Saturday, June 14, 2008

Nurse.... or Boxer??

Once again, time has managed to slip away from me and I have no clue where the last week has gone (I think I saw Time's tail peeking out from my laundry pile downstairs. My laundry is a hungry hungry beast and it eats everything in its path).

Speaking of hungry beasts and time slipping away, I know that at least 8 hours of time went into reading "The Ruins" by Scott Smith. Ugh. I don't do horror well, and now I'm deathly afraid of the hops vine that takes over my back deck each summer.

I had an incident at work last week that I refrained from posting on till I had time to work it over and recover a bit. Besides, I had already complained to high heaven about my bladder and I think that it's unfair to unload more than one major complaint per week here :) .

We got a new patient on the unit with end-stage cancer that had metastasized to everywhere... he was coming from home, where his wife was playing around with his meds "just a bit" to make him sleep (he was not a jolly green giant sort).

Any of us would have drifted happily off to the Celestial Discharge after the first dose of narcotics that she was administering...

Well, we got him onto our unit, on an evening shift, on a weekend. We gave him his meds on a schedule. His body wasn't used to that, and threw an all-out psychosis. Into other patients' rooms, mad as h-e-dubblehockeysticks. I got in his way. He punched me, then aimed for my face. I blocked, he grabbed my wrists and twisted. Dr was phoned, refused to certify, wanted to try a few sedatives first. Security guard came up, got pounded, nurse on nights got hit... pt finally went to sleep after the family came in and convinced him that this was not a "homosexual place" and that we weren't out to recruit him...

Long and short -- Dr. Oncall should have got his butt in to assess his pt. Let him face the wrath.

Our team of nurses was wonderful. I had awesome support and hugs and chocolate. I had to fill out an incident report for worker's comp if there ends up being damage (just 3 big bruises... hopefully no wrist nerve damage). My manager was amazing the next day and raised a royal pile of sh!+ for me.

But I tell you, after that night, if I could figure out any other way to pay off my student loans, I would not have gone back to nursing.

It's better now. I've had a few good shifts to remind me of why I love my job. The patients and families on our unit (end stage cancer symptom treatment, comfort care in death) are for the most part amazing and fascinating. It's such a privilege to help with this stage of life. And we do laugh a lot along with the tears.

So all in all, it's all good and I'll be fine. As long as the vine on my back deck doesn't eat me.

8 comments:

Denver Refashionista said...

What an ordeal. I am glad you are refinding a way to love what your do.

LISA EMRICH said...

Yikes. I too hope that there's no nerve damage in those wrists. You need all the healthy nerves you can keep.

BRAINCHEESE said...

Such a high percentage of assaults happen to health care workers, aka NURSES! I am so sorry to hear of your ordeal and DO hope you've suffered no permanent damage. Be kind to yourself and take it easy. Chocolate heals the soul...as do warm baths and a good book (although reading something that makes you fearful of your deck vine WOULDN'T be the first thing I'd recommend!)

Be well...I'm glad to see you back at the blog.

Linda D. in Seattle

David said...

I can't believe this ordeal you had to go through! My God, you are a saint to carry on!

Shauna said...

I've been reading a lot of nursing blogs lately that mention the occurrence of violence in the workplace. It's truly frightening.
Be safe...and be well.

Bear Naked said...

Hope you have been okay.
Haven't seen you blogging this week.

Carolyn said...

I'm amazed by nurses. I could never deal with the things you do. I think it's a bad day when Csilla doesn't make it to the potty on time.

Hope you're doing better!

CrazyCath said...

Shawna I've been there and done that - I really know how you feel and what you are saying. Only some of my patients were drug induced psychosis - a lot were naturally psychotic. Then there's the neurosis too.

I'm burnt out now. I'm off work again and this time, one way or another, I am not going back. I'll quit - but first I want to see which is financially the better option (fighting for med retirement or just quit.)

I always said, like you, that I enjoyed it and I did. I also said the minute I stopped loving what I do despite the occasional downers, I'd quit. I'm there now. Glad you're not. It would be a sad day indeed for all your patients if it got to you like that, so take care of yourself and give yourself some time to heal too.