Thursday, May 25, 2006

This had better be all for a while. Dammit.

The last two days at work have been...well.

Mister Annoying Screaming Man came back a*gain*. Mr. ASM is one of those frequent-flyers who has some dementia, though not enough to keep him quiet and compliant, and who does things like leave his walker across the room at home and take repeated face-plants into the linoleum. The first six or seven times he came back, it was cute. It's not cute any more.

I took his care over about an hour before my shift ended and went to start an IV. He's been in the hospital before. He's been stuck before. He knows the drill, remembers it, knows he has to have a saline lock in his arm. Why, then, when I pierced his skin with the needle, did he scream and dope-slap me on the back of my head?

I jerked, the IV start needle ripped upward through his skin, and blood splattered my face and scrubs. That made a nice contrast to the vomit, feces and urine I'd already been splattered with.

Earlier that day I'd had the sort of patient everybody dreads--a brittle type I diabetic who refuses to manage his blood sugar or stick to his diet. There's a certain type of person you know is going to be trouble, usually shortly before he goes in to DKA or his glucose dumps down into the teens, and this was that guy. After a hearty breakfast of five (!!!) glazed donuts, coffee with sugar, and some chocolate milk, he started feeling a little tetchy. He was kind enough to unload breakfast on my shoes--thank God I was wearing my old Danskos--and my scrubs. Lovely.

The vomit was joined a short time later by shit. And sweat. There's some Universal law somewhere that says that isolation patients with nasty intestinal bugs must a) weigh something on the wrong side of 400 pounds, and b) want their thermostat turned up to 85. You know those plastic isolation gowns? They don't protect worth a damn.

There was no isolation gown nearby when my seriously demented patient yanked out her Foley catheter and started waving it around, speckling everybody with pee. Of course, she was on pyridium.


Chef Boy floated the idea of moving to Brazil and running a B & B last night. You know, there are times when moving to the Southern Hemisphere, learning Portugese, and living in the middle of nowhere tending orchards and sheep seems like a really fine idea.

Oh, and I did get the IV started on the second try. A combination of barely-controlled rage on my part and several towels wrapped around his bleeding hand kept him quiet.


Anonymous said...

I am so ... incredibly ... glad ... all I have to deal with are shirtless job applicants.

shrimplate said...

Is there some rule or law somewhere that says I can't stick an 18 into an EJ?

Heck, a vein's a vein, right?

Off topic: Pope Gregory may have been a total bastard, but he did a nice job of having a bunch of really cool free-flowing modal melodies written down. That's cool.

woolywoman said...

It's the glamour that keeps us coming back to nursing, isn't it? If I'd been working with you, I'd have lent you the emergency back up scrubs in my locker. AND bought you a diet coke/coffee/vending enabled libation of choice.

Cheryl said...

Oh my God! I have so been there! I'm an ER nurse in PA and you are funnier than hell! Where've you been all my blogging life?

Love your stuff!

And, Kate...are those job applicants male or female?

Anonymous said...

Cheryl -- only one applicant so far. Male. But that's got me covered for the rest of my life, I think.

NeoNurseChic said...

Haha!! Oh dear.... This morning, my coworker in the NICU had a baby kick a lab tube out of her hand which sprayed blood all over the crib, the wall, her pastel pink scrub top, and her face.... I told her to get some peroxide to take the blood out, and she eventually got to take a break to wash the top entirely.

Then she was feeding the same infant a bit later, and he puked all over her scrub pants. So she got to smell like baby formula and have even more battle scars!

As bad as my own day was, I felt pretty badly for her!

I enjoyed reading this, but I'm sorry you had to go through it!!