July 22, 2018

Last night was definitely a chill shift on the Oncology unit. I had only one patient that was obnoxious. It was a patient that was literally bleeding out of his ass almost non-stop, and he wouldn’t do anything about it. He would just let us know, wipe the blood up with a rag, then throw the rags all over the ground, next to all his trash, water cup, and food containers. He refused to have an absorbent pad on the bed (which would be easy to change, as opposed to all the bed linen). And to top it all off, there was really nothing we could even do about it. So no matter what nurse walked in, they all said the same thing “put pressure on it until it stops bleeding.” He would take the wet rag we’d hand him and throw it immediately away. Like what the hell. Oh and I didn’t mention that he’s also HIV+. So not only was his room disgusting, but it was a safety risk as well. Needless to say, I spent the least amount of time in that room as possible.

It made me think about a health presentation I went to in high school. It was actually my parents’ doctor, who I’ve always thought was kinda off, but now think he’s a complete idiot now that I’ve actually entered the medical field myself. He was presenting information about STDs to an auditorium full of sophomores. I remember him specifically talking about AIDS/HIV and how the virus can only last seconds outside the body. He said (almost an exact quote) that if someone with AIDS bleeds, you could “wait 10 seconds and dip your hands in it.” I’ve remembered that for almost a decade now. It made me feel a lot safer going in and out of that obnoxious patient’s room…until I brought this little factoid up with my coworker. She didn’t believe me, so I smugly google checked it. Sure enough, holy shit….it lasts 6 DAYS outside the human body, not 6 seconds. What the fuck.

It’s possible that my memory is flawed – it has been an extremely long time…But I remember the visualization he painted in my mind so vividly. I still think my parent’s doctor is a fucking idiot for a variety of other medical advice he’s given/decisions he’s made. I’m going to tell them to switch doctors (for the 12th time) next time I see them.

July 18, 2018

I had a busy but reasonable shift. I worked fairly efficiently. I realized today though that I might be a little too efficient because I love multitasking a little too much. There was a point in my morning that I was drawing blood from a central line while checking the patient’s intake and output then subsequently slowly infusing a nausea medication while charting my lab collection into the computer. That is a 7 minute process, and I effectively made it into a very complicated 4 minute process. Please, hold your applause.

I felt empowered today after my break. I spent the hour listening to a few YouTube videos about conversation skills. One video specifically recommended cutting the small talk when you meet someone, and just ask questions that make them think. I thought it was so fucking cool. People who were willing to share answers to questions like “What do you want to do before you die?” instantly connected to the stranger that asked it. Many even got emotional. It made me a little emotional AHHH. One day I hope to try it (or even make deep questions a regular conversation starter).

I also stayed over after work today with one of my coworkers for a one hour “Super User” class. Basically, this means that we are learning about a new technology so we can teach other people on our unit how to use it as well. I’m not 100% sure why I decided to continue doing this obligation even though I know I’m going to leave in a couple months. I think part of me wanted it on my resume, part of me liked the idea of an extra hour on my paycheck, and I also just kinda felt like I should give back to my unit in some way…Regardless, I’m happy I went. I ended up getting a nice little giggle hearing my coworker’s little baby snores as the presenter droned on hahahaha. I didn’t know whether I should tap her awake or just enjoy the quiet sleepy sounds. Spoiler alert: I did not wake her >:3.

I also realize I’ve told a lot of my coworkers about my career change plans. I really can’t believe how supportive they are about it :). It makes me feel so much more confident about my decision when people get excited for me. I really need to keep my mouth shut though lmao. I have a few more months to go, yet.

July 12, 2018

I AM SO….EXHAUSTED. I worked last night and basically had a pretty decent shift in regards to stress. However…I did spend the first four hours trying to send one of my all-time favorite patients to ICU. That was really sad and extremely frustrating (especially since an ICU transfer should ideally happen immediately – there’s a reason why they need to be up there). It’s especially hard when it’s a patient that I’ve seen dozens of times and really started to form a bond with. This patient just kept getting admitted, slowly deteriorating each time – and now he’s completely unresponsive. It’s not my least favorite part of my job now that I’ve come to expect it, but it’s definitely never gets easy to watch. Especially when everyone on the unit knows him by name, asks about how he’s doing today, etc. You quietly hope that these worst-case scenarios only happen to people who aren’t proactive about their health or who don’t try to follow their medication regimens…but you only come to realize that it slowly happens to anybody and everybody who starts to walk through those doors. Cancer fucking sucks.

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Every time I go to work, it becomes so much more clear that nursing isn’t a good fit for me. It’s not the constant, stinging reminder of the the hand-sanitizer-induced eczema breaking down my hands every time I “foam in, foam out” of a room. Nor was it the commercial this morning on my patient’s TV advertising my actual dream company and its employment opportunities. UGH. Ultimately, there’s just not much that happens in a shift that I find satisfying. You’d think that helping people would be instantly gratifying for a lot of people…but in reality, its draining – especially when you don’t see any positive results from your efforts.

Anyway, good night for now!

 

 

July 7, 2018

Yeah, I just got back from work. You know what? It really sucked tonight. I spent a couple hours trying to figure out how to fix an extremely preventable mistake from the nurse I worked after. And when I say extremely preventable, I mean like press two buttons on the IV pump preventable. HOURS of my night taken to correct that. All she had to do was flush the IV line after drawing blood from it. I was so fucking peeved. Plus also a fellow coworker lovingly told me, right as I was excitedly walking off the unit: “Oh. Hey, you have shit on your shoulder.” I look back and sure enough, there was an actual actual smear of human feces right below my fucking ear. How. What. Why. The. Fuck.

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I know software development will have it’s bad days, and I’m sure I’ll eventually have to clean up after somebody’s computer mess one day…But at least it won’t be this. Things like this just make me even more excited for the next phase of my life!

For now, I sleep…So I can wake up and do it all over again.

 

July 5, 2018

This shift has been amazing so far, sweet Jesus. I’ve spent a couple hours online shopping for a new smart watch, listening to some chill tunes while walking all over the hospital, telling disgusting stories to my coworkers.

My coworkers and I were sharing stories about phlegm while hanging out in the nurse station. I told my one coworker that I had a story to top them all. James uses a pop can to spit into, and he just leaves it in the bedroom… Well his girlfriend was drinking that same type of pop one day…. Hahahahahahaha my coworker immediately vomited the moment I said that story – I didn’t even finish, go into details, nothing. She RUNS to the nearest trash can and heaves. Hahahahahahaha I was DYING of laughter. Am I a twisted human being? Most fucking likely.

After that, I kept an eye on another nurse’s patients while she was on break. One of her patients called me in to empty his urine containers. I did that, no problem and asked if he needed anything else. “Actually… I just want to talk, if that’s okay. I can’t sleep because I keep thinking about dying. They’re talking about hospice tomorrow. I’m 76, I’m not scared to die; I just don’t like the idea of not living. ” He then told me his story.

It’s really hard to talk about death to people who are dying. I’ve never been there, or anywhere close to where they are. I’m not really sure what to even say. But it’s a common conversation around the cancer unit… And I had to learn how to just listen. Listen and realize how much I want to live every second of my life as much as I possibly can. I realized so fast that I won’t be enjoying my life talking about death with cancer patients who tell you over and over “live while you’re young” “enjoy your health while you have it.” It’s immensely depressing, so I’m gonna follow their advice… And I hope I’m doing the right thing.

 

June 29, 2018

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Does everyone have that one coworker that just always seems to be wrong? Not even with their political views, opinions or style of work. They’re just objectively incorrect. I think I have one of those on my unit. I don’t think I’ve ever met a single person (that wasn’t a child and literally didn’t know right from wrong) who has been wrong more times than Jean has.

Let me paint an interesting picture of Jean. Visualize with me an older nurse, ready to retire in a couple years. Also she’s extremely ready to pick a fight with patients and will aggressively defend herself even when she’s blatantly wrong. She’s manipulative to our boss and gets a new employee to quit from sheer lies and twisting details of the truth. Right from the patients themselves, I’ve heard far too many times, “I’m so glad you’re my nurse today and not Jean” or “I’ve really liked my care here at the hospital except for one nurse.”

When I was a brand new nurse, I used to ask her for advice. One time, I had a patient whose temperature started to rise during a blood transfusion – which could mean a transfusion reaction, and that is dangerous. So I ran to Jean asking for help. She starts frantically telling me that the patient is having a reaction. Stop the blood. Take it down. Tell the doctor the patient reacted. Do all this paperwork. Hand deliver the blood bag to the blood bank. Yadda yadda. I start to do everything she says and nervously call up the doctor. He says “Leave it up, the patient is fine. Everything is okay.” She takes the phone, angrily calls him back “NO, the blood has to come down, the protocol says we take it down (spoiler alert, the protocol threshold was absolutely not reached).” Finally back and forth a few times between them, and I hand deliver the fucking leftover blood upstairs. The blood back attendant looks down at the blood and then at my stack of paperwork and then straight into my eyes and says “(spoiler alert) the protocol threshold wasn’t even reached.”

nurse

 

 

 

WHAT THE FUCK, JEAN. WOMAN, I TRUSTED YOU.

 

 

There was another story where she had me CONVINCED that I was going to lose my job and license when she hyped up a problem my patient was having, and had me convinced it was all my fault. I cried through the end of my shift. I cried through report (ugly, awful, red-faced cry in front of both shifts, mind you). I cried on the drive home. I even cried as I drank the last half of the bottle of Boone’s Farm wine I had sitting in my pantry before I fell asleep. Yeah, it was a really bad day. I sure as hell called in sick to work that night.

The funniest fucking part was, she called the emergency team on that patient, and the emergency team came down and asked me why they even needed to be there, “yeah this patient’s temperature is lower than normal, I don’t think there’s really an emergency here though.” But my anxiety was through the fucking roof. And I went home, emailed my boss about every last detail (it was an extremely long page), fully expecting to not have a job later that day. Her response was basically “Calm the fuck down. Jesus, it’s fucking fine.”

Needless to say, I don’t ask Jean for advice anymore. But goddamnit, when I opened my big mouth and spilled the beans about my career change…her response caught me off guard. “Wow, that’s really great, Ann! This is going to be really a great year for you!”

When talking to the Queen of Erroneous Judgement, I couldn’t help but immediately feel a knot forming deep in my stomach.

 

June 15, 2018

I just got home and I’m ready to pass out. My shift wasn’t even bad though. Actually…I’ve noticed that I rarely have bad assignments, and I’m not sure why. There are some people on my unit that ALWAYS have bad assignments. They always get the crashing patients or the assholes that don’t even know how to use their inside voices. There’s one nurse in particular that I always wonder “what’s gonna happen tonight” whenever she works. Then 4 hours later I hear the code blue alarm going off for a room in her assignment haha. This particular nurse has actually lost both her dad AND her mom to cancer ON OUR UNIT. I don’t know how she still works here. I’d peace the fuck out and try my luck with literally anything else in this world if that happened to me. And I asked her a couple weeks ago if she loves her job and her exact answer was, “Absolutely, yes. I love my profession.” Some nurses have an eternal black cloud over their head…but I have some sort of…yellow sun? Nice cloud? Blue sky? Fuck, whatever – THE OPPOSITE. I always seem to get the easy-breezy assignments somehow, and I still don’t even like my job. It honestly makes me feel like a whiny little bitch for wanting to change careers It’s like I’m just not understanding the point of nursing, I should be appreciating what I worked four years to achieve, or I get that feeling that maybe I’ll never be satisfied with a job. Ugh, yuck.