Friday, December 02, 2005

Well, well, well.

I got my second "TEAM Player" T-shirt the other day (you don't remember the TEAM Playa post?), which seems to indicate that I'm doing my job. Which is a good thing, since sometimes I'm not so sure. Bad days like the one last week really make me wonder if I'm competent (because I catch problems like couplets and triplets before they send a patient to the ICU) or incompetent (which is silly, because even on Dilantin, people sometimes seize).

Luckily for me, the two best nurses I work with had Signally Bad Days this past week, too. One of 'em walked into a patient's room, and the patient...died.

Just like that. Brady'ed down from 70 to 6 and stopped breathing, just like that. Wow. And the patient's wife, thankfully keeping her head on straight, refused a code on him. They'd coded him twice already, and it was time for him to go home.

However, it's unusual to have your first death, or rather, your first unexpected death, at 0715. Lou-Who was shook, but professional, and dealt with the whole baggin'/taggin' thing, then took a break with a nice hot cup of tea. When the floor manager walked in with paperwork Lou-Who had to sign, she (Lou) looked up and asked, "So. Do I get a TEAM T-shirt for this?"

Luz's bad day started with the death of a patient she loved. She walked in to the room at 0845, and the patient just...died. (Holy crap. Two in one morning?) He just quit breathing. He was a DNR, thankfully, so there was no need to start working on him. Instead, Luz comforted his wife, then I helped her bad & tag and made her a cup of tea.

We've drunk a lot of tea on our floor in the last couple of weeks.

Luz's day would've improved had not another patient *tried* to die on her. Luz, however, is determined, and disinclined to let anybody go who hasn't given the whole living thing a good shot, so that patient went to the ICU. It was, ironically, the same guy who seized on me and who left me with a feeling of not having done something vital.

'Tis the season, I guess. Each hospital has its own rhythms. Most of the folks on our floor like to die right before Christmas, perhaps because they're so damned *tired*. The people two floors up on chemo wait until after the holidays, then head out. Either way, we have a ragged time between Thanksgiving and New Year's.

We're having a potluck lunch next week to try to make up for the Bad Days everybody has had lately. I think I'll be taking mac & cheese and maybe a couple of other things, too. There's a need for comfort food.


Jo said...

Beware, Have you ever noticed it seems to happen in 3s on units?

shrimplate said...

Is that what has to happen for me to get a nice little tea-break?

The first thing I always do after bagging-and-tagging is to go get the admission paperwork for the next patient.

The Great Muffin Factory Institute is shooting for a 1/2-hour bed turnover, according to the memo in the staff bathroom.

Plenty enough time to thoroughly grieve the loss and get a cup o' chamomille, I guess.