously and incredibly foul-smellingly shits the bed.

Out of spite.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Is it nerdy of me...

to be a little stoked when I'm introduced to patients and family member as "the Night Nurse?"

In my head I'm thinking, "Fuck, yeah! I'm the NIGHT NURSE, bitches! Superheroes come to ME for help!"

*ahem*

I said good-bye to a long-time patient of ours this morning. We'll see her again for in-patient chemo in a few weeks, but her discharge has been a long time coming, and she's understandably really excited about leaving the hospital.

She wasn't part of my assignment the past week or so, but when I found out last night that she was leaving in the morning, I made a point to go see her before I went home.

I almost cried when she hugged me and thanked me for "being the light in [her] nights."

*sniff*

This is why I'm a nurse. I can get past all the bullshit with charting eating up all our time, and "patient satisfaction" being the be-all, end-all of healthcare, as long as I can help my patients and their family members and make a positive impact on their experience in the hospital.