Saturday, August 04, 2007

House Blog, Part 2

Oh, my.

I'm sure the people who lived in the house before me were marvelous folks. I'm sure they were kind to animals, fine parents, socially conscious, and committed recyclers. I'm sure they were all those things and more.

However, they lived like pigs.

I cleaned the bigger bedroom the other day; it took me fifteen gallons of cleaning solution just to do the lower half of the walls. One wall alone took nine gallons of solution. It experience.

Let's not even talk about the kitchen. Suffice to say that I am looking at new stoves rather than clean the one that's in the house. I don't think it'd be possible to get it into usable condition. Thank God they didn't leave the fridge.

So today, when the numbers on the clock are bigger, I'm heading over there with more gloves, more sponges, and more cleaning solution. Today I'll clean, period, and worry about painting tomorrow.


In other news, a simple tip for the family members of patients: The way to get noticed and get your questions answered is not to assault a nurse. You'll get noticed if you do, of course, but it's not the kind of notice you're likely to want to attract. Let's face it: If you kick a nurse, or take a swing at him, you're going to face security guards from countries where genocide is a way of life. They know many, many more dirty tricks than you do.

*** *** *** *** ***

I finally quantified what it is about my nursing style that makes the crazies love me.

When we say "crazies" at work, we don't mean people who believe that aliens live among us or that Star Jones really lost all that weight with diet and exercise. We mean people who are so stressed, or so anxious, or so overwhelmed that the conventional modes of behavior fly out the window.

Everybody who's worked in any kind of health care knows that there are some folks whose behavior becomes unacceptable, impolite, and sometimes downright dangerous in stressful situations. When every other nurse has been fired by a patient or a patient's family, when security's been called, when the doctors refuse to go in to the room, they assign me that patient.

And invariably--I say this not to boast, but in amazement--those patients end up asking for me again the next time I work. And we get along.

I've had several patients in that situation over the last couple of weeks. In most cases, the patients themselves have a handle on what's going on; it's their family members who have lost it. What every situation had in common was this:

I explained what was going on, in English, from start to finish, and didn't assume that the patient or the husband/wife/sister/whatever knew what had been happening prior to that day. If it took re-explaining three or four times during the course of the day, or going back to Page One and going straight through to the end, that's what happened.

It's not that our docs and nurses and therapy folks don't tell people what's going on: they do. In terms of communication and keeping people in the loop, we do very well as a team. I think the assumption is, though, that people in a stressful situation are going to remember the conversation you had with them last night. This is hardly ever true; they have so much going on internally that they often forget to, you know, eat. We do this every day; they've done this exactly zero times before, and so the stress level is huge.

All of this seems really obvious now that I look at it logically. Still, it's the only commonality I can come up with over the course of several years of being the Nut Wrangler. Explain, explain, explain. Warn, reassure, explain.

And, if all else fails, Xanax works wonders.

*** *** *** *** ***

Trivia Treat: Turns out one of our surgeons (not in our department, sadly, but still) used to fight in cage matches to make extra money.

How cool is that? "Twoooo goooo iiiinnnn....ONE coooommmmes ooouuut!" (/announcer voice)

Which explains a lot about this particular surgeon.


Judy said...

Sadly, my step daughter left so much mess behind in my Mom's house that only a total painting, recarpeting, repairing, and cleaning plus replacing everything removable could get the house ready for sale! And that doesn't address the outside!
At least you'll get to live in the house after all your work and not have to deal with the offenders daily. I'm the bad guy for being upset with said step-daughter for the mess she left behind...considering I'm the one who dealt with the mess I feel quite justified.

Anonymous said...

This is unrelated to your post, but I'm letting you know that Into The Unit is back up and posting.

shrimplate said...

It's true that some patients "forget to eat," and some forget *how* to eat and dump food all over themselves and their linens. Not that that's a bad thing.

GingerJar said...

Jo, a little suggestion...since I was once married to a contractor. There is this wonderful paint stuff you can get at Lowe's or Home Depot called "Kilz" (pronounced "kills" if I misspelled it) that you can use to cover just about anything, including dirt, mold, name it, prior to painting a wall eliminates having to prewash, pre-paint, prime and a multitude of other time intensive and muscle making jobs. Unfortunately everytime I tried to use in in one of the many "rent" houses I had to live in my hubby said it was too expensive...but when you think about 10 or 12 hours scrubbing compaired to one or two hours painting this stuff quickly becomes cost effective (think about how much you would make if you were at work instead of scrubbing walls). I having done much renovation stuff in years since I have moved on in life, but I know they still make this stuff and it's still great!

Jo said...

Ginger, I now feel really, really dumb.

See, I was under the impression that even with Kilz (which I'm using all over the place), one still had to scrub.


Well, at least the walls are clean under the Kilz. I'm honestly not sure it would've stuck to the worst bits. Plus, I wasn't crazy about the idea of having texturing on the walls.


Anonymous said...

The words "informal texturing" almost made me lose my lunch. You win.