Friday, March 5, 2010

Adventures in Nursing

I have an exciting job. I LOVE the fact that each day is different, each person has their own story, and everyday there is something to be learned. I also have a very weird, gross, and emotionally challenging job. But I love my job. My last day at work proves that in nursing you can never expect a dull day.
I came to work and got my patient assignment, 4 rather straightforward cases, or so I thought... One man had a GI bleed, usually not the patient you look forward to having. This involves the most disgusting smell you will ever smell in your entire life, usually blood transfusions, lots of trips to the commode, etc etc. Not pleasant. When I went into to meet the man he seemed like a nice normal guy... Then the night nurse giving me report proceeded to tell me how exactly my patient got the GI bleed. I'll keep this PG-rated as I think some of my older family members read this, (Hi Gramma!). Apparently the man had put something in his rectum for pleasure, and ended up with a very bad lower GI bleed. Apparently the man was unaware of his internal hemorrhoids. YUCK. Luckily, after one easy colonoscopy and a few clips inside his colon he was good to go!
One of my other patients was a 90-something year old woman admitted from a nearby skilled-nursing home. I forget her diagnosis, but it's unimportant to the gross story ahead. At breakfast the woman said she could feed herself just fine so I proceeded to set up her table and make sure she could swallow before leaving her to her own devices. After about 3o minutes it was apparent that she wasn't going to feed herself as she fell asleep in her breakfast. So as lunches came around and I knew my aide was busy I decided to be the nice nurse and help my little old lady eat. We got through the mashed potatoes, the turkey and most of the soup just fine. Then came a hard piece of celery from the soup and she bit right down on it with one of her two front teeth (these two teeth made up about 90% of the teeth she had left). I heard a loud crack and she spits her front tooth out at me... I almost puked. Probably one of the grossest moments in my nursing career. I can handle blood, poop, vomit, but not a nasty tooth! Especially because this left the old lady with only one front tooth, and really only one top tooth left. Oh, and my charge nurse made me save it! Nasty!
Later that afternoon we had an ROP student working on our floor. They are high school students who get class credit and come help out our nurses aides for a few hours each week. It was this particular girls second week at the hospital and the first week while helping with some vital signs she got cool, clammy and pale. We checked her blood pressure and it was 80/40, so we put her in the conference room and gave her a bunch of fluids, then sent her home early. This week someone decided it would be exciting for her to watch a PICC line placed (a catheter that goes from your arm all the way up into your heart.) This process involves a scalpel, blood, needles, etc. Not a good thing to watch if you're squeamish, and sure enough just minutes into the procedure the ROP student faints and falls head first to the ground. She woke up pretty quickly but didn't remember a thing and had a laceration on her chin. I wheeled her to the ER where she got a few stitches and proceeded to call her mom and mention nursing might not be the best career choice for her!
And that was just another day at my job!

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