Thursday, May 30, 2013

too close for comfort

OK this is getting to close for comfort.  I had my 3rd person who either tried to die or died in the last 2 weeks.  Two of the three died. The thing is they were, shall we say, within my age range.  What the hell is going on here?  Why, all of a sudden are people close to my age keeling over and trying to die on a regular basis?

Am I getting old?  Am I doomed? Makes me stop and wonder...

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

potlucks and enemas

Three of us are sitting in the breakroom...we had a potluck that day.  So we're chowing down and one of my co workers is talking about giving someone an enema.  I start laughing. I said "Only a nurse could keep eating while hearing about an enema." Did we stop eating?  Of course not.

There is a law about polucks in the ER:


Monday, May 27, 2013

when efforts are futile

My best friend at work retired yesterday.  It makes me really sad.  I will miss  her a lot.
When you are in the military and in a war zone, you get whats called hazardous duty pay.  Yesterday we should have all have received HDP in our ER. It was that kind of day.  A day that when you walk out the door you feel like you have been run over by a truck.

My first patient was a hysterical  person by ambulance who didn't speak english.  Did her family come with?  Of course not.  When I say hysterical I mean yelling at the top of their lungs in a language nobody understood.

We have this video interpreter service we use prior to getting a live and in person interpreter.  So imagine this , you are sitting at home on a Sunday morning..the call comes in for an interpreter.   You take the job.   No big deal, routine.  You come on the screen and are faced with a 300 pound hysterical person shouting at the top of thier lungs.  Did I mention they were hard of hearing?

This might sound cruel but I wanted to slap her across the face and say "snap out of it!" like they do in the movies when someone is hysterical.

My day only got worse from there. My patient walked in, an hour later they were dead.  The person wasn't elderly. An unexpected death.

This is probably the most stressful thing that can happen in the ER.  Unexpected critical events.  When someone is coming by ambulance in critical condition, we can prepare for it.  When something happens unexpectedly in the ER, it creates chaos. Eventually the chaos settles, but it stresses everyone out.  Its so hard when you are in a code, the person is not old and you realize your efforts are futile.  They aren't going to come back no matter what you do.

Then there is the family who eventually enter the room of their dead loved one, in a state of disbelief.  They start wailing.  It makes you tear up.  More family arrive and the sounds of their grief travel through the ER.
Those are the situations that stay with you for a few days.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

living forever isn't all that great

I'm not 88 or 95 years old.  I don't know what its like to be at that age.  One thing I wonder about is why do  a lot of the very elderly put themselves through all of these complicated medical procedures?  Like being resuscitated and going through a hypothermia therapy. The risk of TPA.  Being on dialysis.  Taking a chance on a major operation.

Is it because their children want them to? Are they afraid to die? So many people are uneducated about health care.  They don't realize that they may survive the procedure but it is the recovery process that will kill them.  They will develop complications.  Just being in a hospital environment exposes them to so much risk. The chances of them making it are minimal.

I hope by the time I reach that age, we have started to deal with the fact that we can't continue to keep our very elderly alive with  medical care that will only make them suffer in the end.  I hope, but I doubt it will happen.  We want to live forever

Thursday, May 16, 2013

wheelchair follies

This elderly confused man is picked up by medics on the street.  Here's the thing: He uses an electric wheelchair. Of course the medics can't take the wheelchair with them to the hospital....

So, what, you are asking will happen to the wheelchair?  It will be towed away like a car and
put in an impound lot.  Yeah, I'm not kidding.

I wonder if he will have to pay to get it out?  Chances are he doesn't have a van to cart his wheelchair what?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Monday, May 06, 2013

the reality of being an ER nurse

One of my co workers dropped a pearl of wisdom on me this weekend.  This might surprise you, but this is what she said: "Coming here has become a lot easier since I have decided that I hate this place".

Probably sounds funny to say it was a pearl of wisdom...but it  got me to thinkin'...  The first inclination when someone says that is to say: Why do you work here if you hate it? You should move on, etc. blah blah blah.  Then I realized what she was saying:  I hate it here, I'm going  to hate it here, but I have to work here for whatever personal reason I have and I accept that it will not ever be anything different, so I accept that.

That might sound cynical and negative, but at least it is realistic. I work it in a terrible environment. It is outdated, shabby, too small, noisy.  It makes my job harder.  Every day there is a new change, from charting to equipment to any other idiotic change that comes down from above. These are going to happen and I have no control over it because basically those that make the changes don't really care what I think.  I can't make the ER over so the environment won't change anytime soon.

Now, lets talk about the patients.  A lot of them are shitheads. Even the nice people who are nice in the real word can be shitheads in the ER.  I deal with the dysfunctional, the addicted, the mentally ill, the ineffective copers, the stupid on a daily basis.  It is the reality of my job.  My job is thankless.

The point of all of this? Acceptance.  I work in a shitty, stressful environment.  A lot of the patients are shitheads. I have little control of change. I choose to keep working here. For years, I have wanted it to be different, stressed over the fact that it isn't different.  Stressed over the fact that it won't change.  Expected it to change. Accepting reality makes it so much easier.  Look around you.  This is it. This going to be it today, tomorrow, next week. You can leave or you can accept the reality that hits you in the face every day.  Then when something good happens it will be a pleasant surprise

Sunday, May 05, 2013


In the middle of my weekend to work.  Because the weather here sucks,  apparently people have nothing else to do but come to the ER....