Tuesday, March 8, 2005

Another year older

I turned 36 yesterday!  I spent my birthday playing volleyball & then going to Chili's for dinner & drinks.  I'm going out tonight with my best friends to dinner & to see "Be Cool."  It's nice to finally have a full day & night off.  I feel like I've been working, working, working.

I had 2 patients this weekend for both nights.  One was a very sweet older lady that adored me.  She told me many times how wonderful I was & how I was taking such good care of her.  She was in the hospital because of pneumonia & at that time they also detected that she was low in potassium.  She was really easy to care for.  When I was leaving yesterday morning she was asking when I was working again.  I told her not until Thursday & hopefully she will be home by then.  So she asked for my name & address on a piece of paper.  I wasn't sure what to do or what the hospital policy was on stuff like that.  I ended up writing it down & giving it to her.  I didn't see anything wrong with that.  I figure she just wants to send me a thank-you card.  After I did that, she asked if she could give me a hug.  So I gave her a little hug & she says "I love you."  It was sweet.  It was nice to be appreciated.  If only all patients could be like that! 

My other patient was someone that I had first encountered in the ICU when I was a student last fall.  She's a 41 yr old woman that had a heart attack & a stroke while she was sleeping.  Needless to say, she is no longer herself.  She is pretty much unresponsive.  She has a trach & can breathe on her own, but her mind is disconnected from her body - the body is just doing what it's programmed to do - make the heart & lungs work.  It is no longer getting signals from the brain.  She has a peg (feeding) tube & her hands & feet are starting to have contractures.  She has been taken home only to return to the hospital because of infections.  The day nurse said to me "The husband is in the room & he won't leave until he meets you & trusts you can take good care of her."  I was thinking "Uh oh, I've never cared for a patient in this type of condition, how am I going to get him to trust me?"  My preceptor told me to go in there on my own & do an assessment - she didn't want to go in with me & let on that I was a new nurse because he might not allow me to care for her.  So I went in & he says "Are you here to care for my angel?"  I told him yes.  He asked if there was anything I wanted him to tell me about her.  I replied "Anything that you would want me to know."  So he went over some things & about 15 min later he said he was going home - so I guess I passed his test.  I took good care of her. It's sad to see someone in that condition - especially as such a young age.  That's why people should have living wills - take the responsibility & guilt out of your family's hands.  I don't think anyone would want to live that way.  I had my parents & one of my brothers & myself fill out a living will so that the decision has already been made should we ever encounter something like that cause you just never know.  It reminded me of the Terry Schiavo situation.  15 years on a feeding tube & no real sign of brain activity.  My patient's family still believes that one day she will wake up & everything will be back to normal.  The husband was showing me pictures of her before this happened.  Just so unreal that you could go to bed & never really wake up. 


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