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Run, LuLu, Run!!

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Nicole is a particularly southern NA.  She would honestly say things like “My boyfriend and I work re-po on the weekends,” in as twangy a drawl as you can possibly imagine.  One day she yells to me from the other end of the hall, “LuLu, come!!”  First of all, my name is not LuLu. My nickname is not LuLu.  LuLu is just what Nicole called me because that’s how country she is.

I start down the long hall.

“LuLu!!  Run!!”  I hate running in the hospital.  Nothing freaks out patients (or other staff) quite like seeing a nurse run down the hall.  “LuLu!”

I kick it up a notch and start to jog.

Pamela, in room 17, is no longer in room 17. She’s in Bob’s room across the hall.  Thankfully, Bob is off getting an X-ray.  I look around and put the pieces together.  Pamela had to poo. She got up, wandered into the hall, went in Bob’s room, used the bathroom, and then got in Bob’s bed.  Unfortunately she left a, um, “trail” everywhere she went.  The discovery of the trail was the only reason we discovered quickly that something was amiss.

Now mind you, two hours ago Pamela was a normal, middle-aged lady who knew how to find the toilet and use it.   To you nurses, what would you do next?  Yep, get a blood glucose.  Her “sugar” was really low.  Four juice boxes later, she was back to her old self and had no memory of her exploits.  Too bad I’ll never forget it!

What I’m Looking For

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Today I had the unfortunate distinction of repeatedly making my patient more uncomfortable.  Other than the fact that the guy is 90, he has another reason to be in pain—a broken bone.  On top of that, he is also constantly cold and despises having the covers pulled back. (He usually has eight blankets on him.)  During my 6 hours as his nurse, he was moved from the ED stretcher to his bed, then on a stretcher to X-ray where he had to sit for a film and was then put back in his bed.  About 15 minutes later he had to be moved back to the stretcher again to go for another test, and then put back to bed again.  He is mostly immobile.  This means that every time we transferred him we had to pull him from the stretcher to the bed and then roll him back and forth to remove the excess linens and pull sheet.  Then his heels had to be floated, a pillow put under one hip, the condom cath repositioned, and his heart monitor put back on.  All this motion had him flustered, uncomfortable, and in pain.  Finally, the last time we were repositioning him, moving the sheet, reattaching things, he sighed and said, “You know, if you just told me what it is you’re looking for in the sheets, I’ll gladly tell you where it is!”

At the Beach

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I was recently reminded of the day my sister came to shadow me at work.  When we walked into a patient’s room I asked him his name.  He stated it correctly.  I asked him if he knew where he was.  He smiled a slow, relaxed smile, leisurely locked his hands behind his head and said, “Yep, I’m at the beach.”  If only all our patients felt that way!

Humor From the Frontlines of Health Care

A first post to introduce myself.  I’m a nurse interested in public health, health care policy and management, and nursing.  In other words, I’m interested in the front-line, the bottom-line, and bottoms!

Nurses often share stories with one another to compare what’s going on in our world and to share a laugh.

Some fun situations only a nurse would find herself in:

  • Patient in Labor, about to give birth:       “My butt!  My butt is hurting!”
  • Patient’s mother: “Honey, that’s not your butt hurting, that’s you’re baby coming!”
  • Patient  (who is supposedly alert and oriented):”I spilled all my jelly beans all over the floor and can’t get up to pick them up.  Can someone come pick them up for me?”
  • Me: “Sure, I can have someone from environmental services come sweep up.”
  • Patient: “Well those jelly beans are my favorite!  Can you pick them up and hand them to me so I can eat them?”
  • Me: “Absolutely not!”
  • Patient who was definitely alert, but very disoriented: “Look at the TV! I think that’s Latoya Jackson. She must be sad.”
  • Me: “Where? on TV?”
  • Patient, still disoriented but surprisingly aware of MJ’s death: “Yes, right there, that’s Michael Jackson’s sister.”
  • Me: “Sir, you’re confused.  That is a white Animal Planet cop rescuing an alligator.”
  • Me, finishing up diabetic teaching to patient with uncontrolled diabetes: “So let’s review, name a food that is a starch.”
  • Patient: “A pork chop.”
  • Me, deflated.
  • Friend of a nurse: “Hey, I’m going on a long plane flight to Europe.  I think Vicodin will make it easier.  Can you bring me some Vicodin from work?”
  • Nurse: “Are you kidding me? Absolutely not.  Where do you think I work? A meth house?  They’re not giving the stuff away as door prizes!”

Being a nurse is definitely a crazy job.  Sometimes it makes you wonder what life is like for other people, people with normal jobs who get to do all sorts of things during the day like actually sit down to eat lunch, have a bathroom break and maybe, just maybe check your email despite the possible evil eye from management.

But no one else in health care gets to be so close to the family, to understand what is really going on in their world, and to hopefully bridge the gap between medicine and human being.  Despite the jokes, complaints, and other coping mechanisms, being a nurse is truly a beautiful profession for which I am grateful to be a part of.