Wednesday, June 4, 2008

There's a Moon Out Tonight.

You know why many nurses are superstitious?? Because it is ALL true. The full moon and the days preceding and the days after make people nuts. If you say the "Q" word (quiet...ahem) all hell is going to break loose. If you reminisce about a "frequent flier" patient that was particularly horrible or had an insane family ( or both) they WILL be admitted within the next week to the floor and YOU will have them as your assignment. This last one actually happened to me THREE times. I kid you not. One time, one of my adorable co-irkers ( NOT a typo) said "You guys remember blah, blah, blah with the crazy sister who broke down and told us they were MORE than siblings? what ever happened to him??" I swear to you not two days later I was suctioning orange and black sprinkles out of him from a donut he was force fed at the rehab facility. It was October, hence the black and orange.

So when you get smacked in the head enough with these "truths" you have to believe it.

And I made that mistake this past week. I was thinking..."you know, I have not had a REALLY sick patient in a while." Enter the ICU gods. You want a REALLY, REALLY, REALLY sick patient, chicky, you are gonna get it. I dared to think it. And I only thought it...I never said it aloud. I wouldn't dare!

I was up for the "hit", meaning I had one patient and should there be an admission from ER or a code blue in the hospital...I would be the nurse taking that patient. Now, many times this is a "roll the dice and take your chances" position. Many times the supervisor likes to leave us with an open bed, in case there is a code in the house. So you could cruise through the night with only one patient and not get anything, OR if you are me, you get a broken person, who needs to be fixed or patched the best you can.

Now, we work 12.5 hours shifts. Admissions are quite a bit of work for the most part. Charts to put together, blood work, assessment of the whole patient, teaching with the family, questions, phone calls and the is on top of the PHYSICAL caring for the patients EVERY need..on and on. Me? I would rather get the patient early in my shift, so I have time to wade through the crap and pull it together by morning. I will admit that I am not the best nurse when it comes to charting. I find it boring and tedious. I would rather be doing ANYTHING else. Plus, it is pointless for the most part. Checking boxes, writing the same things over and over.

Anyway, the other night I got a "train wreck" of a patient. Having a HUGE, HUGE heart attack right in front of my eyes. And really, she was so sick all I could do was chase my tail all night and put out fire after fire when they came up. Her heart rate would be high, her blood pressure low, her blood sugar high, her oxygen saturation low. I never got anywhere. I was struggling and the quick sand was covering me. I thank heaven my co-workers kept throwing me a rope and letting me know I at least asking the right questions, doing the right things.

I am not a person who gets frazzled easily, that night was one where I was on the verge. It only happens from time to time. That night was a doozy.

But I need nights like those. They remind me..goddamn, I do not know it all, I need my co-workers more than I can imagine and that I really like busting my ass every now and again. Now listen up ICU gods...I do not need a night like that all the time, but it does remind me that I know more than I think I do ( sometimes) and I am not bad at my job ( most times) And you know what...I get PAID to work, not sit on my ass. Sometimes I need to be slapped around with that fact, even it I feel like puking in the morning and my legs are jumpy in bed cuz they are not used to being still.


Moose Ridge said...

I know that the full moon is a fact -- I work in a funeral home and the moon brings out every looney there is to call and ask questions... and then, of course, we get all the ones that you lose the fight on.... think happy thoughts!!

robin bird said...

i had rachel on the full moon...she waited a full 2 weeks in order to come on that very day. it was erie and very frustrating waiting on that moon...that is an example of a good full moon thing :) Olivia was also born at the full moon but she was exactly on time.
you know what heidi? as much a smart a__ as you are i would want to be admitted and cared for you on the full moon or otherwise. you are an awesome person and i know you are a very competent nurse. i know nursing...yes i do. another really important thing that shows in spite of your mouth goin' off here and there; you are compassionate and i bet you even cry sometimes for your patients. i know i do.
i've been waiting for you to post this week. i jumped right on the bus to get on over here as soon as i saw your post pop up :)