Tuesday, July 8, 2008

different hats

I have a nursing confession to make. Actually, I have two of them.

Number one: I hate giving grown people baths. Yuck.

Number two: I hate feeding people at work. Honest. I know it's weird, but I just don't like it. I'm not even talking about physically putting food on a fork and putting it in their mouths, either. I just mean feeding them in general. I think there's something wrong with me. I really do.

I wiggled my way out of the first one when I moved from the ICU to the ER. In the ER you don't ever give people baths unless you're washing blood off of them, which doesn't bother me nearly as much as lathering up someone who looks like my grandpa. Go figure. The only thing worse is brushing someone's teeth, which gives me the heebies just thinking about it. Double yuck. (There's a reason I'm not a floor nurse, believe me).

I bring this up because today at work I felt more like a waitress than a nurse. ("Hi, my name is RC and I'll be your server today. Because we all know that the type of soup on the specials today is far more important than those pesky cardiac enzymes.") Take my sweet little old lady who had me recite the entire cafeteria menu (most of it completely wrong, mind you), before she settled on a simple sandwich. But she had to have potato salad with it. No chips for her. No green salad, either. Did you hear me, young woman? Potato salad. Period.

So I called Dietary and threw myself on the mercy of the potato salad gods, mostly (I'm sorry to admit) to shush her up (as my grandma would say). The tray came up and voila! A bowl of potato salad. I took it in to her as proudly as if it were a five star meal, and left her to eat in peace.

She ate everything on the tray that wasn't nailed down. Except the potato salad. That, she didn't even touch. Not a single bite.

A few minutes later she hit her call light and when I went in, she looked at me hopefully and said, "Pudding?"


On the other hand, she was a ray of sunshine compared to a couple of my other patients. This spiel got quite a workout -

"Hi. My name is RC and I'll be your drug dealer today. Would you like to hear the specials or would you like to just cut straight to calling me bad names when I cut you off? Or how about the special combo plate? That's the one where you're nice as can be until I say the word "no" in any way, shape or form and then you grow fangs that would make a T Rex jealous and demand to see my doctor, my boss, my senator and my priest, in that order?"

This is all by way of saying that I'm not trying to avoid talking about my last week. I just need a few moments to hear myself think first.


belle said...

You are welcome to think aloud anytime. Great post. My big nursing hate? Sputum. Bleurgh! I would never have made a physio.

Ms Wiz said...

My pet nursing hate was washing peoples feet and cleaning their false teeth! When I did a stint in casualty (ER) I couldn't 'trepann' bruises under fingernails (or toenails) to release the trapped blood - pathetic but there you go!

Just read Belle's comment - Sputum - yuck agree with you there.

Didn't really have any midwifery no go areas - babies feet are lovely amd many women had a nice pedicure to prepare for their big day!

laurie said...

um.... i'm calling you on the avoidance thing, RC.

Katy said...

I honestly don't know how nurses do it. I have been in and out of hospitals and I have to say, Nursing is not a job I would ever want under any circumstances.

When I was younger people would ask, "so does being here make you want to be a nurse or a doctor?" My answer was always something like, "HELL NO! Doctors are self absorbed and self serving and nurses, well they are really nice, but well, 10 minutes ago one of them was just in here telling me to save my vomit next time so she can measure it. I'm not measuring people's vomit."

Akelamalu said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again.... I couldn't/wouldn't do your job for £1million a week!

Maggie May said...

False teeth washing!!!!! Definitely not! Don't know how you do it! Glad you do though & I bet many others are too!

CrazyCath said...

I'm with belle - sputum. There is a reason I am not a general nurse and stuck with psychiatry...
(although I've had to clean my fair share of gobs off my uniform too...)

Nearlydawn said...

Man, I must be a nurse's dream come true. I hate pushing the call button. I have my order ready for the whole day in the morning (and I ask for no substitutions or speacial requests). I take my meds only if I have to, but I don't refuse the mandatory one - I'm not big on pain meds.

Then again, I'm smart, so nurses and I bump heads when they tell me things that don't make sense or are inconsistent with what the last nurse/Dr. said. Oh, and just let them try to tell me I don't need the details. I DO, most certainly, need the details. You aren't touching me until I get them either.

Hmm.... Maybe I'm not so easy afterall. I'm just a different kind of difficult?

Tell me about people like me - do they bother you? And if so, why? How should someone go about getting info they want/need without pissing off their nurse?

Inquiring minds want to know. My local nurses probably want me to know too so I'll stop being a shithead. :)