Friday, July 8, 2005

Hurricane Dennis

Hurricane Dennis is on his way - the first hurricane ever in the month of July.  So far it looks like we'll just get a little bit of wind & lots of rain, but Alabama & Pensacola will get the impact.  Hopefully it won't be too devastating.  I'd be lying if I didn't say I'm glad it's not coming this way.  After having 3 hurricanes in this area last year, we definitely don't need to go through that again.  It's hard to believe it was nearly a year ago that Hurricane Charley hit - doesn't seem like that much time has gone by. 

Last night at work was alright.  I had a "sneaky" patient that was anxious to go home.  She had a stress test done at noon that day & was waiting for her cardiologist to come in & give the order to discharge her.  Time ticked by, it's 9:30 pm, he's still not around.  She asked me to call him & tell him she wants to go home.  I couldn't call & say that nor can I call & tell him to come in like she was requesting.  So her & her daughter took matters into their own hands, called his answering service - pretended they were ME & told the answering service to have the doctor call me back.  When the lady at the answering service asked for a name & a phone number - they didn't have one to give so instead they gave the name of the hospital & the patient's name & said "Call the nurse."  I get a phone call from the answering service asking what is going on.  I wouldn't have cared if the patient called for the doctor herself & explain to him she was anxious to go home, but to pretend like she was me?  Grrrr.  I said to go ahead & page him since he was on call.  Luckily a few minutes later, he happened to stroll onto the floor & discharged her like he had originally planned.  It had nothing to do with her phone call, but I'm sure she thought it did.  I've never seen someone get dressed & out of the room so quickly. Luckily the day nurse had filled out the discharge papers & all I really needed was to fill in a few blanks & get the patient's signature.  A word to the wise - if you come into the ER complaining of chest pain - plan to spend a few days at the hospital while the doctors run their tests.  They can't let you go simply cause you say you feel better without being liable for "if" something happens without running the tests.

My other patient that had a stress test that day also was very anxious to go home....only he still had to complete the resting portion of the stress test the next morning.  He was telling me he'll just come back another day for that.  Uh huh, sure you will.  Then he tried to say he had to be at work this morning & he had to be discharged.  I told him he was welcome to leave, but he'd be taking the bill with him because when you leave without a doctor's order to be discharged, your insurance company will not pay the bill.  That seemed to get him thinking straight again.  He wasn't happy, but hey, it wasn't my fault.  Then he wanted to take a shower & I told him we need a doctor's order for that too...because technically everyone on PCU is considered to be in "guarded" condition & are supposed to be in bed getting bedrest.  I'm beginning to wonder why they even put showers in the bathrooms on this floor.  Luckily this guy went to sleep & didn't really have much else to complain about through the night.

I'm not going to even go into details about my other 3 patients because they were all pretty stable & nothing really happened with them.  At about 6:30 am, I did get a transfer from our other PCU unit.  The name sounded familiar, but it wasn't until I saw her that I put it all together.  About a month ago, she had been in a different room & was soooooo demanding, always yelling, always needing something - rather than using her callbell, she'd just scream out for help.  I didn't have her as a patient, but obviously I heard her yelling out all the time.  Well, now she had gone into cardiac arrest after receiving outpatient dialysis back on July 1st.  She is like a zombie now.  Her eyes are open, but there is no response.  I don't know if she's actually with it, but simply can't express it (like in that one ER episode where the lady has a TIA) or if she simply isn't there anymore.  It was weird to see someone that was so demanding to being unable to even move really.  I don't think she has much time left.  She is now a DNR & the family is refusing the doctors to run any tests.  She has multiple DVT's & the surgeon was wanting to put in the IVC filter, but it was unlikely that the family was going to sign the consents.  I totally understand where they are coming from & can see why they are apprehensive about continuing to put her through all of that when her quality of life is simply not there.  It must be difficult though.  I worry about the day that I might have to make decisions like those. 

I am learning that veteran nurses like to complain...A LOT!  I don't know if it's because they are simply unhappy at my hospital or if this is seen universally.  They complain about everything!!!!!!  Maybe I'm still too new & not burnt out.  As much as I wish I had millions in the bank & didn't have to work, I do enjoy my job right now.  Don't get me wrong, I dread having difficult patients or encountering situations that are not pleasant, but I do enjoy meeting different people, making them feel a little better & making them smile.  I like talking to them, finding out a little about who they are & making sure they are comfortable while in my care.  I hope I never get to the point where I don't care who they are & simply want to get in & out of the room as quickly as possible.  I was listening to a few of the nurses this morning complaining about a certain doctor.  She happens to be my doctor - I've been going to her for the last 15 yrs.  She is really nice to me - but she intimidates the nurses & is rather rude on the phone or she simply doesn't return their calls.  I haven't had to deal with her on a professional basis (yet) although I am curious to see how she would treat me considering the relationship we have.  Listening to those nurses complaining just made me laugh to myself.  Oh well, if it's not one thing, it's another thing...they love to complain.

On a brighter note & off topic - my rental house is getting repaired, fixed up, improved - whatever you want to call it.  Then I hope to sell it & also sell the house I'm living in & probably move to a condo.  I like the idea of moving, but I don't like the idea of moving into something smaller.  It's the best option though since I am planning on going into travel nursing next year &won't be home a lot of the time.  Oh well, we'll see what happens - as I've learned many times in the past, anything is possible.

Say a prayer for those that are in Hurricane Dennis' path - they'll need it.

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