…at all times
This doesn’t really have much to do with healthcare or nursing. Get over it. You’ll like this story. I went to my local farmer’s market today hoping to pick up some nice fresh organic produce to take home and then try to disguise as much as possible in dinner so the hubs would eat it. From the parking lot there is a little path through the trees that takes you to the market. As I was walking toward this path, a woman comes tromping out with a bag full of market goods and two leashes attached to two dogs that are trailing behind her. One of these leashes was a ‘two-in-one’. As in two collars attached to one leash. Apparently its hard to hold two leash handles in one hand. I don’t know. My concern would be more for the inevitable tangle any dogs of mine would make out of a setup like that. Anyway, one little dog had his own single leash and the other little dog was occupying one of the two collars on the two-in-one. The second collar was bumping and dragging along next to him as he trailed after his human who was beelining for her Prius. As I’m seeing this, the first thing that pops into my head (immediately after I lament about the illiteracy rates in my state as this woman clearly could not read the “no dogs in market” sign posted at the entrance) is “wouldn’t it be funny if there was supposed to be a dog attached to that leash”. Or maybe she just hopes for a third someday down the road and she’s the uber prepared type. Then as I am walking down the path towards the market I hear a man say, “is this anyone’s dog?” and sure enough moments later a little dog comes trotting my way, happy as a clam and without a collar or care in the world, fur blowing in the breeze. I can’t help but hear Mel Gibson’s voice in my head yelling “Freeeeedom!!” He makes his way past me and towards the parking lot. I turn around and manage to reach him just as he’s entering the busy parking lot, only to scare the bejezus out of him and make him dart even quicker into oncoming traffic. The other guy who first noticed him is running after the oblivious owner as I’m in turn weaving in and out of cars that are kindly stopping for this little guy. I finally am able to pick him up and (all the while hoping he doesn’t bite me) walk him over to his owner who, interestingly enough, can’t be bothered to even thank me. Damn ungrateful woman! I should have just kept him and named him Winston.
Kinda annoyed that we have to share it with teachers. They deserve an entire week unto themselves! Dealing with all those snot nosed little whiners. God bless ’em!
So I’d like to extend a very happy Nurse’s Week nod to each and every nurse and nurses aide out there!! Every single day I’m honored to work with such amazing human beings that have a limitless capacity for caring, intellect, humor, compassion, critical thinking, quick action, loyalty, vigor, forgiveness, resilience etc etc etc etc. As the cliche goes, it’s very often a thankless job. We’re easy targets for both patients and those giving us orders. Because nurses are the front line, we are the ‘do-ers’, the go betweeners, we are the final check before critical medications and interventions. I wish we did just what some of the public perceived; took blood pressures, refilled water pitchers, held hands, wiped ass and smiled politely while doctors ordered us around….but we don’t. We work in a world of constant distractions. We not not only take care of critically ill people but we also take care of their parents, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins & siblings. We are constantly asked questions, constantly explaining what we are doing and why, constantly being scrutinized, and I understand because I cannot imagine a greater fear than giving up your body and control to a stranger. We are constantly getting phone calls from radiology, from ekg techs, from ultrasound sonographers, from pharmacists, from the lab, from the blood bank, from phlebotomy, from social workers, and from families. We are constantly coordinating everything for every service We are searching for our patients charts, calling doctors, updating flow sheets, reordering labs that were ordered incorrectly to begin with, and assessing…always assessing. When we come into the room to ask if you’re comfortable and leave 30 seconds later we’ve scanned your entire body, countenance, and environment making sure everything is status quo and noting even the smallest change. We know from hour to hour, really from minute to minute, a patient can deteriorate in the blink of an eye. We are constantly checking orders from physicians, making sure we have orders we need, making sure we get orders we don’t have, and making sure all of these orders are safe for the patient. We are giving medications, checking and double checking, checking to make sure the 8, 9 and/or 10 medications that are running in with each other are even compatible, checking to make sure some medications don’t run out…because that could be life threatening, making sure doses are correct, and making sure they are being giving to the patient they are intended for. We are also hunting down family to sign consents, updating them as their loved one is in surgery, and holding them when they watch as Mom has a cardiac arrest. We are constantly ‘doing’. We wear 30 different hats. We are the coordinators, the educators, the advocates, the comforters, the realists, the ‘last check’, the shoulders to cry on, the hands to hold. We do all of this in 12 hours, because 8 simply isn’t enough. We do all of this with a smile on our face, because we love what we do. Every single person I work with absolutely, without a doubt, loves what they do. We work hard, we don’t take breaks, rarely sit down, we get lunch when we can, we trust each other implicitly, and we rarely complain. We want to be in the thick of it all and we are always one step ahead. No matter what happens, we are prepared. We are the eyes and the ears. And then we go home and we struggle to find a way to turn off. Sometimes I can’t. Sometimes I lie in bed and think about a particular incident that happened during the day, or a particular family member that rode my ass all day and that I have to get up tomorrow morning and face for another 12 hours…and I do it with a smile. Because when it comes down to it, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
…i run into my gynecologist at Lululemon whilst browsing for new workout threads. I mean, we’re all professionals here, but that brief eye contact as our paths intersect in the tank top section was aaaaawkward. I could see her wheels turning trying to figure out how she knew me (we’re relatively new to each other). I briefly thought about dropping trow and assuming the lithotomy position so she could recognize me, then my better judgement overcame and I exited the store like I’d just stolen something.