Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Give me sugar...in water...

Last night, I came the closest I've ever been to peeing my pants at work. I didn't even have to pee, either - it was 100% scare related. Let me explain.

As I was giving report off to a coworker just before I danced out the door at 0300, she very insistently leans over and says, "pick your feet up."

You know that tone of voice where someone goes from jovial to deadly serious in a nanosecond, but is also trying to keep it together so as not to panic someone? That same tone of voice when you spot a loose puppy trying to run out in traffic but you don't want to yell at them to come back because it will just freak them out? Yeah, that's the one. You understand.

Anyway, coworker gets a look on her face with that voice tone and even though we had just been laughing about something stupid I instantly knew she wasn't messing around and picked my feet up. Of course, I then look down to see why.

THE BIGGEST COCKROACH I'VE EVER SEEN WAS ABOUT TO CRAWL UP MY LEG.

I let out the most embarrassing sound, tried to push my rolling chair away from the desk and simultaneously stomp the bejeesus out of that monster while not touching it. Fortunately, the cockroach scurried away in the same direction as my chair, I leapt out and smushed it into a million bits.

I'm very certain that if it had crawled up my pant leg, I would have screamed and cried and peed my pants. And wouldn't that be a blog story to tell...


thanks for the gif!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Miracles do happen

I witnessed a glorious miracle last night at work.

Backstory: A 28 year old woman takes the cabulance in to the hospital for multiple minor complaints, some of which she's had for years. It's 10:42 pm when she rolls through the doors, on a Monday night. Miracle part 1 is that this patient is waved off to triage - too often, a patient gets a bed here just because they come via ambulance when too many little pawpaws are patiently waiting out front with real complaints.

I see her in Express Care, because she's 28 with minor complaints and that's how shit goes. Her xrays are back an hour later, but because I've got 15 other patients too out there it takes a bit to get her discharged. Finally, around 12:30 am she's ready to go. I've got her dc papers, her 800 mg motrin, and her ace wrap ready to go. "How am I gonna get home?" she asks. I shrug and continue the discharge because FFS, you're an adult so you figure it out.

She asks to speak with social work for a cab voucher. I tell her no. She demands. I call social work, who says no. I relay that to the patient, who then demands to speak to the charge nurse. I die a little inside, but let her sit there for 20 minutes and then go get charge. On our way back out to talk with this little shit of a patient I learn that the yelling and "Fuck you, I want a sandwich*" I heard earlier in the night was, in fact, from this very patient.

Charge nurse flat out refuses the bus pass, cab voucher, and even the demands to speak with the house supervisor, all through a very Oscar-worthy attempt at tears, sob story, and putting multiple family/friends on speaker phone to plead the case/yell/curse/cry on behalf of the patient.

MIRACLE TIME: After another 15 minutes of near-continuous bitching, a ride magically shows up at the front door to pick her up.

Imagine that.


*not even exaggerating this demand

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Brains are scary sometimes...

So I had an incredibly horrifying yet weirdly educational and interesting experience happen to me today. To set the scene a bit, I've been busy this weekend so haven't gotten much sleep over the past few days, and have been slightly more stressed than usual over life/work/all the normal things. When I woke up this morning it was raining outside - a deafening thunderstorm with constant downpour of rain. I honestly love thunderstorms because they sound so calming, but they're not easy to sleep through. Today's was a doozie of one, hence the early wake up.

All of these things must have melded together in my brain today because upon becoming aware, I experienced something for the first time ever - sleep paralysis.

Anyone else ever had that? It's FUCKING TERRIFYING, fyi.

I woke up, and my first thought was "joy! A thunderstorm! I like them." I then attempted to roll over to get a better view of the rain and realized that I couldn't move. Obviously that immediately sent me into panic mode because I also realized I wanted to breathe deeply and couldn't which made me feel like the thunderstorm was drowning me. I kept trying to move and also felt a strange buzzing throughout my body, almost like I was touching a low voltage wire or something.

This lasted for a good ten or fifteen seconds, which were intensely terrifying. The interesting part comes in when, and I have no idea how, I realized exactly what was happening to me. At some point I realized that I was still waking up and had probably disrupted REM sleep. I tried again to move or breathe but couldn't, yet recognized that this is a thing which happens to people - it was just a neurological phenomenon, albeit a scary one. I realized that I was lucky and wasn't hallucinating any shadow figures or noises, which helped calm me back down. After that mini pep-talk, I figured I'd just wait it out. Sure enough, another few seconds later I was fully awake and able to move again.

Not that I ever want to experience this again, but it was kind of cool after the fact to have recognized exactly what was happening while it was still happening.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Instant karma

I picked up an extra shift yesterday because dollar dollar bills y'all, but even that didn't put me in a joyful mood. What DID make me extremely happy though was seeing sweet, sweet karma in action.

The parking garage I use has two ticket dispensers and gates at the entrance, and then two credit card machines and gates at the exit on the other side of the garage. On the entry ticket dispenser is a giant sign that tells you it's one dollar to get out, but to PLEASE PAY AT THE EXIT. It's literally right above the ticket button and dispenser.

So I pull up at the entrance and roll my window down to badge in. In the second entry lane is a car with four young adults. Late teens, early twenties perhaps? The driver is trying to shove a dollar bill into the ticket dispenser, and comically failing at it. He's getting super pissed that the slot won't take his money, so I said "hey, if you push the button it'll give you a ticket and the gate will open. The money slot is on the exit side, for when you leave." I was seriously nice about it because everyone fucks up now and then and it's embarrassing when people see you do stupid stuff like push on a pull door, or walk confidently into a locked door thinking it will open.

Instead of being gracious about it, the driver goes "I know how to fucking get into the garage, lady" and one of the girls in the backseat gave me the finger. So I shrugged and badged in, because I was late anyway and it's a bad look if I tell a visitor to shove it and then have to be their nurse ten minutes later.

But watching through my rearview mirror gave me a great show - as soon as I pulled through, the guy hits the ticket button and the gate opens. He has to jump back into the car to get through the gate in time, and floors the gas. In his haste to get through he hits the curb and pops a tire.

I know this makes me an asshole, but seriously - sometimes karma is instant, and it's amazing.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Phoning it in

When it comes to completing mandatory Important Things at work, I am


But no seriously,  I am. Four+ years of travel nursing means I gave exactly zero fucks about mandatory things. Meetings, online modules, you name it and I didn't care about it. People would ask if I had done this inservice or that online class yet, and I'd just shimmy dance out the door with a NOOOOOOPE on my lips and a smile on my face.

Well, I'm back to full time now. And it sucks. A lot. I missed my first three staff meetings because, again, I didn't give a fuck. When I had my yearly evaluation last month the supervisor was super chill about it but also was like "hey you need to attend staff meetings or you might get fired." I asked what the minimum number was, because I thought it was four - to attend at least one quarterly. INCORRECT. It's eight per year. Which is total bs because I don't want to drag myself out of bed at 0600 every month to drive to the hospital in stupid amounts of traffic just for a 90 minute meeting.

Enter in the greatest thing on earth, at least when it comes to staff meetings: Conference calls! I attended the staff meeting today without pants on. It was GLORIOUS, and I'm a little upset that I've had to wait over thirty years to do something like this.

I'm still not entirely thrilled about having to keep up to date on Important Things again, but at least I'm off to a good start in the giving-a-fuck category.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Our future

Doctor, to the extra-bitchy twat in room 61: "Well, your pregnancy test came back positive."

Twat: "Ugh. Positive for WHAT?!

DTTEBTIR61: "Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmm..."

Monday, January 9, 2017

Casual racism

So a mother brings her kid in to the ER last night for a fever and cough x4 days.

As per usual, the kid was bundled up in far too many layers and the last dose of tylenol had been at least 12 hours before. The fever of 103.4 was promptly medicated by the nurse in triage, and then the tech walked the mom and kid back to my treatment room. She dropped them off and came out to let me know the patient had arrived, and dropped the phrase "of course the kid has a fever, he's wrapped in all those stupid blankets and Pakistani shit."

First of all, you asshole, the mother was Burmese. You would know that if you had bothered to ask what language she spoke. Second, you assuming she didn't speak English doesn't give you the right to talk at her instead of to her. Third thing, so what if she was from Pakistan? Or India? Or Canada? Who the fuck cares? Last, please find out why she didn't give tylenol before you talk trash.

For the record, the mother spoke passable English - enough that I needed a translator for discharge instructions, but could communicate in English to offer her water or tell her we needed to recheck a rectal temperature on the kid. Thus I had to apologize for the shitty behavior of a tech, because the mother overheard everything and could understand the casual racism being doled out. The kid ended up having pneumonia, so the zyrtec and tylenol her pediatrician had given earlier in the week won't help that. Last dose of tylenol was given so long ago because the dad accidentally took the bag with meds to work with him, and the kid was bundled up because it was really fucking cold outside AND THEY WALKED TO THE ER.

For fuck's sake, this makes me mad.

***
I'm guilty of being irritated when people don't medicate their kids, or show up for incredibly minor complaints. But there's a big difference between irritation at lazy/apathetic parenting vs people in a tough spot doing the best they can. And also I try not to be a racist asshole.

Monday, January 2, 2017

2017

I had a great NYE. It's been a crazy busy month with house buying, parents visiting, trying to unpack a house before parents visit, and all that jazz. So for New Years, my husband and I put on pajamas, cooked a glorious fancy steak meal, drank way too much champagne, and didn't leave the house.

New Year's Day started off equally great. We made breakfast, I drank a pot of coffee, it was a beautiful day. And then I went to work.

Where within fifteen minutes of my arrival at the hospital, my second patient of the day was immediately intubated and the shitshow of a shift went downhill from there.

Welcome to 2017.

Sigh.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

BYE

Patient: I need help from alcohol. I want to be admitted for detox, I'm never drinking again. I'm done.

Me: Okay, we can help you. Let me go get some stuff together so I can start an IV, and I'll be right back.

...

Two minutes later from all the way down the hallway I hear, "NO! YOU CAN'T TAKE THAT! THAT'S MINE! FUCK ALL YALL THIEVES! I'M OUTTA HERE!"

And he runs past me with a handle of vodka in one hand, tervis tumbler full of vodka in the other hand, out the door and into that good night.


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

It's been a minute. Let's catch up!

Which excuses should I offer this time for the sparse blogging?

Alas, I have none to offer other than lack of motivation - it's been quite the eventful few months, both at work and in home life, but I just haven't found the energy to blog regularly. With that said, let's update!

The biggest news pertaining to this blog and work life is that I am officially done travel nursing. I've been getting closer to that over the past year or so, but it's set in stone now. I completed my last travel contract a couple weeks ago and signed full time with that hospital. There are still places I wanted to travel to, but life took me this direction instead. At this point, I needed a stable job and health insurance more than I needed the freedom of travel nursing. Because...

We bought a house! Well, we're buying a house. Title papers aren't signed yet, so technically it's not our house, but we're getting there. Next week is closing, and barring disaster it will be ours. I am SO EXCITED! It's a fantastic place - except for lacking a screened porch, it checks off on every single wish list point we had. Larger property? Yup. Two story? You bet. New? Damn right! Multiple other things we wanted? Definitely. It's amazing. And thus begins the home ownership phase of life, appropriately referred to as "Coping with the Joys of Home Ownership" on our inspection binder.

Married life has been well. We've had four excellent months so far and still like each other, so that seems like a plus. Everyone is asking when we're going to have kids, but at this time I just seem to be accumulating cats and I'm totally okay with that.

Work has been good - this hospital is far less dysfunctional than most places I've worked. There will always be negative aspects to ERs, but this one seems like they've got their stuff together. Problems exist but at least management seems to recognize that those problems are real and attempt to address them, instead of pretending everything is fine. The staff is pretty excellent, and the docs are overall great to work with.

The patient population is a mix of bougie upper class snooty people, trauma, psych, and 10% totally normal people. It's a weird mix. But overall pretty enjoyable, and I get plenty of exercise in eye rolling at the BS that goes on. I haven't actually started in trauma yet since I'm fresh off the travel nurse gig, but that will hopefully be phased in over the next few months. And don't tell anyone, but I'm secretly excited to start working triage again. As hellacious as the front can be, deep down I love it because the blogging shenanigans well runs deep out there.

I think that's just about everything for now. I keep telling myself that I need to start exercising again and blogging more, so hopefully I can stick to at least one of those. At any rate, if you don't hear from me soon it's probably because I picked the gym over this blog and am gettin' swole*.

Cheers!




*HAHAHAHA that's a lie; I'm definitely sitting on the couch eating triscuits at the exact moment you're reading this...and nowhere near the gym.


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Overheard

Overheard on night shift:

Coworker: We're just gonna put a dressing on this and then you can go home!
5 year old: Is it ranch?! I like ranch dressing!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Different hospital, same BS

I think one of my greatest irritations as an ER nurse is when a patient and their family can spend literally all day in the department asking when they're going to be sent home, and then four seconds after I remove the IV to finally discharge them someone says, "can you ask the doctor about this one thing?"

FOR FUCKS SAKE, people?! If you've been in the department eleven hours, and you've only just now remembered this complaint, I can guarantee you it doesn't need to be addressed emergently.

Like this lady the other day. She was there, no joke, through multiple nurses. I finally get the joy of discharging her, and as soon as I pulled the 22G intensely-difficut-to-place IV she goes "you know, I forgot to ask the doctor about this issue. Can you tell me what could be causing it?"

I politely answer that it could be many things, and that her recent bloodwork via PCP showed it to be normal but that we didn't test for it today because wouldn't ya know, she didn't complain about it. What then ensued was a prolonged request for the doctor to come back in to address it. I'm new at this hospital, so I don't know the docs very well yet - thus I was dragging ass to relay this request. As much as I can't stand not being able to discharge someone, the docs hate it even more. Top it off with a strange nurse asking them to come do my work for me...it's not a good combination.

The doctor was fortunately very nice and came back in, and had a good long conversation with this lady about multiple things. His poor scribe, who had already clocked out, very kindly stayed late to document all this foolishness. After they both wandered away, I went back in with the discharge paperwork. "Oh!" she said, "I forgot to ask him about the main thing I wanted to know!"

I can't win.

Friday, August 5, 2016

I'm still alive!

It's just been a month since I've been on blogger. But forgive me, I've been busy getting married! Cross country, no less, which required dragging everything over a thousand miles and forcing an entire side of the family to fly to the nuptials, then driving all the way home again afterwards. Good times!

But now I'm married and I go on a relaxing vacation this coming week and then, maybe, I'll be back to blogging. I will have a new assignment and all, which should be a real good time.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Justice

So you all know I've been burnt out a bit recently. I love the ER, I really do, but my fuse at work has become so short. Rude patients and inane orders and the general bullshittery of hospital admin used to roll off my back way smoother than it does now. Some days are better than others but more often than not I have bad days with good moments as opposed to good days with bad moments.

That said, tonight was a bad day with a bad moment in the midst of general admin BS. I had discharged a patient and admitted two others within about 15 minutes of each other, so obviously on a busy Friday night those three rooms immediately got slammed with new patients. One patient was super sick, one patient was meh but required a large workup, and one had acute on chronic back pain. Guess who rang the callbell within the first five minutes to ask for pain medicine?

I went into back pain guys' room with an entire armful of stuff and told him that I had just gotten slammed, needed to give some meds next door, and would be back as soon as I could to get him settled. He mumbled something that sounded suspiciously like "bitch," which I ignored. Ten minutes later I'm knee deep in saline bag wrappers and tubing bits and second IV starts and blood cultures on the sick patient, and my phone rings with a message from the secretary that chronic pain guy has called multiple times wanting his medication.

I finally make it back into the room and start to apologize for the delay, but the guy says "just get me my fucking pain medication, you told me you'd be back like twenty minutes ago." I started to explain that the ER is busy, I have multiple patients, whatever, and he cut me off to berate me for not being in three places at once and also to call me a cunt. I just turned around mid-sentence and walked out, where I ran into the charge nurse - let me tell you, fucking no one gets to call me a cunt and get away with it.

Charge was great, and after hearing me rage volunteered to go start the IV and medicate since I refused to deal with the guy. I got the call a few minutes later that it was okay to go back in, and upon doing so I noticed that the patient had the most beautiful IV ever. It was a gorgeous orange 14G jelco right in the forearm. I nearly cried. It's good to know that my charge nurse will defend my honor with a giant needle.

The charge nurse also told the doc what was going on, who unbeknownst to me went in and read the riot act to this guy. I have no idea what he said, but when I came back in later the patient was apologetic and super polite.

Honestly, it was unbelievably refreshing to have a charge nurse and doctor stick up for me, and it felt even better that the message got through to the patient. Or maybe it was just the garden hose in his arm. Who knows.



*it's late and I'm tired, so this post needs some serious editing but idgaf. deal with it!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Trolls

In nearly all scenarios, I loathe the ER trolls who seem to spend all their energy just trying to demoralize me. But sometimes the rare troll comes along who I not only mind, but find hilarious. This week, that rare patient was a very elderly, demented Hispanic man. Not the normal troll flavor, trust.

He was in for the usual "history of dementia but is extra confused today" chief complaint that is so prevalent, and my first interaction with him via the translator seemed to solidify that story. He was talking nonstop but making little sense, and the only thing the translator could firmly get was that he wanted to go home. Until his daughter, who kindly translated everything for us, arrived. He then transformed into a troll in front of my very eyes.

I was pulling supplies from the cabinet when I heard him, quite clearly, call me crazy. My Spanish fluency can be qualified as nonexistent hot garbage, but there are some words I can pull the context clues from and when I heard this I whipped my head around the cabinet door to look at him. He made eye contact and just grinned, like he was testing the waters to see if I was paying attention. That bastard.

This was pretty much the face that greeted me from around the cabinet.
While I was drawing bloodwork, he very emphatically called me a vampire, and when I started laughing he told his daughter "Why's she laughing? Vampires are not funny!" I felt bad momentarily for laughing at this guy, and then caught him smirking at his daughter. She was also clearly trying to hold back sympathy laughter as she recognized exactly what was happening, but also seemed like a good sport so I decided to mess with him back. I happened to have an extra blood tube in reach, so after drawing the necessary blood I made sure he saw me draw the last extra one and not-at-all-subtly slip it into my pocket. Fortunately I didn't freak him out and he decided I was hilarious, then kept laughing and calling me a vampire the rest of the night.

I changed his pull-up before he went upstairs, and he kept telling his daughter "she's not strong enough to lift me up!" and that I would need help to roll him. Of course it was a crazy busy night so it took a few minutes to get another staff member in to help. As soon as my coworker gets ready to roll him, he starts cackling and lifts his bony ass up off the bed so I could slide the brief out. Literally it was the easiest pull-up change ever and my coworker clearly thought I was crazy for needing help with an almost totally independent old man. 

Seriously. He was a steady stream of trollery, far beyond what I've listed here. I'm a proud person but I know when to admit defeat. And defeated I was. Well done, old man. Well done.