Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Work has been CRAZY! Let me take you back to Monday.

So I get to work. I see my assignment. The charge nurse informs me that my entire group is going home. Now when I was a new intern, I thought this was FABULOUS! I mean, come on! Everyone is gone = no work! But then I realized that this was bad. Bad, bad, bad. Because the way it works on my floor is the rooms are claimed before you even get your patient out the door. It's horrible. And new patients = TONS of paperwork. To put it blows.

So yeah. My group was pretty much gone. Out of 6 available beds, I had 4 that were empty. Fortunately, they weren't claimed yet. Patient number one seemed cool. He was youngish and friendly. Patient number two His doc wanted to send him home. He came up with this really far-fetched reason as to why he couldn't. Something about someone wanting to stab him. Or something. You know how it is. Anyhow, the doctor reluctantly let him stay "just one more night!" but tomorrow he WOULD be getting the boot. He was pleased. So the first three hours are freakishly easy. It was a dream. If someone had told me that after my break all hell would break lose, I would NOT have gone. That #4 sub from Jimmy Johns was totally not worth it. I'll go step by step from my break on:

-Leave for break with a really awesome coworker. We note an IV pole with a bag of .9 normal saline in front of the elevator. No patient attached. We say "huh, that's weird" and go about our gossip as we step around the pole and enter the elevator

-Come back from break and the IV pole is still there. Still, no patient attached. We decide we'll clue the other nurses in...someones patient lost their IV pole

- Jokingly, I say "I better check my patients, too!"

- Cool youngish dude? Yeah...he's gone. And all his stuff is gone, too

- Damn!

- Notify the others "Uh, my guy left, I think" . Call his house, no answer.

- Call his doctor... his doctor laughed. I immediately notify housekeeping. If this guy wants to pull some crazy crap...fine, be my guest...but I was NOT going to make it easy for him to come back. He could have signed himself out, no questions asked. It's NOT cool to just disappear. His room is cleaned out and back on the market. I am now down to 1 patient and 5 empty beds

- Or not

- My lone patient claims he is LEAVING and he is LEAVING NOW...or in his words "I waited an HOUR while you are on break...get me my stuff cause I am outta here"

- "But sir...someone is going to stab you, I thought" Oh no..they apparently worked their little disagreement out. Whatev. He's an adult. He left. AMA.

-Down to 0 patients, 6 empties

-Or not

-Two new ERs are coming, and they are on their way, stat.

-I am in with new patient number 1. Sweet little man, very confused. "Hi, I'll be your nurse tonight, my name is Laura" New patient: "I'm itchy!" Me: I will check your chart to see if I can get you anything, and if nothing is ordered, I will call your doctor. Are you having any pain?" New patient: "I'm itchy!" Me: (grabs a washcloth, some gloves, and I scratch his back) New patient: "Ahhhhhhhhhh! A little to the left. Oooooooooh right there"

-Nurse aide comes to get me. She informs me my other new patient has a heart rate of 150. Uh. Not good. I go to tend to her. Her daughter tells me she has a fib. In other words, instead of beating in a steady rhythm, her heart is just fluttering away. I call her doc. He says he will be there in a few minutes, order a stat EKG.

-I stay with her...she is obviously my priority right now

-Nurse aide comes to get me again. "Um, Laura? Your new guy across the hall...I think his itchiness might be from scabies."

-Say wha?! Scabies? Why are my hands itchy all of a sudden?

-Doc comes for lady with fluttery heart. He says she's fine. "Doctor, I can't keep her here if her heart is that high." Give her Lopressor. I do. It goes to normal within 30 minutes. We decide to keep her.

-Dermatologist calls. I talk to him as I scratch my head and GOD my hands are itching! SCABIES???!???!

-"I'm itchy!"

-Dermatologist says "I think it's an allergic reaction. I'll see him tomorrow."


-Nurse secretary: "Laura, you are getting a new patient. He's coming from OR. They just put a device in him that will remove the fluid that is building up around his lungs. You just suck it out whenever he starts having trouble breathing."

- Me: "Uhhh..."

- ER calls. I'm getting ANOTHER new patient. They call report. "She has a complex psych history. She is very demanding and difficult. I'm just warning you, she will take up A LOT of your time"

- Shoot me now.

This could go on and on and on. Seriously. Full moon? I don't know. But yeah. I didn't leave on time that night. Hellooooooooooo OT! In the end (meaning, tonight, my last night on in a row) my crazy heart lady was a doll and I adored her. Her heart would go fast, but I could always get it to slow down. Unfortunately, because of her heart, she got transferred to ICU today. It was NOT scabies, merely a reaction to a drug. He ALSO was a dear and I enjoyed him a lot. He gave me a sucker! The guy with the new, uh, vacuum or whatever was super nice. I never had to use his new device and he ended up going home the next day. And my psych lady was exactly as ER described her.

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