Thursday, January 19, 2006

This is what I do all day

(With apologies to Beloved Sister, who originated the title.)

0420: get up, get coffee, wonder again why I took a job that requires a forty-minute commute. Sit outside on the porch with the cat and a cup of that coffee.

0440: get into shower.

0620: walk into work, with (hopefully) unwrinkled scrubs, a professional mein, and artfully applied makeup. If it's a good week, my nails will be short and my cuticles tended.

0700-1900: take care of other people.

For the bored patient who's being converted from heparin to coumadin, try to think of a new metaphor that will explain the difference between PTT and INR and the actions of heparin and coumadin. "There's this herd of zebras, see, who all have terrible static cling...." Act out said metaphor to gales of laughter from previously-bored patient.

For the patient who's experiencing intractable pain secondary to anxiety following surgery, reassure him that he will indeed be able to play bad country music on his guitar again. Keep opinion of whether or not this is a good thing to myself. Draw many diagrams of nerve plexuses (plexi? Resolve to look that up) and explain why the pain is worse now than it was prior to surgery. Bite back snotty response when patient's wife makes the predictable "We're not going to let you go home tonight" comment.

Remind self that "we're not going to let you go home" is a huge compliment, and those folks don't know I've heard it five thousand times before.

Eat lunch.


Readjust a heparin drip and bitch at the poor hapless lab personnel who cross my path, because the PTT is two hours late.

Reposition one or two or more of any number of patients, my own and other people's.

Chart. (That should actually be a constant background noise, like a bunch of Gregorian monks with nothing better to do. "Chart. Chart. Chart. Chart.")

Pee. It might be the first time today, but probably not. Every nurse has his or her priorities; mine is peeing.

Discuss end-of-life care with a woman whose son is dying of an easily-treatable brain tumor. Treatable, that is, if you have insurance or if the indigent care department of the hospital hadn't cut you off two years ago.

Consider the possibility of taking up recreational drug use. Decide against it; all the good stuff is tracked.

Chart. (omni in microscopicae chaaaaaaaaartuuuuuuuuussssss....)



1920-2000: drive home.

post-2000: sit on porch with cat and drink. Could be lemonade, could be Scotch; the important thing is that it ends the day. Wonder how on earth my feet could possibly smell *so very bad*. Admire 0.5 cm dents in ankles from socks; consider, then reject, wearing supphose to work. Wonder if heparinizing patient has thrown herself out of the window through boredom yet. Pee. Note that cat is avoiding my feet. Marvel at the dents that my beeper and waistband have put into my waist.

Consider eating. Recall that the only things in the fridge are biryani rice and leftover nachos. Decide that those sound pretty good anyhow. Eat.


On a day that I have off, that last line is repeated at least twice the following day, along with "drink more coffee" "pee some more" and "poop".

Most nurses I know spend their days off pooping and sleeping, like babies.

I'm on to the latter right now.


Anonymous said...

"plexuses (plexi?...)"

Ever since my sister and I learned, way back in high school bio, that the plural of "octopus" is actually "octopod," we've been using "-pod" to plural things. Even after taking Latin in college I still find it I give you "plexupod." Use at your own discretion.

may said...

i used to to that on my off days...sleep, poop, eat. used to. B.C. (before kids). sweet dreams!

may said...

i meant to say used to DO that. man, i can use some sleep :)

girl_in_greenwood said...

As a prospective nursing student (I'll know in a few weeks if I've been accepted) and a current nursing assistant in an assisted living facility, I seriously wonder if my tiny bladder is going to be a deal-breaker in my new career. Perhaps after I learn how to put in a catheter, I can just cath myself?