Twelve Days of Fabulous. #7: Crazy Bitches

The six steps to having a crazy patient.

Step 1: Realization Shit, this bitch is crazy!

Step 2: Endurance I can handle this crazy wench!

Step 3: Surrender I’ve had enough of this crazy psycho hose beast!

Step 4: Guilt Well, we’re all crazy whores sometimes.

Step 5: Confirmation Co-worker, “You’re patient in 502B is a crazy cunt face.”

Step 6: Delight “Yes, I know, huh??!!!!!?”

When your co-worked confirms that your crazy patient really is crazy its just so fucking fabulous.

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Twelve Days of Fabulous. #8: Your patient can’t remember your name.

Shelley, Kacey, Kim, Nellie, Kristal, Kerry, Khloe, Mary, Salley, Kristen, Smelly, Nelly, Katie, Kallie, Kelsey, Kaitlyn, Karen…this goes on all shift.

After the hundredth time of repeating your name you finally settle for “Nurse” or “Hey, You”.

Then you hear it.

Your name being shouted from your patient’s room. The feeling of dread washes over you just like when your mom shouted your full name when you were little.

 You walk into your patient’s room only to discover that your patient is covered in shit from head to toe.

With an exasperated sigh you grumble, “Now you remember my name, fucking fabulous!”

Empathy check.

“They may forget your name but they will never forget how you made them feel.”-Maya Angelou

Empathy check time.

I do like to joke about my experiences in the hospital but it’s nice to get an empathy check every now and then.

We have a very tough, emotional job and it can be very draining. Our lives are stressful and often times it feels like we’re just stretched too thin.

Death, sickness, mental illnesses, doctors, managers, protocols, meetings, projects, charting, co-workers, unions, money, kids, holidays, marriages…The list goes on.

Empathy tends to get forgotten in this jumbled mess, but it still remains our most valuable tool. Putting ourselves in our patients’ shoes is something that we’re excellent at. Simply stopping and thinking, “How would I want to be treated?” can change how we treat that grin-and-bear-it type patient. Thinking of patients as ‘real’ people also puts it in perspective. This is someone’s best friend, mother, sister, son, father, brother, daughter.

I became a nurse because my mom died from breast cancer over 5 years ago. I found out the same week that I was pregnant with my first child and that my mom had cancer. Tough week. I was 6 months pregnant when she passed away. When she passed away, I wasn’t even in nursing school yet. Whenever I think back on her illness and death, two things stand out.

First thought that comes to mind is how ignorant I was of death. I honestly did NOT think my mom was going to die.

Think about that.

I thought my mom, a living, human being wouldn’t die. How could she?! She was my mom. Mom’s don’t die this young, especially my mom. Her death has made me realize the gift of life and has honestly changed me, down to my core. I, now do things I never would’ve done 6 or 7 years ago. I felt like I was searching for answers that I could never find, only to find out that I had them all along.

My second thought is about a nurse that cared for my mom in the hospital before she was sent to hospice. She was an older nurse and she was awesome. We noticed she worked a different shift. After the 3rd day we asked her why she came in so early and she informed us that she didn’t want to go to 12 hour shifts like everyone else. She said that she was ready to retire if they couldn’t work her schedule out. The hospital of course worked it, since she was so valued.

She was the most caring person I’ve ever met in my life. I remember her always fixing my mom’s sheets and repositioning her. Always talking to her, even when she wasn’t coherent. I remember her always being honest with us and letting us know everything that she knew about my mom’s condition or what the doctors said. She showed us so much compassion and empathy that it changed my life. And now, we get to change lives!

So let’s remember: Every single patient that we see is affected by us and how we treat them.

Empathy?! CHECK!

Now that’s simply fabulous.

 

When the poop hits the chux.

“I’m gonna need some help in 202B, she pooped again.”
Your internal dialogue says “AGAIN! REALLY!?” but you smile and nod to your aid and say you’ll be right there.

It’s going as planned. Wipe. Roll. Tuck. Roll. Wipe. Wipe.

Then the unthinkable happens.

When your coming down the home stretch of your wipe, roll, tuck routine you hear the distinct sound of poop on the move.

*Pffvrumpfhh-Gurgle-Blortfptptp*

Your hand jerks back as if it’s just touched hot liquid magma. And all of the sudden time both speeds up and slows down all at once. Your movements become lightening speed fast, grabbing for a wipe or a towel or anything near by. Your eyes become dilated in your fight or flight mode and then you see it.

A brand new chux.

In an Indiana-Jones-sliding-under-the-rock-wall-at-the-last-minute style move you manage to get the chux under her butt just as the poop is coming out.

“Well, that was lucky” you deadpan. But inside your giving yourself mental high-fives and the crowd is cheering.

Now that is fucking fabulous.

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