Tuesday, March 15, 2005

A week of frustration.

Every nurse has Those Weeks once in a while: you work your three, or four, or five days, and each day has three, or four, or five little frustrations that make you wonder why you're doing this job rather than working at McDonald's.

The uniforms, after all, aren't as cool at McDonald's, but the hours are better.

Speaking of uniforms, two of my scrub jackets have come down with some sort of stain that even soaks in bleach and hot water can't remove. This in itself isn't an unusual occurance--I've had everything from antibiotics to Dead Guy Bile end up on my shirt--but the thing is, I can't remember how on earth something pink got up on my shoulder two days in a row. And scrub jackets are intensely personal. Everybody who wears one has a favorite, a second favorite, and one they wear only when everything else is filthy. These two are two of my favorites and have to be replaced.

Speaking of replacing things, I now need a new stethoscope. I lent mine to a nurse's aide who lost it within 15 minutes of putting her paws on it. We searched the entire floor and couldn't find it. It wasn't a particularly nice one, but it's still irritating.

Speaking of irritating, a tip for future patients: if I discharge you with a list of medications and how to take them, and spend forty-five minutes teaching your family how to administer said medications to control your pain and inflammation, *please* follow my instructions. I'm not doing this for the exercise, after all. If you don't follow my instructions (which come from the doctor and not my fevered brain), please don't get readmitted on the evening of the day you're discharged for a headache. Really and truly, this will not make me disposed to like you. Especially if it turns out that no, you didn't take any of the pills that I so laboriously educated you about.

In short, prayer might make you feel better and speed your healing, but God expects you to take advantage of pharmaceuticals as well. Heaven helps those and all that.

And finally, speaking of Heaven, that's where you might find yourself if you air your Neanderthal views about nurses to me.

This, people, is a biggie. There aren't too many folks around any longer who express surprise that I'm not wearing a cap or a white dress or whatever fantasy of nurse that Playboy has taught them, but there are a few. Most of those folks know enough to keep their mouths shut and not treat nurses like a combination of waitress and stripper, which only makes the person who doesn't keep his or her (yes, there are both sexes involved here) mouth shut that much more surprising.

I have had people try to tip me. I've had serious job offers from rich old ladies who want companions. I've had more offers of young sons and nephews than I can count. I have never, though, had a critique of my scrubs that included the opinion that they're a) too baggy and b) not low-cut enough until last night. Especially not tagged with the word "Darlin'".

"Darlin'" coming from an old cowboy is charming. Coming from a World War II vet covered with tattoos, it's appropriate. Coming from a lecherous man who dates women half his age, it makes me wish for a large-gauge needle.

It's frustrating weeks like this past one that make me wonder if maybe I shouldn't start working in the OR, where everybody's asleep, or in labor and delivery, where everybody's female.

I hear Wendy's is offering nine bucks an hour to start. And their uniforms aren't bad.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thanks for the laughs....i sell equipment for the neuro icu and am heading to a trauma nurses show and wanted to get on and try to learn about the issues facing them...i got some funny looks here at the starbucks wifi hot spot laughing at reading your piece...i love the uniforn stuff and darlin'