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.