Sunday, May 18, 2008

a 10 hour saturday at work

Yesterday I worked a 10 hour shift. I don't know exactly how this happened or what I was thinking when I said it'd be fine because last night I was seriously exhausted. Luckily it wasn't a very busy day, just lots of cleaning and wiping people's butts because I was part secretary but mostly nurse's aide. I seriously love the two nurses that I worked with yesterday. I don't think I could work on a Saturday with the other set of nurses that work on the weekends together, but anytime these two needed me, I'd do it again. Even knowing how ridiculously tired I will be at the end of the night.

There was one patient who was this sweet old lady who was getting a blood transfusion. She was a little bit confused, but not completely out of it. Her brother actually brought her in for the transfusion and we got her all comfortable in a recliner with the tv on in a spot right by the nurse's station in case she got extra confused and needed a little more attention. I had to take vital signs every hour and every time she had something new to tell me that made giggle a little bit. One time I went to start getting her blood pressure and she said "Well, Kennedy is resting comfortably, let's hope the rest of us are." It was kind of an astute observation. Then the patient in the slot next to hers starting moaning again because he was in pain (and to be honest, a bit of a drama queen), and she frowned and then said "Well, Kennedy is resting comfortably, let's hope the rest of us are." This made me want to laugh like crazy, but I just smiled and asked her if I could get her anything at all.

Later on I went to take her vital signs and realized her pants were hanging over the little garbage can. I have no idea when exactly it happened, but she had an accident and just took her pants off and laid them in the trash can. She was still sitting in her recliner and had a towel daintly draped across her crossed legs. At first glance, it seemed like she had just gotten cold, but it was definitely her pants in the trash can. I got her some scrub pants and gathered some wipes and stuff and went into her room.

"Mrs. R, do you need some clean pants?"

She took a peek under the towel and said "Why, I don't have any on, so I guess I do!"

I cleaned her all up, got her in the scrub pants, cleaned up the recliner and got her a fresh sheet and pillow. I told her to just let me know if she needed anything at all and she put her little hand on my arm and said "You're a good man, Charlie Brown."

Seriously, it's things like this that make me want to stay in the medical field forever. Little touches of compassion and patience go such a long way and it just makes me feel good to do something nice for someone, even if I know they probably won't even remember it tomorrow.

I definitely like days like yesterday better than the ones spent answering the phone with rude doctors on the other end who would like to know why I haven't read their minds yet.

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