Monday, January 14, 2008

Tales from the Nurses Station

I am an ED nurse (Emergency Department, for all you non-medical types). I have been for almost 7 years, off and on and always less than part-time. This is because I am a Mom first and foremost. I swing it both ways- I am a stay-at-home mom. Oh, sure I work and get a little mental stimulation. This way of working makes it very hard to get any good at being an ED nurse, but at least I still get some good stories!

Story #1: I had a lady, who was complaining of stomach pain. So the first thing I do is go to listen to her stomach. I plop my stethescope down on to her abdomen and listen. I hear nothing at all. Now if you have ever listened to a stomach, you will know there is almost always something going on in there. It also feels a little funny. The lady is in a light gown, nothing else and I should have made her pull it up for me to listen, but I had opted to just put the stethescope down on the gown and listen through it. After hearing nothing, though, I decided I better have her lift it up and listen directly over her stomach. When she lifted it, I realized what the problem was. This woman had the biggest bazoombas I have ever seen (that is a technical term)! Not only were they big, but they were pendulous, like nothing you've ever seen. I had put my stethescope on those things, instead of her stomach, because they hung all the way passed her belly button!

Story #2 I had a little boy about 3 or 4 come in that had bitten through both the top and bottom of his tongue. It was still hanging on, but barely. The doctor decided to stitch the top side up, so we pillowcased his arms behind him and wrapped him up like a burrito with a sheet and began to work on him. Now, no matter what we had done, if he hadn't cooperated we wouldn't have been able to sew that tongue. Luckily, he was a really good little boy. His mother ran off and cried in the corner, but she had brought with her an aunt or friend of some sort who translated for her. She stayed with us the whole time and kept telling the little boy to stick out his tongue, since the only words I know in spanish are delor (sp?) which means pain. So I kept saying "no delor", which wasn't entirely true. But we really needed someone there to keep him sticking out his tongue. After each swing of the needle, he would bring his tongue back into his mouth and start yelling "hey, hey!" She would then tell him to stick his tongue back out so that the doctor could wind the stitching and secure it. Then she would have to tell him again to stick it out, so the doctor could cut the threads and then again when we started a new stitch. My job was to sit on him and keep his head in position, without getting in the way. Ah, working on my flexibility already! After we were done, the aunt sat down and the doctor was trying to tell her what a fantastic job she had done. He stops and says, "are you OK, ma'am. You look a little pale." I look up and her face is the color of the wall. The doctor and I both stand up and watch as she faints dead away! She came to pretty fast, and proceeds to puke! I forget that some people aren't as thrilled to see disfigured body parts as we are. When we have a good one, we always tell all the other nurses to go in and have a look.

Story #3 Joseph was up all night throwing up. Oh, alright, that's not a very good story, but it shows that even at home, I am the nurse- just like all you other stay-at-home Moms!

And that's the end of this weeks installment of Tales from the Nurses Station!


Barb said...

You work sort of like me. I am a dental hygienist and I work 4 to 8 hours a week. It is a blessing to keep up my registration and step outside the house, but also a blessing that working is an option.