Thursday, September 30, 2010

Peanut Butter reminds me of YOU

I went into work Sunday night. It was a veryyyy busy night for me. I was ready to ask for an orientation since I had been precepting all year. I forgot how exhausting it can be to take care of patients by myself. Whew!

Anyways, I started out the night with 2 patients. Within 30 min of shift change, I got a new admission. I got her name, looked up the info. Figured I'd have to transfuse some blood. Not a big deal, but can be time consuming with the hourly vital signs. As soon as the patient comes off the elevator with transport, she's saying "I know you!!!!!" I look at her, read her name again...I have no clue who she is. But you can't say that, so instead I try to play along. She starts naming the city I live in, what my favorite pizza is & mentions how she thinks my blue eyes are beautiful. Ok, she does know Kidding. But putting all those things together brought it all back. I knew exactly who she was. I had her has a patient about a year ago. It's amazing how you can leave an impression on someone. I mean, I can barely remember what I did a few days ago...much less what some stranger may have crossed my path a year ago.

So I get her settled into bed. Her daughters are with her. She is trying to shoo them out the door by saying she needs to spend some time with me. Inside I am cracking up. This patient is in her late 70's. I have no idea why she is fascinated with me. While her daughters realize I am just a kind person, they are a little peeved their mother is kicking them out. I think at the same time though, they felt ok leaving her there....since she was so happy to see me.

She then brings up how I always brought her peanut butter & graham crackers last time she was there. And then she says "Every time I see peanut butter, it reminds me of you." Lol...cracks me up every time. Who says this to people? So now of course when I see peanut butter, it reminds me of her saying that I remind her of peanut butter. And it probably always will remind me of that.

Her hemoglobin was a little on the low side, nothing critical, but they ordered 2 units of RBC's. She also was feeling a little shaky. I got the blood transfused during the shift & came back the next night to find they were prepping her for a colonoscopy & EGD the next see if there was an active bleed. Luckily, there was no active bleed...but at the same time, no explanation as to why her hemoglobin dropped. That's the part of medicine I don't like...not knowing why something out of the ordinary happens.

I had another patient that came in with a hemoglobin of 5.0. That is critical. Transfused a total of 4 units...but unable to find any active bleed. Huh? And I have this patient in my care for a total of 30 min & his mother is asking me why is he in this condition. Ummmm, I just got out of report. I'm lucky I know his name at this point. She needs to speak with the doctors because I had no info to give her. I felt awful because she was ready to burst into tears with no answers.

I have reached a point where I definitely know I'm getting old. When I think of the above patient, the first thought that pops into my head is "This kid..."....only he's not a kid. He's about 10 yrs younger than me....but as I'm giving report, I hear myself saying "This kid....". Have I reached the point of calling everyone younger than me a kid??? Oh boy. I'm old!!!

Anyways, back to my first patient. We frequently "round" (check in) on our patients. So I stopped by & asked if there was anything I could do for her or get for her. She says "What I've been asking you for all along...your address & phone number." Ummm, I can't give out personal info & at the same time, I'm trying not to even think about why she would want that info. Especially when she asked for my phone number but followed it up with "I'm not going to call you." Huh? Since she asked about 6 times for the information, I gave her one of the hospital business cards with their address & ph number on it. I explained to her that it's against hospital policy to give out personal info. She was fine with it & she loved the business card. Even put it away in a safe place. I'm hoping she's not planning on sending me a year's supply of peanut butter or anything. :)

It's been a strange week. My orientee is on her own for the first time this week & her patient wrote her a 2 page love letter. It was a little on the creepy side, but I'm sure he meant well. We had another patient write a 4 page letter complaining about a doctor. It's just one of those weeks.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Scary moment

This doesn't have to do with nursing, but I had a very scary moment around 3:30 this morning. My precious dog Shay ran away. I had let her out & when I went to call her back in, she was nowhere to be found. I called out for her over & over for 10 min. Nothing.

I grabbed a flashlight & some shoes & headed down this eery dirt road next to my house. I refer to it as the Texas Chainsaw Massacre type road. There are a couple of houses back there & one of them has dogs. I hoped she had maybe wandered over there. While I'm walking, I call my brother. No answer. I call one of my good friends. No answer. Ugh...I'm on my own at 3:30 in the morning to try to find my princess. I call her name repeatedly & get no response. As I got closer to the houses, I worried that one of the homeowner's might come out with a gun & shoot me...because I'm sure I'm the only person that has ever wandered down that scary looking road in the middle of the night.

So I walk back to my house with plans to drive around. I have no idea where to drive around as I live on the main road & other than the dirt road, there aren't many other roads to look on. There are plenty of woods though. I get home & walk in the door & see that Shay has returned. I was sooooooooo grateful. I have no idea where she was, but was glad she was smart enough to know how to come back.

In other news...I bought an iPad!!! I love it. I don't love the price, but I love the item. It is really handy & I'm definitely getting my money's worth.

Work has been ok. It was my orientee's last week & she was sick two of the three days. So I was back on my own. It wasn't bad. I had one quirky patient...when I went into his room, it had to be about 95 degrees. I asked "Why do you want it so hot in here?" He replied "I'm doing laundry." I look over at the air conditioner/heater & he has his socks & underwear sitting on top. Ok, gross. I'm sure that is a fire hazard too, but I got his vital signs & got out of there. I felt like I was in a sauna.

I also had a patient in his late 20's that was just diagnosed with cardiomyopathy. His ejection fraction was approx 32%. That is really poor for someone of that age. His doctor also informed him that he could drop dead at any time with this diagnosis. Then the doctor leaves and my patient is crying. Only he doesn't want me to see that he is he puts the bedspread over his head. Can you picture this? It was as bizarre as it sounds.

It was a wake up call for me though. I definitely don't treat my body the way I should.....rarely ever exercise or eat right. I'm joining the YMCA tomorrow & will make exercise a priority. The heart needs to be worked out in order to remain strong. I know this. I will do this. The eating...well, that won't be as easy to implement, but I plan to work towards eating better. Baby steps.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Urgent need

A co-worker of mine gets an urgent call from one of her patient's the other night. "Hurry, come quick to my room, hurryyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!" So she races down the hall to see what is wrong with the patient. The patient replies "I need you to get me my purse, there is some face cream I want to buy on this infomercial." Seriously??? That is the urgent need? Ahhhh...#$#$^%!&&#@.

It is getting so beyond ridiculous what nursing in a hospital setting is turning into. No longer are we "nursing" people back to health...we are too busy portraying ourselves as customer service reps who will do whatever, whenever & however it takes so that the hospital can get a good rating when they send out the survey after the patient's visit.

It's not the hospital's fault. It's the govt. They send out surveys to everyone that stays in the hospital except those living in a nursing home, frequent flyers, alcoholics or Baker Acts/drug overdoses. If a hospital doesn't score high, then the govt (Medicare/Medicaid) doesn't have to pay the hospital. Doesn't matter if the healthcare was amazing & the patient is healed & healthy all depends on the hospital survey rating. So in turn, our focus is more on making the patient happy than healthy. Ugh!

I'm telling's just a matter of time before hospitals are including spa like services....manicures, pedicures, hairstyling...just to increase patient satisfaction scores. This is what "healthcare" is turning into.

What a joke!

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Not too much going on lately. It's been a couple of uneventful weeks (my favorite type of weeks!). I don't know if it's cause of my age or just the line of work I am in, but I am so forgetful. Like just to try to remember what type of patients I had in the last week or two...I draw a blank. Maybe it's what nurses do....forget the past so we can focus on the present. I don't know. Lately it's to the point that I can barely even remember patient's names & I only have 3 or 4 patients a night! I refer to them by room numbers...which I'm sure HIPAA is happy about, but it stinks when you go in a patient's room & can't remember their name. Now I see why so many nurses call their patients honey or dear. I have yet to do that...I just don't refer to strangers with pet names. Now if it's my niece or my dog...I call them a zillion different cute things, but strangers...nope, just not my thing.

I have 3 weeks left with my orientee. I'm hoping there will be a new hire so I can have another trainee, but so far I've heard nothing. It's been a long time since I've had to take patients on my own. Oh well, it's not like I'm not capable of it. Of course I'm hoping it opens up the possibility of being called off. They seem to skip me since I have an orientee. Then again, it also puts me on the float list. I dread being floated. It's like taking a fish out of's so not my comfort zone. Especially when they float me to ICU. So far I've been able to avoid that, but I'm sure I won't always be able to pull that off. ICU is just not for me.

In other news...I went to my first IMAX movie last night. I saw Inception & I have to say...IMAX is amazing. Definitely worth the extra money just for the comfortable seats. Inception was a bit confusing though.

Not too much else is really going on. I've been slowly redecorating my house. I have so many things I want to refrigerator, new tv's, new couch, new car...but nothing is absolutely necessary & I want no bills. So I shall save my money & hopefully by December I'll be able to get some the things I'm wanting. One good mortgage is paid off. Woo hoo...I am officially debt free. :)

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Labor Day weekend. I've just been taking it easy. Time seems to fly by faster than ever. I don't get it. Even the days where I have absolutely nothing planned & don't even leave the house...the time flies by. I guess it's all part of getting older.