Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Every breath you take...

I'll be watching you.

To see whether you're actually dead, that is.

I had the honor and privilege of holding a patient's hand while he passed. His family was with him and were bawling. Finally his wife asks, "Is he...dead?"


Eyes open. Pupils fixed. No visible breaths. Palpating his that a pulse?! Shit! Is he or isn't he?!

Where's my stethoscope?! Where it always is, around my neck. Duh. Listening...listening...listening...

You don't know how long a minute really is. You really just don't know...

I hear nothing. Yes, he really is most sincerely dead. I page the doctor and go back to my computer, mentally going over the next steps in this whole process.

About an hour or so later, the charge nurse and I are performing post-mortem care.
P. is trying to grow a pair, because she's always been reluctant to do this very important task on our unit.

As we are carefully washing our deceased patient (and I have it on good authority that I'm NOT WEIRD for talking to the ones who have passed, so there!) I notice a flicker of movement...

P. jumps back with a squawk and I admit, a tiny noise might have escaped my throat.


I belatedly realize that the fancy-schmancy pressure-redistributing mattress doesn't give a flying fuck whether the body that's lying on it is alive or dead, it keeps on with its task of preventing pressure systematically deflating and inflating sections of itself, causing a rippling movement not unlike that of a water bed...incidentally and quite freakishly causing movement to our patient.

P., once she's come down off the ceiling and caught her breath, states, "That's the freakiest thing I've ever seen in my LIFE!"

Oh, may have more experience as a nurse than I, but you ain't seen nuthin' yet!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Putting me on the spot!

As I was bustling around my patient last night, hooking her up to various IVs, etc., she looked me in the eye and asked," Am I gonna die?"

I fumbled for a moment and then spouted these words of wisdom," Well, we're ALL gonna die, eventually..."

I'm surprised she didn't punch me in the face.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

I knew exactly what she meant to say.

I have a patient with expressive aphasia. When I walked into her room this morning, the very first thing she said, while looking into my face with a huge smile, was

"Happy Birthday!"

I replied,

"Happy Mother's Day to you, too, Iris!"

What a wonderful way to start a shift!