Wednesday, April 29, 2009

the grim reaper

Yesterday I was taking care of a healthy looking 58-year-old man just diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Supposedly, the service had already told his wife about this. She asked me, suddenly, how many stages to cancer are there? Without thinking, I said "four". She about collapsed into my arms. I held her while she sobbed into my shirt. I had no idea what to say, what to do. I tried my best. She went over to him and hugged him and said she loved him so much. I had to get out of there. Later, the team came in and told her she should take him home, there's nothing more to be done. I had to step out of the room lest I burst into tears, too.

See, I work on a floor where we usually send people home, healthier than they were before. I haven't built up a very thick skin for this kind of stuff.

The charge nurse bought me a cookie. Cookies do help.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

houston we have a problem

They are taking some of our beds to form a new unit full of yucky services like oto and plastics. We will go from 48 beds to 36. This is horrible, horrible news because it means our group of nurses will splinter and scatter to the wind. We are a great group that works well together. We are notorious for having the best teamwork in the hospital. Now many of us will be put in a position where we are forced to choose between working on a different unit or finding a job elsewhere, or even switching shifts.

This is terrible. People were in tears. And the kicker is that they are doing it because we complained about having off-services. Actually, we complained that we were taking off-services when cardiac patients were ready to come to the floor. BASTARDS.

Monday, April 13, 2009

good news on the floor!

One of our patients is a fairly young guy (in his 50s) who has been here for 55 days with heart failure, a heartmate (left ventricular assist device), and kidney failure. He was not going to be discharged until he got a kidney and heart transplant. So he was just sitting around every day on top of the transplant list, waiting for a donor to pop up. We took a long walk the other day and he told me all about how he felt perfectly healthy until 10 years ago, and then he was diagnosed with CHF, although he was asymptomatic. He developed a 3rd degree block, and was implanted with a pacemaker, only the small hospital who implanted him put in the wrong kind, which only exacerbated his heart failure. Since then he has had two LVADs and one RVAD and his kidneys have gone into failure.

The day before yesterday his AICD fired several times when he went into sustained VTach. He spent the whole evening scared to death of it happening again.

Yesterday the big news came... a heart and kidneys were on their way! He was wheeled off to OR with this stunned look on his face. I hope he's doing alright. Everyone on the floor is so excited for him!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

opportunities for overtime

The nursing world continues on... I have friends now that make work enjoyable, and with whom I can talk about work stuff. Nothing thrilling has happened as far as patient care, nothing noteable, except that I've continued to have nursing students who all seem to like me a lot. It's really gratifying to help others grow in nursing and see how excited they are with what they did at the end of the day. I still remember what it was like to be a nursing student, and I try to be the preceptor I never had but wished for!

The other day was horrible, when three of my patients were off the floor and all came back at the same time. I had a migraine, too. It was a nightmare. I ended up leaving at 7 but made up for it with 16 hours of overtime ever since! In a place where jobs are hard to find for most, I'm really grateful for a job where I can work extra pretty much every week, and get paid nicely for it!