Saturday, April 11, 2009

Flesh Eating Bacteria???

I went into work last night & saw that I only had 3 patients. Yay! I wasn't sure how long it would last, but it was definitely a reason to have a celebration in my head. I wish our patient load was 3...or even 4. When it gets to more than 4, I can barely remember the patient's names, much less what they are even in the hospital for. It's kind of ironic that they want to talk about all the mistakes made in hospitals...yet they don't do anything realistic to cut down on how or why those mistakes are made.

The first thing that should be addressed is nurse to patient ratios. There are some floors where the nurse has up to 10 (or maybe more) patients. How in the world can you take care of 10 different sick people & have any time to really devote to knowing their background/reason they came in and spend time taking care of them? You can't. You are lucky if you can speak to them for a minute, pass meds, assess and chart. Me, personally, there is no way I would ever take an assignment with more than 6 patients. I would not only be jeopardizing the care for my patients, but my nursing license. I couldn't work somewhere that they would be so foolish as to put anyone in that situation.

Ok, back to my night at work. I was getting report on my patients when the day nurse was telling me that one of my patients has a recent history of necrotizing bactereria aka flesh eating bacteria. Ummmm....ewwwwww. I don't like those words or that description. This is the first time I've ever knowingly come into contact with someone that had it & I wasn't convinced she no longer had it. Apparently the hospital was convinced as she wasn't on any precautions & they had another patient in the room with her. That meant nothing to me. Every time I set foot in that room....I applied gloves & prayed silently that this bacteria would not be able to get thru the gloves...although if it can eat thru flesh, why couldn't it eat thru a thin layer of latex?

She still had active wounds of where this bacteria damaged her skin. We were still doing dressing changes on those areas. I still don't get the very least...we didn't keep other patients out of this room & have this woman on some type of precautions. They don't know how she picked it up to begin with which causes me even more concern. I would expect that she got it in a hospital, but then again...I guess it is out there roaming around in society. Ugh, creeps me out & I'm not even OCD about germs. Of course now every time I have a little itch - I'm convinced this bacteria is feasting on my skin from underneath. Ickkkk!

My other two patients were men. I usually like having men as patients because they tend to be easier to care for than women. I mean.....they can use a urinal in bed. How much easier can it get than that? And they aren't really big talkers. Some of these women...I swear they either purposally choose to come to the hospital to have someone to talk to or their families drop them off because they are tired of hearing them talk. I'm not kidding!

Men though....they are usually not big on talking except to ask for what they want. Last night though...I had two chatty cathy's...or I guess I should call them chatty chuck's. They talked & talked & talked to ME. One of them....every 2 hours he needed snacks...and more snacks, and juice, and cereal, and pudding. It was endless. I was ready to say "What you need is sleep!" Cause I know he would not be up at home eating 2 bowls of cereal, 2 things of pudding, drinking 2 cups of grape juice....every 2 hours.

The other one...I wasn't convinced his diagnosis was even real. He claimed to be having a seizure at home....but nothing was showing any real evidence of it...not even the symptoms he was describing. He told me he had double vision & that he saw 2 of everything. Yet when I would go to hand him some water or his pills or anything....he had absolutely no trouble finding my hand every time. The day nurse had the same feeling I had...that his story/symptoms weren't matching up. His wife was about to go out of town & we both were thinking he didn't want her to go. So these symptoms started & she cancelled her trip. I guess we'll see if the MRI shows anything.

I managed to stay at 3 patients until about 4:30 in the morning. I was actually happy to have an admission as the night was going soooo slow. This one was a man in his 40's with chest pain. My favorite kind of patient. The admission took about 15 minutes tops & off to dreamland he went.

I love my uneventful nights, but when they are slow like makes me so tired. I came home & went to sleep. I woke up much earlier than usual after working 13 hours. I'm going to go meet a friend & take a walk. I've been walking every day since last Sunday. This is a first for me! I actually feel bad if I don't a guilty feeling. I don't like that feeling, hopefully it will pass. I'm still eating way healthier than ever before. I miss the junk food, but trying not to think about it. I'm craving hot chips...they are sooooo good. I didn't even buy 1 bag because I know I'd want to eat way more than I should. So, for now, I am staying completely away from it. My body is sore, but I know it's a good sore...means my muscles are feeling the exercise.

Have a Happy Easter everyone! Eat some chocolate & peeps for me!


Julie said...

We have had 6 and 7 at night on a step down unit. Since I start at 7 the staffing is pretty good but then with admits and call in it goes downhill. And if you were to leave they get you with abandonment. Just sucks. Especially since now a days the patients have to be near deaths door to even get admitted. You do your best but....

Hope you have a happy Easter. I am working and hoping for a good night.

Amanda said...

In PA they are trying to pass a nursing ratio bill that will limit the number of patients. Tle is 3:1, critical care is 2:1, L&D 1:1, Med-Surg 4:1,

Two fab things for you: a patient who stuck an antenna into his penis. Yes, really.

And during a code on Saturday, the defibrilator broke, the doppler was missing, the EKG machine had a broken lead (and no paper) and there was no suction valve available. I think my hospital REALLY needs to fix some things huh?

Anonymous said...

It's a good thing to have guilt for not exercising! Haha. I have it too, but whatever it takes. And my anti-diet thought for the day came from your last line. Let's get out the chocolate fountain and dip Peeps in it!!!!