Saturday, August 12, 2006

Nurse Jekyll and Ms. Hyde

Liz plays catch-up with a genuine RANT:

Although it appears from the lack of inquires on this blog about MY whereabouts or doings that this loving correspondent hasn't been too greatly missed, I will post a second entry today for my silent admirers- both of you. We all know Killer is off on a jaunt in the rainforest, having high adventures with his pals, living high on the hog, out roughing it in the AC and Internet cafes of Costa Rica. Two weeks of doing whatever the Hell he wants to do... and all it takes to live this dream is a job with extreme flexibility and mountains of cash; neither of which I have.

But I have been thinking much about our diarist, Killer, of late. Yesterday and this evening I will be spending a lot of time in the hospital with my mother who has had a second mastecomy due to breast cancer. I hope you never have to see a parent so fragile and so weak. It will affect you. Anyway, I've been dealing with a lot of nurses and have come to some conclusions about people who assume this career: Some of them are borderline retarded.

I know from being a close friend of Killer's that nursing is a job- just like driving a truck, teaching a class, selling insurance and rolling sushi is a job. I know that people become numbers and that you get immune to their shock and surprise, their ignorance, their questions. I know that your shift sucks if you don't have time in the day to catch up with Oprah or "your stories". I understand. What I don't understand is how you can forget the magnitude of this being someone's wife, mother, or friend and that when you forget medication, or you never answer the call button, or when you breeze into a room, are there for 15 minutes and never speak, that the family takes that shit personally.

My parents are "don't cause a wave" kind of people. I admire my parents' kindness and interest in others; their recognition of treating people well so that they, in return, will treat you well. Mom has already nicknamed her male nurse "Big Al"- who is not big, so that makes it very funny to me- and her female nurse "Splenda" because her name is Salinda and Mom says she'll never remember that. Mom apologizes when she weakly whispers a request for something like ice. "I hate to bother you, but could I get some ice? Whenever you have the time. I'm sorry to be such a bother." In other words, in my estimation, these people ARE the patients you dream for.

So, I hope you can understand when I say that I appreciate those nurses who are thoughtful in return. Those that take the time to inquire, provide the family with information, are knowledgeable about their field, see the big picture and understand the next steps and how things might unfold. I am enraged by those nurses who are too stupid to run a cash register and yet have been placed solo in a room with my mother as her only support and source of care during this time that she is absolutely helpless. It might upset you when you're at a 7-11 and the cashier gets your change wrong, but you're not going to dehydrate or die because of it. We have those nurses.

It disturbed me when a group of nurses stood outside my mom's hospital door and pointed in the room at the attending nurse and said, "Let's get our camera. She actually looks like she's working!" WHAT? You've put my mom under the care of the laziest nurse in the hospital? Why does this bitch have a JOB in the recovery unit of a hospital if she never works? Why do you look dazed and confused when I use a word like "invasive"? Do you know what that means? When an exiting nurse says, "She can have meds for nausea", then 30 minutes later the patient says she feels nauseated, why do stand there and say,"That will pass." Did you get your nursing degree via correspondence courses from Bolivia?

One other thing: Let's get back to scrubs that are one color. Pick a color, any color: Green, pink, blue, white- define your personality that way. Wear a pin on your scrubs for God's sake. No Fred's Dollar Store-looking flower prints, Disney characters, racecars, or peppermint candy prints on your scrubs unless you work with patients under 8 years old. When you wear that, you look like an idiot, and then when you open your mouth, you confirm it.

I've got some scrub pants at home. I'm going to wear them tonight with a Pac-Man t-shirt and see just how many people ask ME to bring them ice. And you know what? I'll get it for them.

1 comment:

Killer said...

This might require an entire blog rebuttal. Or actually an entire blog concurrence.