Monday, October 12, 2009

Things I can't handle

I have learned many things since starting my job as a nurse. Most importantly, I've somewhat learned how to be a nurse, although I have a long ways to go.

I've also learned that there are some things that just make me queasy. And they're not the normal quease-inducing things that might normally affect other people. For example, I've had a patient roll over in bed and vomit directly onto my shoes. I've held fingers that are only hanging on to the rest of the hand by a few strings of skin. I've become closely acquainted with the nether regions of patients, whether it's placing a foley or enema or suppository. I've eaten a meal whilst discussing the variations in smells of blood, poo, vomit, and gangrene. I've made (very realistic) fake poo as a prank.

I've put my finger into the depressed skull fracture of a dead person. I've taken the rectal temperature of a dead person. I've taken a dead person to the morgue. I've wiped up pus after the doc lances a butt abscess. I've cleaned up raging diarrhea from a morbidly obese patient while that patient lays in bed - and still continues to spew forth more and more c.diff even while I'm wiping. I've unwrapped "a little cut" and with some quick probing realize it's a 10 inch long scalp laceration so deep I can see the skull. I've unwrapped "a little cut" and had a spurt of arterial blood land six feet away on the floor. I've unwrapped "I think this is a bad cut" and realized parts of flesh are missing completely. I've seen both little and bad cuts get stapled, steri-stripped, and stitched back into place.

I've seen, smelled and touched things that no normal person should ever come in contact with - and yet not only do I not get grossed out by these things, I actually have no negative thoughts towards them whatsoever. Some things, like blood spurting and limbs falling off and cracking a chest are actually really cool.

But lest you think I am impervious to all things gross, I have discovered that there are two things that gross me out, and one thing that threatens to make me pass out.

Two things that gross me out:
1. Anything that deals with eyeballs. Like touching them or having to deal with potential eyeball trauma. I saw a patient recently who had a traumatic eyeball injury, and it was gross. Heebie jeebie.

2. Loogies. There's a reason I'm not a respiratory therapist. Sputum is just, yeegh. I watched a trached patient cough a loogie halfway across the room, and I threw up a little in my mouth.

But for the one thing that threatens me with an ungraceful syncopal episode? Bones. Ortho stuff. Crunchy out of place bones. Dislocated joints thunking back into place. Ugh. The weird thing is that a badly mangled bone just minding it's own business doesn't bother me at all. Only when we start to manipulate it does it bother me. The power drilling, reducing, splinting, traction applying, and crunching really just makes me...whew...

I'm queasy just thinking about all the examples I could write about.

Let's just hope I have already reached my quease-inducing maximum number of things. I don't really want to discover any more.

7 comments:

PurpleRN said...

I have found that I am good with just about everything, except "stopping the bleeding."

We had a pt come back from cath. We had been told that the femoral puncture site was sealed up, doing fine, and she'd already had her 2 hrs of immobility. So imagine my surprise when I went to assess her and found fresh blood on the dressing.

I was really green at the time, so I called a more seasoned RN to help out. she told me to put pressure on the site while she alerted the doc.

I dunno what it was, but I started feeling really woozy and almost passed out. It wasn't the blood itself; I can watch someone bleed with no problem. It was pressing down on the vessel that did it.

I wrote it off as a one-time thing, having to do with such a major vessel etc. Until I took an IV out of a pt who was being DCd and she didn't listen to me about keeping her arm bent. I had to hold her AC for a few minutes and felt light headed there too...

But anything else, I can handle :)

lostonthefloor said...

Sputum? No problem. Vomit? C.Diff poop? Piece of cake. Bleeding femoral cath site? In my sleep (nearly literally...).

What gets me though? Urine. Not just any urine though. Renal failure urine. You know the kind...thick, syrupy, where lab calls and asks, "What is this? Urine?" and stinky. Gag reflex still intact...

Maha said...

Sputum and colostomy bag pooh is what makes me wish I took up accounting. *shudder*

Amanda said...

Uh, me too! Bones are gross for some reason. I do okay with the rest, although after a reeeally long day full of poop, I will sometimes get nauseous and have to leave the room!

And I have to tell you - I begin my L&D/OB rotation in a week and all I can think of is your blog title. For some reason I'm not looking forward to the rotation (is it THAT bad?) at all and your title at leasts makes me smile. :)

Guera Enfermera said...

Hear, hear my dear...
Give me urostomy whiz, arterial bleeding, C-diff poo, even snot, and I'll wade through it whilst eating a cupcake and singing.

But. Bones?
Suffice it to say, I took out a (not in use, thankfully) mayo tray and trash can when I fell out in clinicals during surgery rote.
I was peachy until Orthodoc broke out the power tools and I heard The Noise....
My instructor noted with a certain amount of pride that I made sure to go atonic AWAY from the sterile field, lol.

little d, S.N. said...

I'm so glad we all hate DIFFERENT things. I'm good with pretty much everything but vomit. Yeah. Vomit...unless my pt. is vomiting BLOOD, in which case, for some reason, it doesn't bother me AT ALL. Also, serious GI bleed diarrhea still gets to me...but then, I dont graduate until july...

Katie Gibson said...

Reading back on all your posts when I came across your blog. I am a nursing student aswell, and the more I read back, the more I feel like its actually me writing this.. We have so many similarities its freaky! bones erk me more then anything too!