Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Syncopal Synopsis

Lucy's orientation did not start well. I thought for sure she was going to have to find another field to work in. Nursing just was not her cup of tea. Why, you ask? Well, since you inquired so nicely, I will tell you. I just love it when you ask nicely - so polite. Your parents raised you well. You know, I knew this kid one time who .............

Oh, whoops. Sorry. Got distracted there. I hate it when that happens. You start thinking of one story and then some little niblet of a memory starts waving from the sidelines and you follow it for a few moments and then all of a sudden you're at band camp.

Amazing how that happens.

So, anyway......................Lucy's first day was a comical montage of her hitting the floor. Yes, she passed out 3 times. You'd think she'd never done clinicals before. But oooooohhhhh noooooooo. She had. I don't know how she made it through nursing school. Come to think of it, there were some rumors of her paying off the instructors. Something about a big inheritance and her grandpa being the heir to some donut chain. Naw - couldn't be true. Not my little Lucy.

Our first incident began with a laceration. Not a large, gory, profusely bleeding laceration. Just a tiny, little, 4 inch cut from a steak knife. Our patient was sitting on the gurney when I removed his dish towel, observed an arterial spurt, and heard Lucy hit the floor. She took the mayo stand with her. All my sterile 4X4's were now scattered across the exam room floor. I looked at her briefly to make sure she was still breathing, then proceeded to wash out the patient's wound.

"Is she OK?" he asked.

"Yeah, she'll be fine. Don't worry about her," I said as I stepped over her sprawled out body. "Let me just get this irrigation tubing for washing out your wound."


Her second incident came when Mr. Oldfart came in with an active GI bleed. Now granted, GI bleeds make me want to pass out just so I don't have to take care of them, but really - is the smell of rotting intestines mixed with blood really so bad?


I would much rather smell a rotting dead body any day, than to have my nose anywhere near the tail end of a GI bleed. Lord almighty - the stench is enough to make you want to give yourself a "swirly" in the toilet just to wash out your nasal passages. At least this time she had the courtesy to make it out of the room before she hit the floor. She was weaving a bit on her way out, but I soon heard the other staff laughing and stepping over her so I knew all was well.

Poor little Lucy was absolutely mortified.

"I haven't eaten today. That must be why," she said.

Uh huh. Sure.

"I think my blood sugar may be low."

"Are you a diabetic?"

"No, but that must be why."

(insert eye roll here)

2 hours before the end of our shift, staffing called for an extra nurse in OR to receive for a C Section. I had experience in this area, so I decided I'd go and take Lucy with me to give her a break from the ER. I thought it would be a safe area. I thought seeing a baby would be a good thing.


We gowned up for the OR and took our places near the respiratory therapist who was standing next to the infant warmer. We visited for a few minutes and received a report from the circulator regarding the patient's history. Then the doctors began their incision. And Lucy looked.

Yes, she looked. I know what you're thinking. I thought it too. "No, Lucy! No! Don't look at the blood!"

She did.

And down she went.


I told her maybe she shouldn't come back the next day. She did.

Last week I watched her step over her new orientee as they sat against the wall - pale faced, sweating, and vomiting into an emesis bag. I raised my eyebrows and glanced at Lucy.

"GI Bleed," she said.

Ah yes. Good times.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Ah man, I hope I'm not going to be like that when I become a nurse!