Monday, September 21, 2009

I'm taking credit

As nurses, we mostly do our jobs without taking any real credit. We deal with ups & downs, chaos & calmness, outrageous & bizarre...and we do it all without blinking. This time though...I'm taking credit for saving a life.

Thursday night I had a diabetic patient whose blood sugar at bedtime was 85. That's normal, but I gave her a snack....call it women's intution or just knowledgeable nursing...but I didn't want it dropping below 85.

Fastforward to about 1 am & I'm walking down the hallway...checking on my patients when I hear some loud type snoring. Hmmm...that's odd. I don't remember my patients snoring loudly the night before. So I notice it's my diabetic patient's room that the sound is coming from. I peek in & notice her shaking.....her arms, her legs....shaking. For a moment I wonder if she is having a seizure. I go in to talk to her...notice that she's very sweaty & of course isn't waking up.

Some might panic at this situation...but I instantly knew it had to be low blood sugar. I calmly left the room & asked my tech to do an accucheck. I then went to the med room & got an amp of D50. Went back to my patient's room & waited.

Waited why........cause the darn accucheck meter needed controls run. Ugh, stupid! So I wait. When the meter is finally working, I get a reading of "low." Ugh, not good. No time to wait for lab to draw a stat lab confirming this. My eyes could confirm it with the symptoms I was noting. I push 1/2 amp of D50 & wait again. Gotta give it time to circulate. After about a minute, I shake my patient & her eyes open. Yay...success!

I explained to her what was going on & how I needed her to eat some food & drink some milk so her blood sugar wouldn't drop again. She kept apologizing for passing out...as if it were her fault. My charge nurse says she'll go get her some milk, peanut butter & crackers. She comes back with peanut butter & graham crackers & low-fat milk and leaves the room.

I go out to get regular milk & run into the charge & ask "low-fat milk? Why not sugar free crackers also?" She looked mad at me for even talking about it. She replies with "Well, we rechecked her blood sugar after the D50 & it was 165, I didn't want it to go any higher." Seriously? She had no clue that the D50 was just a temporary fix & would come crashing back down if we didn't get some carbs into her.

Anyways, I left work that morning feeling good & also thinking of the alternatives. What if I hadn't chosen that moment to do my rounds? Would she have survived much longer? I don't even want to really think about it now. For whatever reason, I was meant to find her & bring her back. I'm patting myself on the back for this one....job well done, Jen.

Vacation has officially begun. I still don't know what I'm doing or where I'm going. I've been told it's raining a lot in Atlanta...that was my plan. We'll see what happens. Have a good week everyone!

3 comments:

Guzzo said...

Good job Jen!

Amanda said...

Way to go!!!! And now you can enjoy your vacation :)

LivingDeadNurse said...

Good call!! enjoy ur vacation you deserve it